A recent article by Jonathan Adams in the International Herald Tribune described a certain cult unpopular with Beijing that was recruiting mainlanders visiting Taiwan thanks to the cross-straits detente.
The Taiwan government is powerless to stop the activities due to strong laws protecting assembly of private citizens.
The broad question this raise to me is whether Taiwan will change China due to the opening of cross straits.
Hong Kong (and Macau) are unlikely to change China because they are:
– Small (Fewer than 8 million people)
– Lacking lively political debate
The rule of law and free expression in Hong Kong are interesting characteristics, but my sense is that Hong Kong is still considered a culture apart.
Taiwan, on the other hand, is:
– Fairly large (22 million people, I think)
– Quite prominent on the mainland (Taiwan has long been considered a renegade province, so always part of China)
– Politically lively
Taiwan is a great counter-argument to those who think that Chinese culture rejects democracy/self-rule (a view expressed on this blog recently)
Will Taiwan change China? (How could China change Taiwan?)