China Would Re-Educate Taiwan in Event of Reunification, Ambassador Says

Once China achieves its professed goal of establishing control over Taiwan, a process of "re-education" of the island's population would follow, according to China's Ambassador to France Lu Shaye.

The ambassador was speaking on French television channel BFM TV on Wednesday night, when he said a majority of the Taiwanese population actually wanted to be "re-unified" to China ten or twenty years ago, but that "anti-Chinese" propaganda from the local Democratic Progressive Party has indoctrinated the people of the island.

"After the re-unification, we'll do re-education," Lu told the French TV channel, saying that this will make sure Taiwanese people will recover their sense of patriotism.

"I am sure that at that time, the people of Taiwan will be in favor of reunification again. They will become patriotic again," he said.

He added that the process of re-education will be Beijing's main tool to integrate the people of Taiwan into China—not the use of threat.

But the concept of "re-educating" the population is far from reassuring, as the term is the same used by Beijing to label the practice that has seen up to a million Uyghurs (according to the U.N. and Amnesty International) detained in mass "re-education" camps in Xinjiang for political indoctrination.

China has long been accused of committing crimes against humanity and potentially even genocide in Xinjiang, using the camps to force the cultural assimilation of the Uyghur Muslim minority into the country's Han majority, and imposing punishment on those who resist.

Beijing initially denied the existence of the camps in Xinjiang, only to later admit it had set up "vocational training centres" in the region where people could voluntarily check in to learn about Chinese values.

It still strongly denies any violation of human rights in the region, accusing the West of spreading "all sorts of lies."

Questioned about the idea of "re-educating" the Taiwanese population, the Chinese ambassador said that it wasn't so different from France's way of educating people to the values of the Republic.

"It's not a mass education project," Lu said. "The problem is that [Taiwan's] Democratic Progressive Party has made an extreme propaganda, we can even say an extremist one."

Commenting on Nancy Pelosi's recent visit to Taiwan, Lu called it an "unnecessary provocation," later adding that Taiwanese authorities are applying a "'sausage cutting' approach" and advancing step by step towards being independent from China.

"If we do not react, they will achieve their goal of independence in the end," Lu said.

China France ambassador Lu Shaye
China's ambassador to France Lu Shaye said Taiwanese people will be "re-educated" after China re-unifies the now self-governing island. In this photo, Lu looks on during a visit at the Zoo de Beauval in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, central France on August 26, 2019. GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP via Getty Images