Chapter 3 The Division of Labor and Strategy of CCP Authority toward Taiwan: Taking the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as Examples
PDF link:Chapter 3 The Division of Labor and Strategy of CCP Authority toward Taiwan Taking the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as Examples.pdf
Since the end of Chinese Civil War, the authorities on two sides of the Taiwan Strait have been separated. For the further reunification of the motherland, the CCP government of mainland China finds it necessary to build the Central Leading Group for Taiwan Affairs directly under the CCP Central Committee. In 1954, Mao Zedong suggested to establish the Central Leading Group for Taiwan Affairs, which was further executed by Zhou Enlai. The group has gone through major historical events such as the cultural revolution and the Chinese economic reform. Its name was once changed to “The Central Group for Taiwan Affairs” under the ruling of Deng Xiaoping. After Jiang Zemin became the general secretary of the CCP Central Committee in 1993, the word “leading” was restored in the title. The group is led by Jiang Zemin and includes heads of five departments as regular members: the Taiwan Affairs Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People’s Liberation Army, United Front Work Department and Ministry of State Security. This basic formation of members has remained the same until now and is even expanded to include Ministry of State Security, Ministry of Commerce, and the Publicity Department into the group, with additions and deletions depending on the work requirements of the leaders in different times.
In this chapter, we choose the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Taiwan Affairs Office as research targets, both relating to The Central Leading Group for Taiwan Affairs (CLG). The two units share the common feature of presenting press releases on Taiwan-related issues. The Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) refers to the co-location of the Office of The Central Leading Group for Taiwan Affairs, the Office of Taiwan Affairs of the Central Taiwan Affairs Office, and the Office of Taiwan Affairs of the State Council, which is a typical “one set of staff with two titles of units” administration structure. The unit will thus be abbreviated as TAO in the following paragraphs. In terms of their duties, the official website of the MFA of China states its main responsibilities in Article 9, “To release information about important diplomatic activities, elaborate on foreign policies, conduct information- related work about important diplomatic activities, organize public diplomacy activities, and take charge of the affairs related to foreign journalists in China and resident foreign news agencies”, and in Article 13 “To handle, in accordance with law, diplomatic and consular affairs in Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions, and handle foreign affairs related to Taiwan.” These two statements are the most relevant ones to the diplomatic discourse on Taiwan issues. The TAO, on the other hand, is responsible for handling “global and regional security, political, economic, human rights, social, refugee and other diplomatic affairs in the United Nations and other multilateral fora.” The difference of duties is that the MFA has less responsibility for Taiwan and is involved only in foreign affairs, while the major Taiwan-related events fall under the responsibility of the TAO.
The following framework of the chapter will introduce the discourses of the MFA and the TAO of China on specific events in Taiwan during 2021 with summaries and comparisons. The purpose of this study is to understand the division of labor between the two units on Taiwan-related issues and whether there is significant difference of attitudes adopted on different issues or if they adopt a converging attack type of strategy. In this chapter, the scope of study would follow the format of this annual report, focusing on the important events that occurred during 2021, and further summarizes the patterns for future reference.
 Kou, Chien-Wen, The Organizational System and Personnel of Mainland China’s United Front Work with Taiwan, Commissioned Research of Mainland Affairs Council, March 2019, pp. 39-48, https://ws.mac.gov.tw/001/Upload/295/relfile/7845/73953/dad82e36-96d1-43bc-a57e- 47e3b777064b.pdf.
“Main Functions of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs, https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/wjb_673085/zyzz_673087/.
“Main Functions,” Taiwan Affairs Office, http://www.gwytb.gov.cn/jgsz/.