In response to the thoughtful inaugural address by Taiwan's new president, Tsai Ing-wen, China's Taiwan Affairs Office had a simple rejoinder: her speech was an "incomplete test answer." In China's view, she must do the test over and fully meet China's demands before she can get a passing grade.

The mainland doesn't get it. The question is not whether Tsai passes the mainland's test; it's whether the mainland can stop playing the bully every time it wants something, whether from Taiwan, the Philippines or Japan.

What Beijing wants is for Tsai to say two words: "1992 Consensus." Without uttering those words, Beijing is saying, Taiwan is risking its mainland trade, its diplomatic relations with third countries and greater international isolation.