Lien Chan is meeting President Hu of China beginning on Friday, ahead of Hu’s trip to the US. The CCP and the KMT could hardly be more open about their cooperation. Taiwan News observes of the meeting:

Thanks to the enthusiastic participation by the KMT, the forum also provides Hu with ample ammunition in his upcoming summit with United States President George W. Bush on April 20 to blame the continuation of the cross-strait stalemate on the “unilateral refusal” of President Chen and the DPP government to engage in cross-strait talks.

Naturally, Hu will make little or no mention of the PRC’s imposition of the precondition of Taipei’s prior acceptance of Beijing’s “one-China” principle, and thus the political surrender of our sovereignty, in exchange for the resumption of the suspended quasi-official consultations.

Despite Washington’s repeated calls for the Beijing leadership to talk to Taiwan’s duly-elected government and its leader, the PRC government insists on bypassing the DPP administration and dealing with only with their former foes and newfound allies in the opposition pan-KMT camp, whose power-hungry leadership is more than happy to accept Beijing’s arrogant precondition.

This is a pretty good reading of what will happen. The Taipei Times reports that the regime is forcing Taiwanese businessmen in China to attend the Lien-Hu Lovefest:

China is forcing Taiwanese businesspeople to attend an economic summit between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a top Mainland Affairs Council official said yesterday.

Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) confirmed yesterday that Taiwanese businesspeople are being pressured to attend a two-day forum on cross-strait trade to be held by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that opens on Friday. Wu urged the KMT not to touch on issues that involve governmental authority.

The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported yesterday that the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) of China’s State Council had issued an order to the heads of more than 80 Taiwanese business associations in China to attend the forum.

The office warned that failure to comply would result in stiff penalties, the report said.

The office has also ordered Taiwanese businesses nationwide to mobilize in Xiamen and Shanghai to greet former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) when he tours those cities before heading to Beijing for the forum, the report said.

Before you all wax indignant at the odious Chinese forcing Taiwanese businessmen to kow-tow to the insufferable loser Lien Chan — think Beijing will make them address Lien as “President?” — take a moment and think about what a wonderful development this is. For the first time, the Chinese government is extracting a serious nationwide political price for permitting Taiwanese businessmen to operate in its territory. And it is doing so in a way that has created entirely unnecessary negative feelings:

The Liberty Times report said that many of the associations are angry that they
are being coerced to participate in what they called a meaningless event.

Nothing could demonstrate with greater clarity what China is, and convince Taiwan businessmen that they cannot ignore political issues and operate in China, because China is too caught up its own nationalist expanionism to keep itself from spanking the goose that lays the golden eggs. This alone will not cause the million-odd TaiShang to re-evaluate their investments, their factories, and their second wives. It is, however, the first of many such events that in the long run can only harm China’s cause with the very people who support it the most, and the most effectively: the Taiwanese businessmen in China. Today there must be more than one association chief in China scratching his head, wondering what price they will have to pay in the future.

And all because it wants to pretend in front of its own people, in the best Inspector General style, that Lien Chan is really somebody.

UPDATE: ESWN carries the Chinese side of the story, in which Xinhua cites Taiwan businessmen as saying that the story that they were forced to come was laughable. “How can they be punished?” one respondent asked. You’d have to be extraordinarily naive not to be able to answer that question! But the Xinhua story seems plausible too.