While playing war games in the wilds of Inner Mongolia, the People’s Liberation Army decided to spruce up the barren desert environment with a building that just so happens to look a whole lot like Taiwan’s Presidential Office Building.
In footage aired by CCTV earlier this month, Chinese soldiers storm the rather distinctive red-and-white shanzhai structure.
The video actually first aired on July 5th in a package with other clips of military drills and exercises. Nobody seems to have noticed a thing until this past Wednesday when Shanghai-based media outlet Guancha highlighted the mock assault as demonstrating Beijing “might use force to solve the Taiwan issue.”
Officials in Taiwan denounced the drills saying that the mock assault on its iconic building hurt the feelings of the Taiwanese people and hurts cross-strait relations. Taiwanese netizens stopped ogling hunky bean curd sellers long enough to question why the target wasn’t the White House instead. And most just wondered how the footage came to be aired at all.
Experts and scholars speaking to the Wall Street Journal surmised that the move to broadcast the assault was not a colossal screw up but instead a deliberate message directed at swaying Taiwanese voters. The pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party is favored in polls to win a presidential election in January over the unpopular pro-China KMT. China may be trying to get people to vote based more on their emotions. Like fear.
Watch the glorious simulated reunification here:
by Alex Linder
[Images via Guancha]