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  • On this episode of China Uncensored,

  • how China is using tourism as a weapon.

  • Hi, welcome back to China Uncensored.

  • I'm your host, Chris Chappell.

  • The Chinese Communist Party has a secret weapon

  • to use against countries it doesn't like.

  • No, it's not the new hypersonic waverider missile.

  • This weapon involves completely different kind of wave rider...

  • Chinese tourists!

  • The Communist Party's weaponization of tourism means

  • using the massive flow of Chinese tourists...

  • ...and all the money they spend shopping...

  • as a way to punish other countries

  • for not following the Party line.

  • The most recent country to get walloped?

  • The Pacific island nation of Palau.

  • Palau is here.

  • Wait, zoom in.

  • Palau is here.

  • Um... keep zooming in.

  • There it is.

  • Palau is here.

  • This country is so small,

  • that when they were having their flag designed,

  • they could only afford the basic package.

  • Not to say Palau isn't a beautiful tropical paradise.

  • It is!

  • It's also one of only 17 countries in the world

  • that still have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

  • That is, they recognize Taiwan's Republic of China government

  • as the legitimate government of all of China.

  • Obviously, the Chinese Communist Party does not like this.

  • So they've hit Palau with what amounts to a partial travel ban.

  • They're doing this by refusing to give Palau

  • Approved Destination Status,” or ADS.

  • I know, ADS doesn't sound like something you necessarily

  • want someone to give you.

  • But it's actually a seal of approval that allows mainland

  • Chinese travel agencies to book group tours there.

  • Without ADS, tourists can still visit,

  • but only if they book travel on their own.

  • And among Chinese travelers,

  • big group tours are still way more popular.

  • Palau actually never had ADS,

  • but Chinese travel agencies were booking tours to Palau anyway.

  • You know, because laws in China...eh

  • That is, until last year, when the Chinese regime cracked down

  • by sending a letter to all Chinese travel agencies,

  • reminding them specifically that it's against the law

  • to book tour groups to Palau.

  • And then the number of Chinese tourists in Palau plummeted

  • from 87,000 in 2015, to 58,000 in 2017.

  • While those figures may not sound like much,

  • about half of Palau's tourists come from Mainland China,

  • and about half the country's GDP comes from tourism.

  • So those falling numbers

  • are actually a pretty big deal for Palau.

  • Palau Pacific Airways, which once claimed to be

  • the best choice to get from Hong Kong to Palau,”

  • announced that it was shutting downfor good.

  • Manipulating tourism is one of many tactics of statecraft

  • used by the Chinese Communist Party,

  • according to this recent report called

  • China's Use of Coercive Economic Measures.”

  • The report says that over the past few years,

  • the Party has perfected the art of weaponizing tourism,

  • cutting off the flow of tourist dollars

  • as a tactic to punish countries

  • that refuse to do its bidding.

  • And the authors of the report warn: Y

  • ou ain't seen nothin yet.

  • You see, Chinese tourists spend more than tourists

  • from any other country in the world,

  • and those expenditures are growing.

  • According to a study by Nielsen, in 2016,

  • Chinese tourists traveled overseas 120 million times,

  • and spent more than 260 billion dollars during those trips.

  • And most of what they spent those billions on, is shopping.

  • Obviously for countries that host Chinese tourists,

  • that kind of cash is nice to have.

  • I mean, even Newark,

  • New Jersey is getting in on the action.

  • So the Chinese Communist Party has learned

  • to exploit that tourism.

  • Back in 2012, when Chinese and Filipino ships

  • first clashed over disputed waters in the South China Sea,

  • China retaliated by issuing travel warnings to discourage

  • Chinese tourists from visiting the Philippines.

  • And it had a huge impact in some parts of the country.

  • But lately, the new president Rodrigo Duterte

  • has decided to get all buddy-buddy with China...

  • ...and the tourism floodgates have opened again.

  • Duterte has achieved this partly by backing down

  • over claims in the South China Sea,

  • and making *hilarious* jokes like,

  • the Philippines ought to just be a province of China.

  • Ha.

  • Ha.

  • And presto!

  • Within a few months,

  • the number of Chinese tourists grew by 40 percent!

  • And it could double by the end of the year.

  • Then there's the troublesome

  • totally-not-a-country of Taiwan.

  • Under Taiwan's previous president,

  • China-Taiwan ties got warmer and warmer

  • culminating in a historic,

  • but also super awkward-looking,

  • meeting between the two leaders.

  • And tourism from China skyrocketed.

  • But the new president of Taiwan since 2016 has been

  • a real Negative Nancy towards the Communist Party.

  • She's repeatedly referred to Taiwan as a country

  • which the Chinese Communist Party considers

  • just a stone's throw from declaring independence.

  • And within seven months of her election,

  • tourism from mainland China was down 36 percent

  • mostly because of pressure on travel agencies from,

  • you guessed it,

  • the Chinese Communist Party.

  • Then there's South Korea.

  • In 2017, South Korea deployed

  • an American-made anti-missile defence system

  • known as THAAD.

  • It's officially designed to intercept

  • missiles from North Korea,

  • but it could also stop missiles from, really,

  • any aggressive communist neighbor.

  • And this was not lost on Chinese leaders,

  • who've hated THAAD from the get-go.

  • Within a month of deployment,

  • tour groups from China to Korea dropped to nearly zero,

  • as this graph shows.

  • And individual tourism from China fell by about half.

  • Cuts to tourism cost South Korea more than

  • 15 billion dollars and four hundred thousand jobs.

  • So for countries like the Philippines,

  • Taiwan, and South Korea,

  • tourism manipulation is a hard thing to fight against.

  • You either play by the Communist Party's rules,

  • or suffer the consequences.

  • But then again, maybe fewer group tours

  • and the trampling masses they bring

  • isn't always bad.

  • Back to the Pacific paradise of Palau.

  • It already had to close down its iconic Jellyfish Lake

  • because of too many careless tourists.

  • And recently,

  • Palau has decided to shift from mass tourism

  • to what it callshigh yield, low impacttourism:

  • That is, higher spending tourists who

  • are more environmentally conscious.

  • I guess they want tourists from Northern California.

  • Meanwhile, the president of Palau

  • is showing no signs of caving to the Chinese Communist Party

  • no matter what happens with tourism.

  • Perhaps other countries might consider

  • taking a page from Palau's playbook.

  • So what do you think about China's weaponization of tourism

  • as a foreign policy tool?

  • Leave your comments below.

  • And before you go,

  • it's that time when I answer a question from a supporter

  • who contributes to China Uncensored through Patreon,

  • our crowdfunding website.

  • Where do you see the future of Taiwan?

  • Reunification with mainland China,

  • or an UN-recognized sovereign nation?”

  • Wow, Gorden.

  • That's a tough question.

  • I think thatso long as the Communist Party rules China

  • we won't see either unification with China

  • or UN recognition of Taiwan.

  • The more the Chinese regime threatens Taiwan,

  • and the more the Chinese regime takes away

  • the rights of the citizens in its supposedly independent regions

  • of Hong Kong and Macau,

  • the less Taiwanese people want to be unified under that system.

  • So even if economic ties deepen,

  • Taiwan will resist actual unification.

  • At the same time,

  • if Taiwan were to officially declare independence,

  • it could push the Chinese regime to invade,

  • thus starting start World War III.

  • Or China's threats could all be a big bluff,

  • and they won't do anything.

  • The key here is: NOBODY KNOWS!

  • That's why I think the most likely scenario is:

  • Taiwan will stay in its current,

  • awkward limbo indefinitely.

  • The other possibilityand this is small

  • is that the United States will change half a century

  • of China policy and decide to recognize

  • both China and Taiwan as separate countries.

  • Because if the US does it,

  • the rest of the world will follow suit.

  • Now that's not very likely,

  • but we do have a president who might just do it.

  • With Trump, you never know.

  • Thanks for your question, Gorden.

  • And to everyone else,

  • be like Gorden and support China Uncensored

  • with a dollar or more per episode.

  • Click the link below and visit

  • our crowdfunding page on Patreon.com.

  • Your support keeps the show going,

  • since YouTube ad revenue has dwindled.

  • Thanks for watching this episode of China Uncensored.

  • I'm Chris Chappell.

  • See you next time.

  • Thanks for watching.

  • Click this orange button to support China Uncensored

  • on the crowdfunding website Patreon.

  • Your support makes a huge difference.

  • Thank you so much.

On this episode of China Uncensored,

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How China Uses Tourism as a Weapon

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    zijun su posted on 2021/06/16
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