March 8th, 2024

“TAIWAN: Unfinished Business – A Fareed Zakaria Special,” Premieres Sunday, March 10 at 8:00pm ET on CNN & CNNi

Fareed Zakaria examines the history – and potential global consequences – of China’s “or else” offers of unification to Taiwan

In just a little more than 50 years from Mao Zedong’s warning to the U.S. that Communist China would someday take possession of Taiwan, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, explores what – if anything – can deter China from a violent invasion of the island, and what can be forecast for the world if nothing can dissuade China’s ruthless modern-era ruler, Xi Jinping.  Zakaria will host TAIWAN: Unfinished Business for premiere on CNN & CNN International on Sunday, March 10, at 8:00pm ET.

Including stunning archival footage from China’s brutal civil war, Zakaria reminds viewers that the bloody battles between China’s communists and nationalists led to more than two million killed or wounded soldiers and more than roughly five million dead civilians, before nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek, was driven to the island of Taiwan with his forces and supporters.

Zakaria discusses, with contemporary interviews with China-watchers, how in the more than 70 years since the civil war, the tensions have actually risen.  China has tightened its grip upon the previously democratically-run Hong Kong, in a seeming renege on its pledge to honor “one nation, two systems” of governance.  Taiwan, watching the sometimes-violent repressions unfold, has reacted in electing increasingly stridently democratic-oriented leadership.

As both China and Taiwan have flourished economically, and technologically – they have also made major investments in military might major national priorities.  Fareed suggests solutions, and poses questions, for what comes next from this pivotal faceoff.

Interviewed for TAIWAN: Unfinished Business are:

  • Jason Hsu, senior research fellow, Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; former Legislator-At-Large, Taiwan national parliament (2016-2020);
  • Bonny Lin, PhD, senior fellow for Asian Security and Director of the China Power Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies;
  • Mark Liu, PhD, chairman, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company;
  • Christopher Miller, PhD, associate professor of international history, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; Jeane Kirkpatrick visiting fellow, American Enterprise Institute; author, Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology (2022);
  • Rana Mitter, PhD,T. Lee Professor of U.S.-Asia Relations, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; author, China’s Good War: How World War II Is Shaping a New Nationalism (2020);
  • Minxin Pei, PhD, Tom and Margot Pritzker ’72 Professor of Government and George R. Roberts fellow, Claremont McKenna College; author, The Sentinel State: Surveillance and the Survival of Dictatorship in China (2024);
  • Shelley Rigger, PhD, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, Brown professor of Asian Studies, Davidson College; author, The Tiger Leading the Dragon: How Taiwan Propelled China’s Economic Rise (2021);
  • David Shambaugh, PhD, Gaston Sigur professor of Asian Studies, political science, & international affairs and founding director of the China Policy Program, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University; author, China’s Leaders: From Mao to Now (2021);
  • Becca Wasser, Senior Fellow for the Defense Program and lead of The Gaming Lab, Center for a New American Security; Adjunct Instructor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; and
  • Joseph Wu, PhD, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan (2018-present)


TAIWAN: Unfinished Business will encore on CNN on Sunday, March 10 at 11:00pm, and on CNN International at 3:00pm on Saturday, March 16.  All times Eastern.  During the March 10 premiere on CNN and CNN International, TAIWAN: Unfinished Business – A Fareed Zakaria Special, will stream live for pay TV subscribers via, CNN OTT and mobile apps. The special will be available on demand beginning Monday, March 11 to pay TV subscribers via, CNN apps, and Cable Operator Platforms.

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Jennifer Dargan, CNN