China: December 4, 2003


China's government controlled media widely distributed comments of an army general about war with an independent Taiwan. The comments stated flatly that an independence vote by Taiwan would mean war, and no amount of international condemnation would change that. Even an Olympic boycott would not matter. China is painting itself into a corner, giving itself the choice of a ruinous war, or being seen as a blowhard. If the US intervened to protect Taiwan (as many US presidents, including the current one, have pledged to do), China would probably not win. A war could cripple China's economy and that, plus failure in the war, could bring popular discontent and revolution.


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