Outgoing Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen released a polite statement for the Lunar New Year, thanking the free world for its support, but the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China decided to commemorate the holiday with a music video of its warships surrounding and invading Taiwan.
“I believe that as long as we continue to support each other, we can overcome difficulties; as long as we continue to unite, we can protect the country,” Tsai told the world in her Lunar New Year message:
To our friends around the world, thank you for continuing to support Taiwan. Moving forward, Taiwan will keep working with our democratic partners to maintain peace and stability. We will pursue cooperation and prosperity and make Taiwan one with the world.
Tsai is unable to run for reelection again due to term limits, so she will be succeeded by her vice president, Lai Ching-te, who won a commanding 40 percent victory in January’s hotly contested presidential election.
Tsai will leave office on May 20, completing her second four-year term — a period marked by increasing hostility from Beijing.
China used various tactics to bully Taiwanese voters into choosing someone besides Lai, whom Beijing condemned as a “separatist” just like Tsai, but those pressure tactics and propaganda campaigns proved ineffective.
The PLA’s Lunar New Year message to Taiwan vividly restated the campaign propaganda theme that only “coming home” — submitting to “reunification” under Beijing’s tyrannical rule — can guarantee a happy ending for the Taiwanese people. The alternative is war and annihilation:
‘Go Home!’ China’s PLA Eastern Theater Command releases MV, sending message to the people in Taiwan#你好中国 #NihaoChina #AmazingChina #BeautifulChina #China #ChineseCulture #ChinaCulture #ChinaStory #ChinaStyle #ChinaTravel #ChinaTourism #CCCPak2024 #Chunjie2024… pic.twitter.com/aKvmZIwAIl
— Zhang Heqing (@zhang_heqing) February 7, 2024
The video is titled “You Only Win by Coming Home,” and its lyrics include a lament that “it’s hard not to feel regret for a family which has not gotten back together.”
The imagery in the video makes it clear this is a threat, not a wistful salute to brotherly love. Mixed in with some scenes of Taiwan is copious footage of the PLA practicing a ground invasion, launching advanced jet fighters, and hammering Taiwan with missiles.
Newsweek summed up the PLA video as “poignant, albeit threatening” and noted family visits are a big part of the Lunar New Year holiday — a sentiment China clearly wished to exploit, although most families do not send hovercraft, armored vehicles, and stealth fighters to bring recalcitrant relatives to holiday reunions.