Celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China (ROC) are ongoing, so why do I say Taiwanese should wise up and muster the courage to get over the whole ROC issue? There is a long list of reasons, but I will only cite a few here.
First, the ROC has never gained the recognition of the international community, which recognizes only “one China” — that is, the administration in Beijing as the sole legitimate government of China. This decision was made in October 1971, when the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2758.
The international community refers to us as Taiwan and not the ROC. If we want Taiwan to become a country, we should use the word “Taiwan” at all times to refer to ourselves, and not “Chinese Taipei,” which means “Taipei that belongs to China.” Nor should we have a national title that includes the name “China,” because the international community has no idea what the “ROC” means.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration are focused on eventual unification with China and making the 100 years of ROC history part of Chinese history, just like the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. If Taiwan continues to be associated with the ROC, it will become a part of China. Even worse, both the governments of the ROC and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) support the idea that Taiwan is a part of China and accept the “one China” principle.
I hope that we and our children and grandchildren will not have to continue to live in this fictional ROC. Many Taiwanese cannot even name the capital of the ROC, which Ma would probably tell us is in Nanjing. Few Taiwanese have ever visited this so-called “capital” of their “republic.” Nor is there a need to say that the ROC’s territory includes the two UN members of the PRC and Mongolia.
It is rather embarrassing when people use the phrase wo guo (我國, our country) and talk about the vastness of the nation’s territory. Small wonder many Taiwanese still look down on their homeland and view the place where they grew up as a “small island.”
“The ROC” is not a nation built by us or our ancestors. It is therefore no wonder that the people of Taiwan have been forced to defer to the ROC officials that came over after World War II or any official that China sends over.
Our ancestors had to live through the 228 Massacre and the White Terror era, but now the government is using its resources to protect the safety and dignity of visiting Chinese officials. This is all happening because we were forced to accept a prefabricated government and have had to embrace a nation that we had no part whatsoever in building.
Chen Wen-hsien is a professor at National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of History.
TRANSLATED BY DREW CAMERON