A senior Chinese diplomat intervened into the otherwise mundane legislative process in the Michigan Capitol after a resolution in the upper house of the state Legislature commended Taiwan for the celebration of its national day.
Objecting to the resolution, Hong Lei, consul general for the People’s Republic of China, as Beijing is formally known, wrote a two-page letter to state Sen. Rick Jones claiming the so-called One-China Policy “must be observed by both US federal and state governments.”
While the Trump administration hasn’t changed U.S. adherence to the One-China Policy, the president has signaled that relations between Washington and Beijing aren’t business as usual. Moreover, the Republican Party’s national platform in 2016 maintained a strong commitment to independent Taiwan, which, unlike Mainland China, is a democracy with free elections.
The resolution, introduced by the majority leader of the state Senate, Republican Sen. Arlan Meekhof, was co-sponsored by Jones and 12 other senators, including two Democrats. It passed without objection on October 10.
Jones, a straight talking former county sheriff, says he won’t be swayed by China’s meddling, which comes at a time of national controversy over foreign influences in U.S. politics.
“I was elected by the people of Michigan in a free, fair and democratic election,” Jones exclusively told Townhall. “Not only do I proudly stand with Taiwan, but I reject the interference of the communists in Beijing — a regime that refuses to hold free, fair and democratic elections and censors free expression and political dissent.”
While unseemly, the diplomatic offensive by China is part of a concerted effort by Beijing to isolate Taiwan.
Recently, Panama ended its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan after China expressed interest in developing large swaths of land surrounding the Panama Canal — territory formerly controlled by the United States.
China has also been buying the votes of independent island countries, as well as iimpoverished African countries, at the United Nations under the pretext of foreign aid and international development by promising billions of dollars for schools, hospitals and critical infrastructure projects.
Dennis Lennox is a Michigan-based political commentator and columnist. Follow @dennislennox on Twitter.