Chinese Military Video Sparks Concern in Taiwan

A video clip shown on Chinese television channel CCTV-4 in July, depicting a practice assault on a building that looks like Taiwan’s Presidential Office, has sparked concern in Taiwan and abroad that China is indirectly threatening the island.

The video depicts a number of military maneuvers by the PLA at the Zhurihe military base in Inner Mongolia, with some of the exercises aimed at developing urban warfare techniques, using sets that are ostensibly based on real urban areas, including what looks like downtown Taipei. In the clip, a PLA soldier is shown firing upon a building that strongly resembles Taiwan’s Presidential Office, with several other soldiers later shown entering the same building. Defense analysts suggest that rather than revealing actual plans for an invasion of Taiwan, the video is meant as a form of psychological warfare as Taiwan prepares to choose a new president in elections next January. Tsai Ing-wen, candidate for the independence-leaning DPP, is considered the favorite in the race.