Sunday, October 09, 2011

Rounding up 100 years of the ROC

Lots of reportage on tomorrow's ROC centennial.... AP from Beijing reports that Hu called for annexation as "reunification" on the occasion of the ROC's 100th.
"Achieving reunification by peaceful means best serves the fundamental interests of all Chinese, including our Taiwan compatriots," Hu said, adding that the sides should increase economic competitiveness, promote Chinese culture and build on a sense of a common national identity.
AP went on to say that Hu has moderated China's rhetoric. Wouldn't it have been nice if the article had been balanced with the reality that China's military threat to Taiwan grows daily and Hu's remarks are just words (his underlings will publicly and privately apply threats, following the classic pattern of underlings doing the dirty work while the Great Man practices benevolence). When China actually offers peace and disbands its forces facing Taiwan, those words will actually mean something.

AFP's Benjamin Yeh reports from Taipei on the memories of centenarians and the ROC history. A nifty approach:
Liu and Yu fled to Taiwan in 1949, in a hasty retreat that forced both of them to leave behind their wives, because they had fought on the losing Nationalist side in a civil war that brought the Communists to power.

While the two sides have reconciled somewhat, the continued political division between them is testimony to the violence of the conflict that ended 62 years ago. And old enmities die slowly.

"My father had had dozens of acres of land, but all was stolen by the Chinese communists. You just don't know how bad they were," 100-year-old Liu said.
Old enmities may die slowly, but wouldn't it have been great if the article had mentioned that the real issue between Taiwan and China isn't a few centenarians and their hatred of the Communists, but the majority of people who want a free and independent Taiwan? And that the "two sides" are the KMT and the CCP? Taiwan and China have not "reconciled somewhat".

But then there is AP from Taiwan, whose presentation captures this aspect that the others do not. Way to go, AP!
Public interest in the centenary is lukewarm. While most Taiwanese don't want to come under China's control, they also don't see the events of 100 years ago as particularly relevant to their future. The media have barely acknowledged a series of heavily promoted government events in the run-up to Monday's ceremonies, and the big day looks likely to pass with a minimum of fanfare — no more, at any rate, than in other years.

Leading the ranks of the disinterested is the opposition, which remembers with horror the martial law dictatorship that Chiang brought from the mainland — it persisted until 1987 — and associates it directly with the Republic of China.

The opposition's main constituents are descendants of people who migrated from the mainland in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many of them reject any association with China in favor a culturally and politically distinct Taiwan.

"The Republic of China was forced on the Taiwanese people when the Nationalist Party came to Taiwan in 1949," says 41-year-old businessman Kuo Yen-chen of suburban Taipei.

Kuo doesn't think Taiwan will be annexed by China unless Beijing uses force. "The majority of Taiwanese do not want to become part of China," he says, "but the two will become even closer due to globalization."
The centenary is mainly of interest to locals because it is a national holiday, and thus, they can all form long lines cars as everyone goes to the same three places, all at the same time.

Much of the AP piece focuses on the prospects for China swallowing Taiwan... At 100, the title of the AP piece says, the ROC's future is uncertain. I used to think that it was doomed; either the Chinese would snuff it out, or the Taiwan independence movement would at some point, but sometimes I wonder if it is such a useful tool for annexing Taiwan to China that Beijing might struggle to preserve it for a while after it swallows the island. Cheaper than an occupation.....

In the US the Taiwan representative offices held celebrations. This piece from an Atlanta paper gives the flavor of fun and confusion (no, it's not Taiwan's 100th).
Daily Links:
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.


Guy said...

Around Taipei, I've seen t-shirts that read "Taiwan: 100 Years." With the circulation of historical nonsense like this, it's perhaps heartening that the overall response to this event has been muted.

When chatting with a friend, it occurred to me that Kinmen and Matsu are the only two places on earth that have wtnessed 100 years of the ROC.


OzSoapbox said...

I tried to get all entusiastic about this year and hauled my arse out of bed at 4:25am just to see what the fuss was about.

...only to be denied entry to the festivities when I got there.

Seriously, 20,000 foreign visitors and only a handful of locals are let in?! The Taiwanese government can go fuck themselves - the planning over this day was miserably inadequate.

Readin said...

The AP article you link to in this blog post seems to be an expanded version of the one you linked to in your previous blog post. This longer version is so much better. Three cheers for the AP!!!

Readin said...

Well actually it seems to be the same link. Did the newspaper edit some out and then put it back in?

Anonymous said...

Nice article on if you can't compete have China buy you out...good look with that strategy.