Thu, Oct 29, 2015 - Page 8 News List

In defense of the ROC — but not Taiwan

By Lin Kien-tsu 林健次

In this world there is a living entity, an island consisting of about 36,000km2 of land. This entity is home to 23 million people, all living together. We call it Taiwan.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) was recently selected to be the party’s presidential candidate, after ousting Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) as candidate.


In his acceptance speech at the party conference called especially for the nomination, Chu talked about “defending our beloved Republic of China.”

Over the course of the speech, he used the name Republic of China (ROC) a total of 11 times. Compare that with how many times he used the word Taiwan. He did not. Not a single mention.

From this, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the KMT cares not an iota about Taiwan, and certainly does not equate the ROC with Taiwan.

If it did truly love Taiwan, and if it thought that the ROC was Taiwan, then it would directly call it Taiwan, which would be clearer, nearer and dearer.

There have been many dynasties or governments in Chinese history: the Tang, the Song, the Yuan, the Ming and the Qing, to name just the ones over the past millennium. All of these have had their own systems of government.

After the Qing Dynasty, there came the ROC government and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), with their respective governments. In 1949, the ROC government and all the military personnel and government officials under it fled to Taiwan, led by former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).


Through a combination of its military force and the ROC legal system, Taiwan was ruled by martial law. Therefore, the operation of the ROC government in Taiwan is an authentic Chinese government in exile.

If Chinese people want to defend their country, they can use the phrase “defend the motherland” or “defend China.” It is unlikely they would use the term “defend the PRC.” To do so would be to raise more than 1 billion eyebrows.

Since there is a clear and concise phrase — “defend China” — why not use it? Unless the person actually means “defend the PRC government, do not let other governments overthrow it” and similar exhortations.

The KMT loves groveling to China.

So Chu did not say “defend Taiwan,” but rather chose to say “defend our beloved Republic of China.” What he actually meant by this was “do not overthrow the PRC government, but defend the rule of the ROC exiled regime in Taiwan.”

As far as the KMT elite is concerned, “defend the ROC” is like a triad code that actually means “defend the ROC government from any expropriation of its resources, obstruct transitional justice, continue to use the judicial structure for criminal complicity, cover up each others’ crimes and hide our beloved ill-gotten assets.”


The KMT also takes advantage of the nebulous and ambiguous legal relationship between the ROC government and China to hobble Taiwanese, and continue to exploit them to benefit Chinese compradors.

It can even do this to the extent of undertaking high-level military exchanges in military intelligence with the enemy and then getting off scot-free. They continue to exploit Taiwanese and enjoy all the benefits they skim from Taiwan.

Lin Kien-tsu is a former director of Tamkang University’s International Business Department.

Translated by Clare Lear

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