Tue, Oct 09, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Double Ten: The roots of`abnormal' Taiwan

By Lee Hsiao-feng 李筱峰

On Oct. 10, 1911, a revolution began in Wuchang in Hubei Province. Several days later, about 20 provinces had declared independence. The imperial Qing government could not handle the situation, the emperor resigned, and the Republic of China was established.

We have all had to learn the history of the Xinhai Revolution, and many of us can probably recite it backwards. Many people do not realize, however, that Taiwan was not a part of China at that time. Although the Tongmenghui had the odd Taiwanese member -- Weng Chun-ming (翁俊銘), for example -- the fact is that there is only the most tenuous of ties between Taiwan and the Xinhai Revolution. Differently put, Taiwan was not part of the founding of the Republic of China.

For any Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) supporter who remains unconvinced, try this: Why would Japan allow one of its colonies to participate in the founding of a neighboring state? If you're still not convinced, then ponder this: If Taiwan really was part of the ROC founding, then why wasn't Taiwan listed as part of the ROC's territory in the precursor to theConstitution, the "5/5 draft" which was announced by the ROC government on May 5, 1936, and finalized as the ROC Constitution on Sept. 25, 1946?

The ROC that originally did not include Taiwan collapsed in late 1949 as the result of the communist revolution. Its exile government escaped to Taiwan, a place which didn't even participate in the founding of the country but was now commandeered as ROC territory. It's not very strange that Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) said in a meeting in his Yangming Villa on March 13, 1950, that: "Late last year, the Republic of China perished as a result of the degeneration of the Mainland, and today we are the people of a perished nation."

The situation that arises when a country that no longer exists brings its national title, flag, constitution and system to use in a place that wasn't even part of the founding of that state is abnormal, regardless of whether we ar talking about Taiwan or the Republic of China. This is also the reason the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been discussing its "normal country" resolution.

Commenting on the resolution, however, KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that, "I don't think there's anything abnormal about the Republic of China."

But there aren't too many perished states around that have brought their national title, flag, constitution and system to a place that wasn't even part of the state's founding. So if you say there's nothing abnormal about that, then you are probably the one that is a bit abnormal.

What Taiwanese feel is a contradiction and it makes us feel awkward because when we are celebrating our national day, we are celebrating the national holiday of a perished state.

With Ma and his supporters thinking that the ROC is completely normal, they should be happy that the government -- which happens to think that the ROC is not normal -- is celebrating the ROC's national day at all. But instead, pan-blue politicians dressed up in red on last year's national day celebrations and stirred up a ruckus.

Now there are reports that they are planning the same thing again this year. With such behavior, only a fool would believe them when they profess to deeply identify with Taiwan.

Pan-blue supporters often ask pan-green politicians why they would want to be president of the ROC or ROC legislators. There's a simple reply to that: Would you prefer the old system be overturned in a violent revolution?

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