context: Despite affirmations from Xi Jinping that cross-strait relations were stronger than ever, Tsai Ing-wen stated that she would welcome a British naval base in the region to resist mainland advances. Following this mismatch in rhetoric, mainland officials and experts are quick to reassure that the status quo will remain unchanged.

At a 16 Jan 2019 press conference, Ma Xiaoguang 马晓光 State Council Taiwan Affairs spokesperson stressed China’s willingness and capability to overcome challenges posed by ‘Taiwan independence’ activities.

When evaluating China–Taiwan relations in 2018, Ma noted that

  • bilateral relations improved, including
    • economic cooperation and exchanges
    • trade ties
  • China is upholding the ‘1992 Consensus’, stressing that
    • it is the foundation of China–Taiwan relations, with both sides agreeing to the ‘One China’ concept
    • ‘One Country, Two Systems’ is a post-national reunification institutional arrangement
      • Democratic Progressive Party leaders deliberately conflated the two and misled Taiwan’s citizens, Ma argued
  • China is resolutely opposed to any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist activism
  • China’s interests promote the benefit and interests of Taiwanese ‘compatriots’

Ma cautioned that the US must avoid ‘irresponsible actions’ that could further undermine Cross Straits relations as China considers Taiwan an internal affair, a core interest and a national popular matter.

Regarding the new tax law for Taiwanese citizens living in the mainland, Ma clarified that

  • a ‘legitimate stable residence’ does not equate to ‘having residency’
  • the personal income tax reform for Taiwan citizens working and living in China has
    • raised the threshold of taxable income
    • adjusted the tax scale
    • reduced tax burden
    • continued optimising previous preferential policies
  • for those working in China for less than six years without residency, foreign income paid abroad is exempt from taxation