Fri, Oct 13, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Double Ten celebrations mix history and reality

By Lee Min-yung 李敏勇

On Double Ten National Day the Republic of China (ROC) was celebrated in the square in front of the Japanese colonial-era gubernatorial palace, now revamped into the Presidential Office Building. It is a confused scene that mixes history and reality year after year.

Although there is a rainbow on the horizon, the question of Taiwan’s statehood is difficult and has yet to be overcome. The shared problem is that of a state that exists in practice, but has been saddled with a forced name.

On Oct. 1, 1949, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) replaced the ROC and a new China saw the light of day.

As the ROC occupied Taiwan on behalf of the Allied powers, the fragmented remains of the ROC continued to exist in Taiwan, allowing Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), at the time no longer acting president, to once again take control of the ROC and resume his presidency in Taiwan, bringing it into the party-state era.

A REGULAR NATION

This is the tragic post-war history of Taiwan that has been perpetuated to this day.

In the early days after the war, from the 228 Incident on Feb. 28, 1947, to the White Terror era, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime under Chiang took advantage of the Cold War, and some Chinese and local elite working for the renewal and protection of Taiwan were either ignored or punished.

When China replaced the ROC at the UN, Chiang’s regime was not focused on Taiwan, where the ROC existed, and it missed the opportunity to become a regular nation in Taiwan, unlike North Korea and South Korea, or East and West Germany, which managed to maintain respective UN seats as regular countries.

The opportunity to have a state in Taiwan was blocked by the ROC discourse, at the same time humiliating the proponents of the ROC.

POLITICAL TRANSITION

The Chiang regime set up an empty ROC shell on Taiwan, which was not even part of the ROC at its foundation, becoming a parasite in Taiwan that had no wish to create a new life.

The result was that — despite the Kaohsiung Incident, Taiwan’s democratization, direct presidential elections and the KMT being kicked out of government — the PRC continued to see the ROC as a predecessor state that had to be taken over.

Some ROC proponents that arrived in Taiwan with Chiang and his KMT regime were concerned about the democratic transition of the ROC.

They ignored that the ROC had been vanquished by the PRC and had taken a hostile approach to democratization and the new democratic government.

RIGHT APPROACH

The ROC is the ROC Made in Taiwan, but some people still prefer the China represented by the PRC.

We all know that Taiwanese who came from China, or those who came to Taiwan after World War II, are already Taiwanese.

Facing the PRC’s threat to Taiwan is humiliating and it should have resulted in the formation of a shared community, but that has not happened.

If Taiwan’s so-called “glorious October” and “national day celebrations” are not approached in their historical and current context, the result will only be a confused celebration.

The PRC is China and Taiwan has been shackled with the ROC version of China, an empty, fictitious existence, ridiculed both from a historic and a current perspective.

Any talk about a “glorious October” and “national day celebrations” is either too solemn or too superficial.

Lee Min-yung is a poet.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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