|Abstract: ||This paper examines how PRC domestic politics constrains and influences China’s Taiwan policy, and thus indirectly affects cross-Strait relations. Specifically, this paper examines six factors: (1) collective leadership and factionalism, (2) succession politics, (3) bureaucratic competition, (4) nationalism, (5) legitimacy crisis and political reform, and (6) central-local and central-minority relations.|
The impact of these six factors is multiple. In genera4 they constitute tremendous constraints for any PRC leadership seeking to change the existing policy line. From the perspective of the policymaking process, a lack of a transparent, stable, and predictable political structure and policymaking process does not allow the regime in general, and individual leaders in particular much room to take political risks or enjoy flexibility in dealing with Taiwan. From the perspective of the structural characteristic of the whole nation, internally the PRC holds a strong feeling of insecurity in regard to national integrity-i.e., has a vulnerable legitimacy base. Externally speaking, China also suffers from deep frustration in her pursuit of international status, which in turn fuels a strong nationalism. There is thus a strong hawkish bias in the PRC’s Taiwan policy that derives from domestic political factors. In determining whether or not a “Taiwan threat” exists, this paper thus argues that more attention should be paid to the opportunities and challenges presented or imposed by the structural constraints and dynamics of FRC domestic politics.
The Impact of the PRC’s Domestic Politics on Cross-Strait Relations