Back in the mid-2000s, in a conversation with a Taiwanese exchange student, the topic somehow turned to international relations (proof that I am not making this up just because it’s now a hot topic). I recall asking him what he thought would happen if China was to invade.
His response? He thought that a good majority of the soldiers – mostly conscripts, back then – would quickly desert or surrender. Perhaps 20% would be outright happy to collaborate. I just looked at the polls and they happen to be equivalent to almost exactly equivalent to the 70%-80% Taiwanese who are opposed to unification with China. There is good cause to believe his assessment was accurate (and he wasn’t a fan of the PRC either).
I think this demonstrates an important point. While the Taiwanese might not want to be ruled from Beijing, very few of them want to die for Taiwan (a fake, and now literally gay, country).
In fact, I strongly suspect that Taiwan will fold much like the Ukraine would have crumpled before a Russian invasion in 2014. While the Ukrainian Army is very brave at shelling Donetsk civilians, they surrender or skulk away as soon as uniformed Russian soldiers show up. The Galician guys in Crimea surrendered without firing a shot, even if they did hold out the longest.
This suggests that China must avoid an aeronaval conflict over Taiwan to the extent possible – while it is much better prepared for it now than in prior years, it still has no real counter to the Virginia-class attack submarines that will be the main foil to any amphibious invasion. Risky as it is, an airborne assault like the German conquest of Crete in WW2 might just work. While China’s strategic airlife capabilities are still rather meager, there’s no reason that its vast civilian air fleet couldn’t be pressed into service. Demoralized, disorientated by missile strikes, and riven by Sinophile treason and sabotage, it could quickly fold even before a pretty small Chinese force. In addition, this will have the effect of presenting America with a fait accompli and forestalling further escalation.
Of course a better idea is to just continue expanding its economic and military dominant, brain draining the svidomy renegades, and putting them out of their misery come midcentury or so.