How would Taiwanese (and Hong Kongers) ever come to believe and willingly submit to these things? What would it take to accomplish that?
The answer is that there is no way to accomplish that. There is no way to peacefully and straightforwardly convince Taiwan (or Hong Kong) to unify. The only option is violent annexation following underhanded attacks on democratic norms.
Taiwanese are already soured – probably permanently – on the notion of being a part of China. The youth are soured on considering themselves Chinese in any sense. Hong Kong is quickly moving in that direction, which I would argue was an inevitable development given what China is like.
By starting with the wrong question, unificationists like Gou – and yes, he is a unificationist – delude themselves into believing that unification could possibly be peaceful, that a general pro-China consensus will ensure that it’s not necessary for the PLA to come in and start shooting at Taiwanese, and therefore that this outcome is better than the threat of war under continued independence.
That’s not what will happen, though, because there won’t be a general pro-China consensus. Ever. Unification will not make the differences in culture, belief systems and society between Taiwan and China go away.
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