Dug into a Taiwanese beach, cannons and tanks open fire as fighter jets and assault helicopters launch missiles overhead.

It is all part of annual military exercises, designed to prepare Taiwan for a landing by Chinese troops.

For 70 years, the Taiwanese have lived under self-rule.

But now China is calling on the island to reunify with the mainland, or face the consequences.

"If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, our military has no choice but to fight at all costs - for national unity," a senior Chinese general warned earlier this year.

But in Taiwan, many are hanging on to their independence with fierce determination.

Rock star and politician Freddy Lim is famous among young people as the frontman for cult death metal band, Chthonic, but now he is pushing his message of Taiwanese independence to a broader audience.

Banned from playing in Hong Kong and on the mainland, Lim's stage is his political platform. "Only if Taiwanese are united can we overcome all difficulties," Lim screamed to thousands of fans at a recent concert.

He is adamant that Taiwan's sovereignty must be protected at all costs.

"We have no choice. We can't give up because Taiwan is our home," he says. "We have nowhere to escape. We just have to try to protect our way of life."

101 East investigates Taiwan's resolve to remain independent in the face of China's growing determination to regain control.

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Source: Al Jazeera