Chinese government officials thanked Elon Musk over the weekend for his ideas about Taiwan which were shared in a new interview with the Financial Times. Musk said that Taiwan, which is currently independent as a self-governing democracy, should be controlled by China, something that hasn’t happened since 1949.
“My recommendation... would be to figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably palatable, probably won’t make everyone happy. And it’s possible, and I think probably, in fact, that they could have an arrangement that’s more lenient than Hong Kong,” Musk is quoted as saying in the Financial Times.
Musk, who’s simply not very bright, was quick to note that any arrangement should be “more lenient than Hong Kong” probably because the world saw in 2019 what it means when the Chinese government comes to throw its weight around. Hong Kong, which was previously autonomous like Taiwan until Beijing started to exert control in the city, used to have a thriving movie scene, as just one example. Today, the government of China now decides what movies people can watch in Hong Kong.
But Musk’s idea of a special administrative zone was celebrated by Chinese officials like Qin Gang, the Chinese ambassador to the U.S.
“I would like to thank @elonmusk for his call for peace across the Taiwan Strait and his idea about establishing a special administrative zone for Taiwan. Actually, Peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems are our basic principles for resolving the Taiwan question and the best approach to realizing national reunification,” the ambassador tweeted.
China’s Foreign Minstry also acknowledged Musk’s comments over the weekend, echoing the billionaire’s idea that Taiwan was part of China and should be governed at least in part by the Chinese Communist Party.
“The Taiwan question is China’s internal affair. China’s position on resolving the Taiwan question is consistent and clear. We remain committed to the basic principle of peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems and aim to work with the greatest sincerity and effort to achieve peaceful reunification,” spokesperson Mao Ning said, according to an official readout of her press conference.
“At the same time, we will resolutely defeat attempts to pursue the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist agenda, push back interference by external forces, and safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she continued.
While Chinese always lead with the idea that “peaceful reunification” is the priority, Beijing has not been shy about saying it will use force to take Taiwan.
Why would Musk offer up the freedoms of the 23 million people in Taiwan on a platter? It likely all comes down to money. As plenty of people have noted, Musk’s company Tesla opened a huge factory in Shanghai in 2018. And while Tesla is struggling in the U.S., it’s business is reportedly thriving in China. The people of Taiwan have taken notice and aren’t too happy with Musk, to say the least.
“Taiwan sells many products, but our freedom and democracy are not for sale,” Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan’s ambassador to the U.S., tweeted over the weekend.
“Any lasting proposal for our future must be determined peacefully, free from coercion, and respectful of the democratic wishes of the people of Taiwan,” Hsiao continued.