Calendar aims to raise pro-localization consciousness

By Su Chin-feng and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Fri, Nov 02, 2012 - Page 5

With 2013 around the corner, the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign has produced a calendar in an effort to strengthen pro-localization consciousness and make Taiwanese history more widely known.

The numbers 908 — signifying the date on which the San Francisco Peace Treaty was signed — are included in the pro-Taiwan independence organization’s name because founder and convener Peter Wang (王獻極) believes that Japan gave up its rights of governance over Taiwan but made no mention of who it ceded control to, making Taiwan a sovereign country that is, in Wang’s words, temporarily and unlawfully occupied by the “Republic of China government-in-exile.”

The campaign’s Greater Taichung branch — in what it says was an attempt to highlight the pro-China attitude of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration — said it wanted to reinforce Taiwan’s pro-local consciousness, leading to the making and printing of the calendars.

The first batch of 2,000 produced by the branch have been quickly snapped up, the group said, adding that a second batch of 2,000 is on the verge of being sold out too.

The pictures used to illustrate each month in the calendar are all symbols of Taiwan, such as Yushan (玉山), the Formosan black bear and the Taiwan lily.

The Taiwan lily and Formosan black bear are both endemic to Taiwan, while Yushan is the nation’s highest mountain.

The calendar also includes major events from Taiwanese history in the corresponding month in which they took place, such as the occupations of Taiwan by the Netherlands, the Qing Dynasty, the Japanese Empire and the Republic of China government.

The calendar also features other significant national dates, such as the 228 Massacre and the Lin Family Massacre in February, while March 18 is also highlighted as the date of the first transfer of power from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to the Democratic Progressive Party in 2000.

The 228 Massacre refers to a brutal crackdown following an uprising in February 1947 against Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) KMT, which left tens of thousands dead and led to a nearly four-decade-long period of martial law.

The Lin Family Massacre refers to the death of the mother and young twin daughters of democracy activist Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄), then on trial for his involvement in the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident.

The murders are suspected to have been the work of government intelligence operatives, but the case remains unsolved.

Chang Chih-mei (張志梅), a social activist, said the calendar was in essence a truncated version of Taiwan’s modern history.

Chang said that the calendar has received great feedback since going on sale, adding that he had given many as gifts to pro-local organizations.

“They all said it was a great idea and wanted to reprint it to give to others,” Chang said.

As the purpose of the calendar is to promote pro-localization ideas, they belong to every Taiwanese, the group said, adding that it welcomes any organization that wants to reprint the calendar for distribution.