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Mingpao: Military Exercises near Taiwan Not Meant to Intimidate Tsai, the President-elect of Taiwan

On January 21, 2016, Mingpao, a pro Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chinese language newspaper headquartered in Hong Kong, published an article titled, “CCTV Broadcasted the PLA Landing Exercises in Fujian after the Taiwan Election. Military Expert: Propaganda Mainly for Internal Audience Rather Than to Intimidate Tsai.” The original article was taken down from Mingpao’s main website on the afternoon of January 27, 2016. However, the article is still available online at Mingpao Canada and on some other websites which have republished it.

Five days after Taiwan’s presidential election, China Central Television (CCTV) broadcasted the news that the 31st Group Army of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), headquartered in Xiamen, Fujian Province, conducted large scale landing exercises with live ammunition. The 31st Group Army mobilized long-range rockets, howitzers troops, amphibious tanks, and helicopter landing forces. Before 1979, the 31st Group Army, clearly defined as “reuniting China by landing onto the main island of Taiwan,” used to perform shelling of the Kinmen island group and the Matsu Islands of Taiwan. Broadcasting the 31st Group Army military exercises on CCTV, the predominant state television broadcaster in mainland China, triggered much speculation outside of China.

In response, Wu Ge, a military commentator in Mainland China said, “This is a routine exercise. In general, it is mainly used for internal propaganda to satisfy sentimental needs of some extreme nationalists.” Mr. Wu further said, “Tsai Ing-wen has not assumed (the presidency of Taiwan) and has not proposed any policies yet. What made the army so anxious? The main reason was that Xi Jinping was in a tour outside of China. Someone took the opportunity to exaggerate the propaganda. The exercise did not target the Taiwan election. The main purpose of the propaganda targeted Taiwan.”

Source: Mingpao, January 22, 2016