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In May, a Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead by the Philippine coast guard, having entered disputed waters. In response, Taiwan promptly embarked on naval exercises off the coast of the Philippines. It was China’s reaction, however, that raised eyebrows elsewhere: it quickly sent a flotilla to join them. “China will not tolerate the shooting of our fishermen,” declared an article in the Chinese newspaper, the Global Times.

There is an increasingly vocal debate about whether Taiwan, for all its fierce sense of democratic freedoms and claims to nationhood, is being reabsorbed by China—and whether the government in Taipei since 2008…

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