Sun, Oct 15, 2017 - Page 6 News List

The ROC represents a ‘hybrid’ stage

By Paul Lin 林保華

Celebrating Taiwan’s Double Ten National Day is the best way to counter China’s assertion that “Taiwan is not a country and will never be a country.” Unlike Hong Kong, Taiwan is an independent, sovereign nation, which is why it does not need to invite representatives from Beijing to preside over a “regional” national day celebration.

However, Taiwan’s National Day celebrations are far from perfect, just like the national flag and the national anthem.

Having grown up in China, I would be a political fraud if I claimed to belong to either those who call themselves naturally pro-Taiwanese independence, because they have only known Taiwan as an independent country, or those who have suddenly turned pro-independence.

In 1976, I left China for Hong Kong, in essence because I rejected the People’s Republic of China. I instead identified with the Republic of China (ROC), which I saw as belonging to the free world. In other words, I embraced the idea of “two Chinas.”

At the time, I held no feeling of antipathy toward the ROC, because then-president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) was opposed to communism, while his successor, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), took the country down the path of “localization” and democracy.

As I then saw it, Lee’s election as the country’s first-ever directly elected president in 1996 heralded the beginning of the country’s “second republic.”

For this reason, during my time in Hong Kong, I held a favorable impression of Taiwan, often wrote articles for Taiwanese newspapers and was identified as having a “Taiwanese background” by China’s Xinhua news agency.

In 1995, I visited Taiwan as part of a delegation of Hong Kong news commentators. During a dialogue with the Taiwan Association of University Professors, I stated “respect for the choice that Taiwanese make for their future.”

They replied that it was the first time they had heard someone from Hong Kong say such a thing.

I am fairly certain that other members of the delegation who subscribed to China’s “Southern Study” political faction reported my comments to Xinhua, as my Home Return Permit was promptly revoked by Beijing.

My feelings toward the ROC’s National Day celebrations have vacillated over time. When the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) pro-localization faction and the Democratic Progressive Party are in government, I feel more of an affinity with the celebrations. This is because there is a chance that the country will change its official name.

Conversely, when the KMT’s pro-Chinese faction is in charge, I feel a level of resentment toward the celebrations due to the party’s collusion with Beijing as a means to control Taiwan.

Today, President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) policy of maintaining the “status quo” and substantive domestic reform has lead Beijing to assert that Tsai is pro-independence. Meanwhile, some deep green members of her party are critical of Tsai and compare her unfavorably with former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). The reason for this gulf in opinion is fascinating.

The Chinese Communist Party’s 19th National Congress is to begin on Wednesday. Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), who has been in power for five years, will lean on his security services to crush any dissenting voices. He also has yet to eliminate the last vestiges of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin’s (江澤民) power base.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top