China has been busy online. Western allies warn about increasing cyber attacks from China; it’s become the common thing to expect and discuss. Cyber attacks aren’t China’s only online hobby. Social media “influencers” are reportedly set to spread the good gospel of China’s greatness all through the Olympics. We’ll see how long their social media followings last.
While China engages in paid diplomacy and bolsters Western demand for cybersecurity, Taiwan has another new friend. Slovenia will open a diplomatic office in Taiwan. And, Taiwan will send an envoy to the inauguration of Honduras’s president, none other than Taiwan’s former favorite, pro-independence Mayor William Lai. That means more officials from Taiwan will attend the Honduras event than American officials will attend China’s Olympic Games.
But, that’s okay for China. After all, there are all those “influencers” getting paid to pay China compliments on their soon to fall social medial accounts.
Lithuania has become the “Taiwan of Europe”. Since WWII, Americans never again struggled with the concept that a problem abroad is a problem at home. This is how we Americans can vote to interfere around the world that we know so little about. We think every squeal from another continent indicates a personal assault on our freedom to watch Netflix.
Europe wasn’t quite there, but not anymore. While Europe watches Lithuania sustain hostile diplomacy from China, Europe is getting the same idea as America. France—oh, the French!—just came to Lithuania’s defense. It’s hard to disagree when the French take sides. They say they aren’t sure why China is angry at Lithuania—okay. But, they make a very good point. China should not have a special group of 17 states it communicates with concerning Europe; it should have all 27. Lithuania was a great opportunity for France to say so. Bravo for French math!
So, now Lithuania is to the EU what Taiwan is to the US; to China, both are bad press.
A recent election in Taiwan’s central city of Taichung gave one more legislative seat to the progressive DPP party—this is the party that doesn’t bow to China’s passive aggression, nor to China’s aggressive aggression.
Yes, that party just got stronger. China won’t be happy. But, what’s new. Just look at Lithuania and do the math.
Taiwan! Taiwan! Taiwan! Europe can say it enough. In fact, Europe talks about Taiwan almost as much as China does. Taiwan doesn’t need formal diplomatic relations to live rent free in the minds of global leaders around the globe—especially living rent free in the minds of Beijing leaders—especially in the mind of Xi Jinping. Don’t forget Japan.
Europe doesn’t want to be bullied by China. Every response from China is interpreted by the EU as a reason to disagree with almost anything China says. China is so hated, we are almost to the point where China could use reverse psychology to get what it wants. If China disagreed with everything it wants, the world might agree with everything China wants, just to spite China’s rhetoric. But, we are only 98% of the way there. The world doesn’t hate China quite that much. There’s still room for more.
But, look closely at what is happening in Europe. Lithuania deepens ties with Taiwan while the EU pounds the table. It is almost as if Europe is testing China by watching what happens with Lithuania. If that were so, none of the European rhetoric about Lithuania or China is real, yet. They’re just saying things to gauge China’s reaction. In other words, Europe is experimenting with China as the lab rat. That’s got to make shame-phobic leaders in Beijing feel great about themselves.