Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Domestic Politics and PRC’s “Dual-Track” Taiwan Policy

  • Qingmin Zhang


Cross—Taiwan Strait relations over the last decade have been the most turbulent since the late 1950s. The policy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) toward Taiwan during this period has witnessed a process of stepping forward and backward: In response to the moves toward independence taken by the Taiwan authorities, the PRC first pushed forward for reunification by declaring that if Taiwan refuses to negotiate for a peaceful settlement, the Chinese government will adopt all drastic measures possible, including the use of force, to realize the goal of reunification. But five years later, the PRC stepped back from that eagerness by adopting the antisecession law to keep the status quo. These policies of the PRC, which have evolved from emphasis on military means (1949-1979) to an emphasis on peaceful means (1979-1995), came to an era of `dual-track’ policies—peaceful integration and military coercion—giving each equal emphasis to further the goal of reunification. The dual-track policies are immediate reactions to Taiwan’s independence moves, but they are becoming increasingly constrained by recent changes taking place in the mainland: less charismatic leadership, the pressure for sustained economic development, demands for transparency in an era of information globalization, rising popular nationalism, and so forth. This chapter first traces the development of the PRC’s Taiwan policy in the last decade, then discusses its main features, and finally analyzes the major constraints and influences on the PRC’s Taiwan policy.


Chinese Communist Party Chinese Leader Taiwan Issue Taiwan Independence Taiwan Policy 
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© Shiping Hua 2006

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  • Qingmin Zhang

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