Taiwan foreign minister: China may scapegoat us over Covid protests

Joseph Wu backs Chinese protesters but says Beijing ‘might try to create external crisis to divert domestic attention’

Taiwan’s foreign minister has backed China’s anti-Covid protesters but also expressed concerns that Beijing could seek to scapegoat Taiwan if demonstrations restarted.

Joseph Wu said Taiwan stood alongside other democracies in calling for China to “respect basic human rights” regarding the extraordinary protests that spread across China last week and the swift police response to close in on those involved.

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Taiwan goes to polls in closely watched local vote ahead of presidential election

China issue sidelined in local votes that will shed light on the major parties’ fortunes ahead of the 2024 presidential election

Voters headed to the polls across Taiwan on Saturday in a closely watched local election that will determine the strength of the major political parties ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Taiwanese citizens are picking their mayors, city council members and other local leaders in all 13 counties and the six major cities. There’s also a referendum to lower the voting age from 20 to 18.

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China threat looms in Taiwan’s local elections as voters weigh island’s future

Ruling DPP puts Beijing at centre of campaign while rival KMT steers clear, in first vote since tensions in the Taiwan Strait escalated

On Sunday afternoon 150,000 people gathered in front of the Taipei city hall. Harley motorcycles, giant floats, balloons and mascots led the parade to a soundtrack of music banned in China. It looked like a concert, but on this day the main act was a politician.

The crowds were there to support Taipei mayoral candidate Chen Shih-chung, a former minister of health with the governing Democratic Progressive party (DPP).

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Beloved giant panda given to Taiwan by China dies aged 18 after seizures

Tuan Tuan, gifted to Taiwan 14 years ago when relations were warmer, allowed to ‘continue to sleep’ after being anaesthetised

A panda given to Taiwan by China 14 years ago as a symbol of what were then warmer ties died on Saturday, after suffering seizures, Taipei zoo said.

Tuan Tuan and his breeding mate Yuan Yuan were given to Taiwan by Beijing in late 2008, at a time when relations between the two were more cordial.

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Five key takeaways from Biden and Xi’s first meeting as leaders

Taiwan, trade, Ukraine and the climate crisis among issues discussed when presidents of US and China met

At the G20 summit in Bali, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping held their first ever face-to-meeting as leaders, in an attempt to reduce tensions over Taiwan and trade that have sent US-China ties to their lowest level in decades. Here are the five key takeaways:

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Xi Jinping tells China’s army to focus on preparation for war

President says China in an ‘unstable and uncertain’ security situation amid tensions over Taiwan

Xi Jinping has told the People’s Liberation Army to “focus all its energy on fighting” in preparation for war, a Chinese Communist party mouthpiece has reported.

Pictures of Xi, who recently secured a third term as party leader, in his army uniform during a visit to a command centre featured prominently on the front page of the People’s Daily on Wednesday.

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Taiwan museum admits breaking artefacts worth £66m

A bowl, teacup and plate – dating from 15th and 17th centuries – were broken in three separate incidents

Taiwan’s national palace museum has admitted to previously undisclosed breakages of three artefacts from the Ming and Qing dynasties, worth a reported £66m ($77m).

The items – a bowl, a teacup and a plate – were broken in three separate incidents during the past 18 months but the damage came to light only last week under questioning from a Taiwan legislator. The artefacts date back to the 15th and 17th centuries.

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Pokémon still going: Taiwan’s love affair with the game the world forgot

Global use of Pokémon Go has plummeted, but its popularity remains undimmed among Taiwan’s young and old

We can’t show you Tsai’s face. The 52-year-old is busily swiping away at six phones in a custom-built usher-style tray. Charging cords snake off into a backpack full of powerbanks. The elaborate setup is designed to maximise his Pokémon Go experience, ensuring he’s always in hunt-mode.

Tsai started in 2016 with just one phone, but says six is the perfect number to avoid waiting for his device to process all the “boring” bells and whistles each time he catches one of the virtual creatures.

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Xi Jinping’s party purge prompts fears of greater Taiwan invasion risk

Observers wonder whether there is anyone left in CCP to stop Chinese president making a rash move

Xi Jinping’s purging of political rivals and elevation of loyalists to the top ranks of the Chinese Communist party has raised fears that his now unfettered and unquestionable power could increase the risk of an attack on Taiwan.

Beijing has pledged to annex Taiwan under a disputed claim that it is a Chinese province, and in recent years has increased its military activity and other forms of harassment and coercion. No timeline has been set, but senior defence figures have said China could be capable of invasion as early as 2027. Others point to Xi’s pledge of “national rejuvenation” by 2047 – the centenary of the People’s Republic of China – as a potential goal.

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Sharp fall in China’s global standing as poll shows backing for Taiwan defence

Survey finds pro-China sentiment has collapsed in many nations while positive opinion of US has rebounded

China’s reputation has deteriorated rapidly over the last four years, particularly in the west, and a large share of global opinion would back some form of international help for Taiwan if Beijing tries to take the island by force, according to a survey.

It comes as Xi Jinping warned of “dangerous storms” on the horizon as he was confirmed on Sunday as Chinese leader for a precedent-breaking third term, and as Washington warns that Beijing is accelerating plans to annex the island.

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In Mao’s footsteps: Xi Jinping puts himself at core of China’s government

President would normally step down now after 10 years as leader, but he has abolished term limits and promoted his allies

Xi Jinping has eliminated key rivals from China’s leadership and consolidated his grip on the country on the final day of a Communist party meeting at which former president Hu Jintao was led away unexpectedly from the main stage. Hu’s departure was a rare moment of unscripted drama in what is usually carefully choreographed political theatre.

The closing session of the 20th congress of the Chinese Communist party (CCP) ended a weekend of triumph for Xi that makes him China’s most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong. He has swept away the last norms of a political order built since Mao’s death to prevent a return to the worst excesses of rule by a single autocrat.

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Could Xi follow Putin’s example and try to annex Taiwan? – video explainer

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, struck a more assertive than usual note at the 20th Communist party congress in Beijing on Sunday, as he laid out his vision for the country's relationship with the self-governing island of Taiwan. The 'wheels of history' were moving towards reunification, he said, and 'complete reunification of the motherland must be achieved and can definitely be achieved'.

Tensions over the island hit a nadir this summer when the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, embarked on a controversial visit to Taipei, provoking a fierce response from China, which carried out a series of military exercises around the island in response to what it described as an 'egregious provocation'. 

As Xi outlines his plans to members of the Communist party, Guardian correspondent Emma Graham-Harrison explains what Beijing's position will mean for its relationship with Taiwan, and whether Xi is likely to order an attack on the island.

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China’s plans to annex Taiwan moving ‘much faster’ under Xi, says Blinken

Comments by US secretary of state come after Xi told Communist party Congress Taiwan is core to plans for China’s ‘rejuvenation’

China’s government is pursuing its plans to annex Taiwan on a “much faster timeline” under Xi Jinping, the US secretary of state has said, reiterating warnings of global economic disruption if Taiwan was taken over.

The comments by Antony Blinken come as China’s ruling Communist party meet for their twice-a-decade congress, the most important meeting of its political cycle. In a major speech opening the conclaves on Sunday, Xi made clear that his plans for Taiwan remain core to his plans of China’s “rejuvenation”.

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The most powerful man in China since Mao: Xi Jinping is on the brink of total power

The Communist party will this week confirm Xi as China’s most powerful leader since Mao. What will his extended term of office mean for the country and for its neighbour Taiwan?

This week in Beijing, Xi Jinping will preside over one of his country’s great shows of political theatre and seal a long-planned political triumph, consolidating his power and extending his rule.

The Chinese Communist party is poised to formally hand Xi another five years as party boss, and therefore leader of the country, at a summit that will also move his allies into key roles and elevate the status of his writings on power and government.

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Taiwan opens borders to tourists as restrictions eased after 2.5 years

Entry rules to island lifted to allow unfettered access, while mainland China remains one of the few places keeping borders closed

Taiwan lifted all its Covid-19 entry restrictions on Thursday, allowing tourists unfettered access the self-ruled island after more than 2.5 years of border controls.

Hong Kong and Taiwan, together with mainland China, required most visitors to complete a mandatory quarantine period throughout the pandemic, even as most countries reopened their borders to tourists.

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