The Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) political slogans following its arrival in Taiwan can be divided into a dozen different categories following the political developments over time.
Following the retreat to Taiwan, the Chiang Kai-shek (
Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was being assisted by the Soviet Union, Chiang labeled the CCP "Russian underlings." Anti-communism and opposition to the Soviet Union made up the basis for all political slogans throughout the 1950s and 1960s. These slogans also included "kill Zhu [De (朱德), a communist military leader] and pull out Mao [Zedong (毛澤東])] -- a word play on the saying "kill the pig to pull out its hairs" -- "exterminate the traitors Zhu and Mao" and "bring down Soviet imperialism and exterminate Zhu's and Mao's gang of bandits."
There were also slogans of the kind "avenge humiliation and restore the nation," "return my rivers and mountains" and "recover our nation's territory." These are all archaic concepts that see the country as private property and promote the idea that the only way to avoid losing the country is that "I" -- in this case the party or the ruler -- control the government.
"Remember Ju" was an attempt to encourage the people of Taiwan to help the Chiang regime retake China by appealing to a 2,300 year-old-story about how Tian Dan (
Slogans like "long live President Chiang," "be loyal to the leader" and "obey the leader" stressed that it was necessary for everyone to be loyal to Chiang in order to complete the historic mission to "exterminate the communist bandits and drive out the Russian bandits" and "avenge humiliation and restore the nation." After Chiang's death, the slogans morphed into, "always remember the leader" and "respectfully obey the leader's instructions."
Then there were military slogans, like "doctrine, leader, country, responsibility, honor." Note that "leader" precedes "country."
In order to prevent communist spies from infiltrating Taiwan and wreaking havoc, the Chiang regime placed the utmost importance on maintaining secrecy and combatting spies. At the time, "maintain secrecy and prevent spies," "it is everyone's responsibility to expose spies" and similar slogans could be found on every street corner.
"Revive Chinese culture": When Mao launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966 and attacked traditional culture, Chiang responded by launching a movement to rejuvenate Chinese culture in Taiwan. Appealing to Chinese nationalism, Chiang saw the communists as traitors to the Chinese nation.
In the late 1960s, friction appeared in the relationship between China and the Soviet Union, and in 1969, a border clash occurred over the Damanski or Chenpao island. As the nationalism of the CCP grew stronger, the KMT's anti-communist and anti-Soviet slogans began to be separated, and by the 1970s, anti-Soviet slogans had disappeared all together, making the label "traitor" given to the CCP awkward. This instead led to slogans like "No compromise in the anti-communist stance, struggle is the only way to freedom" and "patriotism requires anti-communism, anti-communism requires unity."
With the gradual relocation of Taiwan independence leaders from Japan to the US from the 1970s onward, their membership ranks grew and the KMT began to link Taiwan independence with communist bandits in slogans like "Taiwanese independence proponents are fellow travelers of the communist bandits," "Taiwan independence is poison for Taiwan" (
By the 1980s, the era when the US provided the main support had passed while the hope of launching a military counterattack against China had already been abandoned in the joint communique issued by Chiang and US secretary of state John Foster Dulles on Oct. 23, 1958. The Greater China concept, however, was innate to the government, which therefore quickly came up with, "Use the three people's principles to unify China" and similar slogans while earlier slogans about counterattacking China passed into history.
In the 1970s, the Chiang regime's international standing began to deteriorate following the expulsion from the UN in 1971 and the US shifting diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. These were the reasons behind slogans like, "solemnly and righteously strengthen the nation, and remain calm in adversity," which were aimed at comforting the general public.
Historians often say that history is a constant dialogue between present and past, and that by looking at the present, we can see what came before.
The extension in the present of the Chiang regime is the pan-blue camp, and it has continued introducing even greater changes.
The past vow to exterminate the communist bandits has been transformed into the pan-blue camp's "joining hands with China to suppress Taiwan independence," while the past promise to "avenge humiliation and restore the nation" has turned into the present pandering to China.
In the past, the people of Taiwan were urged to be loyal to and always remember the "leader." Today, the pan-blue camp has turned its back on its old leaders' anti-communist stance and instead goes out of its way to humiliate national leaders.
In the past, we were told to maintain secrecy and prevent spies, while the actions of the pan-blue leadership now seem to adhere to the standards of the past communist bandits.
In the past, we were told to "solemnly and righteously strengthen the nation, and remain calm in adversity," while pan-blue leaders now meet China's military threat by opposing arms purchases and singing Taiwan's demise.
In the past, Taiwan independence proponents were called fellow travelers of the communist bandits, while today's pan-blue leaders travel to Beijing to stand together with China's leadership.
Lee Hsiao-feng is a history professor at Shih Hsin University.
Translated by Perry Svensson