China’s Ambassador to America Qin Gang thanked South African tech mogul Elon Musk on Sunday for stating in a recent interview that Taiwan should abandon its sovereignty and allow China to colonize it into a “special administrative region,” such as Hong Kong or Macau.
Musk — the head of several technology corporations, the most prominent being the Tesla electric car company — said in an interview published on Friday in the Financial Times that the solution to resolving “conflict” between Taiwan and China, caused exclusively by China regularly threatening to invade Taiwan, is to give Beijing what it wants. Musk reportedly said that conflict over China’s false claims of sovereignty over Taiwan was “inevitable” but a compromise that erases Taiwan as a state would be his “recommendation.”
“My recommendation … would be to figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably palatable, probably won’t make everyone happy,” Musk was quoted as saying. “And it’s possible, and I think probably, in fact, that they could have an arrangement that’s more lenient than Hong Kong.”
Musk recently made a similar recommendation that the government of Ukraine should allow Russia to colonize multiple of its territories to stop the eight-year-old war in that country, prompted by Russia annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. Rather than proposing annexation, the Chinese Communist Party claims that Taiwan was never a state, but rather had always been a province of China and continues to be so.
In reality, Taiwan is a free, democratic state off the coast of China that has never in its history been governed by any government in Beijing. Taiwan does not rely on China for any of its governance, infrastructure, defense, or other state capabilities.
“I would like to thank [Elon Musk] 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,” Qin, the Chinese ambassador to Washington, said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to the interview without the praise that Qin added, but nonetheless supported the eradication of the Taiwanese state.
“The Taiwan question is China’s internal affair … 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,” spokeswoman Mao Ning told reporters on Saturday. “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.”
“One Country, Two Systems” is a largely defunct philosophy applied to Hong Kong, in which Hong Kong gave up any claims to sovereignty in exchange for allegedly being able to remain independent of the Communist Party. China functionally eliminated “One Country, Two Systems” following the 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, illegally imposing a “national security” law in 2020 that mostly criminalizes expressions of anti-communist dissidence.
On Sunday, Mao again addressed the Musk interview, again not addressing Musk himself but this time echoing his language of “high degree of autonomy” under communism.
“I want to stress that peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems is the basic principle for resolving the Taiwan question and the best way to realize national reunification,” Mao told reporters. “Provided that national sovereignty, security and development interests are ensured, Taiwan can adopt a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region, Taiwan’s social system and its way of life will be fully respected and the lawful rights and interests of our Taiwan compatriots will be fully protected.”
Musk has long enjoyed a warm relationship with communist China. Musk’s Tesla maintains a “gigafactory” in Shanghai and several lucrative facilities, including a Tesla showroom in Urumqi, the capital of the Uyghur region where the Communist Party is committing genocide. A report by the news agency Reuters in February revealed that Tesla was allegedly planning to double production in China this year, despite widespread condemnation of his decision to do business with a genocidal government.
Musk has also personally defended China repeatedly in the past. Musk has expressed support for China’s brutal abuse of factory workers, stating at an event in May that Chinese workers “won’t just be burning the midnight oil, they will be burning the 3:00 a.m. oil, they won’t even leave the factory type of thing, whereas in America people are trying to avoid going to work at all.” Shortly before those remarks, Musk had applauded the Communist Party for allowing Tesla to imprison workers in the Shanghai factory under a “closed-loop” anti-coronavirus lockdown system. Musk has also prominently partaken in regime celebrations such as the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, responsible for tens of millions of murders – hundreds of millions if including government-mandated abortions.
The government of Taiwan responded to Musk’s comments this weekend with outrage; lawmakers urged Taiwanese citizens to boycott products made by Musk’s companies. Lawmaker Chao Tien-lin of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) called Musk’s comments absurd and urged a boycott in the entirety of the democratic world.
“Individual independent companies cannot take their ownership as a joke,” another DPP lawmaker, Wang Ting-yu, said in response in a post on Facebook. “So why should they casually pass off the democratic freedoms, sovereignty and way of life of 23 million Taiwanese? It is not acceptable for Ukraine, and Taiwan certainly will not allow it.”
The administration of President Tsai Ing-wen has not personally addressed Musk. During her speech on Monday to mark the National Day, however, Tsai made a particular note of asserting that Taiwan is not interested in yielding its sovereignty to China.
“The broadest consensus among the Taiwanese people and our various political parties is that we must defend our national sovereignty and our free and democratic way of life. On this point, we have no room for compromise,” Tsai said.