Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Strengths of China's Charm Offensive: Changes in the Political Landscape of a Southern Taiwan Town under Attack from Chinese Economic Power

  • Shu Keng (a1), Jean Yu-Chen Tseng (a2) and Qiang Yu (a3)


China's trade with Taiwan has a political motive: winning the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese people. The effectiveness of China's economic statecraft can be examined in the Syuejia (Xuejia) case, where Taiwan put up strong resistance to the generous benefits offered by China. This article investigates the political implications of the Chinese-designed contract farming programme in Syuejia and argues that if economic favours are delivered, and positive impressions also created, political attitudes can be revised. Without these two prerequisites, however, replicating the Syuejia results elsewhere and thus disturbing the cross-Strait status quo will be difficult. When put in a theoretical context, the changes in the political landscape of Syuejia illustrate the interplay of economic interests and political identity.

对于两岸经贸开放问题, 中国大陆显然怀有政治考虑, 意在藉此争取台湾民心。而此类做法能否生效, 最值得观察的莫过于南台湾的小镇学甲: 因为在这里泛绿势力一向最大, 大陆也相应投放了最多资源。有鉴于此, 作者们乃针对学甲养殖渔户与陆方签订的 “契作合同”, 展开了 18 个月的实地调研, 探讨此类经济施惠策略, 能否影响台湾民众的两岸态度与投票行为。研究发现迥异于之前预期, 经济治术确有其显著影响, 但进一步考察发现, 此类影响的前提为 (1) 实惠确实到位、(2) 形成正面观感, 两者缺一不可。也因此, 依照这个前提来看, 大陆目前的经济治术, 其实还不足以撼动两岸现状。本文除了有助前瞻两岸未来, 从理论层面来看, 作者们也提供一个研究案例, 帮助读者一窥经济与政治角力的过程与后果。


Corresponding author

Email: (corresponding author).


Hide All
Adams, Jonathan. 2009. “Chinese compete for ‘worst tourist’ label,” Global Post, 13 July, Accessed 21 April 2014.
Angrist, Joshua D., and Pischke, Jörn-Steffen. 2009. Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Baldwin, David A. 1985. Economic Statecraft. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Bush, Richard C. 2005. Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Bush, Richard C. 2013. Uncharted Strait: The Future of China–Taiwan Relations. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Cao, Wanling. 2012. “Xuejia ‘lansan lüqi’ nanhandong dalu qizuopai shixiao” (The election result of DPP receiving 70 per cent and KMT 30 per cent of the votes suggests that contract farming fails to have an effect). Shangye zhoukan 1261, Accessed 10 April 2014.
Carpenter, Ted Galen. 2005. America's Coming War with China: A Collision Course over Taiwan. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Chan, Steve. 2006. “The politics of economic exchange: carrots and sticks in Taiwan–China–US relations.” Issues and Studies 42(2), 122.
Chow, Peter C.Y. (ed.). 2012. National Identity and Economic Interest: Taiwan's Competing Options and Their Implications for Regional Stability. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Copper, John Franklin. 2006. Playing with Fire: The Looming War with China over Taiwan. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Davis, Patricia A. 1999. The Art of Economic Persuasion: Positive Incentives and German Economic Diplomacy. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Dittmer, Lowell, et al. 2004. Special issue on “Taiwan's search for national identity.” Asian Survey 44(4), 475625.
Fell, Dafydd. 2005. Party Politics in Taiwan: Party Change and the Democratic Evolution of Taiwan, 1991–2004. London: Routledge.
Fell, Dafydd. 2012. Government and Politics in Taiwan. London: Routledge.
Hirschman, Albert O. 1980[1945]. National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade (expanded ed). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Hu, Jintao. 2005. “Guanche ‘ji xiwang yu Taiwan renmin’ de fangzhen juebu gaibian” (We shall never give up the principle of “always counting on the Taiwanese people”), Xinhuanet, Accessed 15 July 2013.
Huang, Annie. 2012. “China uses trade to influence Taiwan election,” Taipei Times, 9 January.
Kahler, Miles, and Kastner, Scott L.. 2006. “Strategic uses of economic interdependence: engagement policies on the Korean Peninsula and across the Taiwan Strait.” Journal of Peace Research 43(5), 523541.
Kastner, Jens. 2012, “Mainland slips on fishy plan to boost cross-Strait business,” Asia Times Online, Accessed 15 July 2013.
Keng, Shu. 2009. “Jingji niuzhuan zhengzhi? Zhonggong jinqi huitai zhengce de zhengzhi yingxiang” (Limitations of China's economic statecraft: China's favour-granting policies and their political implications). Wenti yu yanjiu 48(3), 132.
Keng, Shu, Chen, Lu-huei and Huang, Kuan-bo. 2006. “Sense, sensitivity, and sophistication in shaping the future of cross-Strait relations.” Issues and Studies 42(4), 2366.
Keng, Shu, and Lin, Emmy Ruihua. 2013. “Bidding for Taiwanese hearts: the achievements and limitations of China's strategy to engage Taiwan.” In Hu, Richard Weixing (ed.), New Dynamics in Cross-Taiwan Straits Relations: How Far Can the Rapprochement Go? London: Routledge, 169189.
Keng, Shu, and Schubert, Gunter. 2010. “Agents of unification? The political role of Taiwanese businessmen in the process of cross-Strait integration.” Asian Survey 50(2), 287310.
Keohane, Robert O., and Nye, Joseph S. Jr. 2012. Power and Interdependence (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Longman.
Kurlantzick, Joshua. 2007. Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power Is Transforming the World. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Lai, Ningning, et al. 2011. “A'gong, yindan and shimuyu” (Chinese Communists, money power, and the milkfish). Shangye zhoukan 1249, Accessed 10 April 2014.
Lin, Chong-Pin. 2008. “More carrot than stick: Beijing's emerging Taiwan policy.” China Security 4(1), 127.
Lin, Rebecca. 2012. “Going straight to Taiwan's grassroots: PRC Taiwan Affairs Office deputy director, Zheng Lizhong,” Tianxia zazhi, 1 November, Accessed 15 July 2013.
Muyard, Frank. 2012. “Taiwanese national identity, cross-Strait economic interaction, and the integration paradigm.” In Chow, Peter C.Y. (ed.), National Identity and Economic Interest: Taiwan's Competing Options and Their Implications for Regional Stability. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 153186.
Nye, Joseph S. Jr. 1976. “Independence and interdependence.” Foreign Policy 22, 130161.
Nye, Joseph S. Jr. 2004. Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. New York: Public Affairs.
Olson, Mancur. 1971. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Rigger, Shelley. 2011. Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Schubert, Gunter. 2010. “The political thinking of mainland Taishang: some preliminary observations from the field.” Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 39(1), 9397.
Taipei Times Staff Writer. 2011. “2012 election: milkfish orders would not sway voters, poll finds,” Taipei Times, 29 October.
Tanner, Murray Scot. 2007. Chinese Economic Coercion against Taiwan: A Tricky Weapon to Use. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.
Wei, Yung. 1997. “From ‘multi-system nations’ to ‘linkage communities’: a new conceptual scheme for the integration of divided nations.” Issues and Studies 33(10), 119.
Wong, Stan Hok-wui, and Wu, Nicole. 2016. “Can Beijing buy Taiwan? An empirical assessment of Beijing agricultural trade concessions to Taiwan.” Journal of Contemporary China 25(9), 353371.
Wu, Naiteh. 2005. “Mianbao yu aiqing: chutan Taiwan minzhong minzu rentong de biandong” (Bread or love: a preliminary study of identity change in Taiwan). Taiwan zhengzhi xuekan 9(2), 539.
Wu, Naiteh. 2012. “Will economic integration lead to political assimilation?” In Chow, Peter C.Y. (ed.), National Identity and Economic Interest: Taiwan's Competing Options and Their Implications for Regional Stability. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 187202,
Wu, Sofia. 2011. “Talk of the day: can China's ‘silver bullet’ change voting behavior in Taiwan?” Taiwan News, 26 October.
Wu, Yu-Shan. 1994. “Mainland China's economic policy toward Taiwan: economic need or unification scheme?Issues and Studies 30(9), 2949.
Zhou, Youting. 2012. “ECFA shiling, Xuejia qicheng ren tinglü” (The ECFA make little difference, 70 per cent of Syuejia residents still vote for DPP), Zhongguo shibao, 15 January, Accessed 10 April 2014.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed