Beijing Should Acknowledge the Existence of the Republic of China
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 11, 2011
Summary: On Taiwan, the Republic of China government celebrated the Centennial of the Republic of China. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Strait, the Beijing authorities celebrated the Centennial of the Xinhai Revolution, on a massive scale. Unfortunately, despite repeated calls from President Ma, the Beijing authorities still refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Republic of China.
Full Text Below:
On Taiwan, the Republic of China government celebrated the Centennial of the Republic of China. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Strait, the Beijing authorities celebrated the Centennial of the Xinhai Revolution, on a massive scale. Unfortunately, despite repeated calls from President Ma, the Beijing authorities still refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Republic of China.
Hsu Cho-yun is a member of the Academia Sinica. On the 99th anniversary of the Republic of China, Hsu recalled the Xinhai Revolution. He wrote: "A century of bitterness, a century of frustration, a century of hobbled progress. Endless foreign aggression, everyone wants to take a bite out of this beached whale. Endless civil strife, groups with different convictions struggle to take control of China. People are driven to war. People are trampled into the dust."
Foreign aggression and civil strife constantly wracked the Republic of China. But a new era has begun. The Republic of China is now one hundred years old. We who are alive at the moment can trace the history of our predecessors by their blood and tears, and the all too real suffering endured by our nation and our people. When we behold our nation's flag, few remember that our nation's flag was made from the blood of martyrs.
The Republic of China government relocated its capital from the Mainland Region to the Taiwan Region. It overcame repeated obstacles, It endured repeated failures. It underwent countless crises. It eventually found its footing while on Taiwan. On the economic front, it implemented land reform and the ten great construction projects. Taiwan's economic miracle stunned the world. On the educational front, it promoted Mandarin education and nine year national education. Today, it is about to implement twelve year national education. On the political front, it instituted open primary elections and the comprehensive re-election of the Legislature, It implemented direct presidential elections and the constitutional transfer of power. It underwent a quiet revolution. It free and orderly democracy is like the air and water on Taiwan, These are the Republic of China's most cherished assets. These are the pride of Chinese people the world over.
Go back one hundred years, to the 1911 Revolution, led by Sun Yat-sen. Go back to the establishment of China's first democratic republic. The Republic of China government still retains effective control over Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu. The universal values of its revolutionary fathers still hold sway on Taiwan. The Republic of China shattered feudal imperial rule. It returned power to the people. It implemented party politics.
This is an important moment in history. The Chinese mainland endured a half-century of conflict. The central government and local governments have gone all out to celebrate the Centennial of the Xinhai Revolution, A wave of "republic fever" has swept over the people. Everywhere people are engaging in "republic research" as a reflection of their "republic day" nostalgia. It matters not whether they celebrate the Centennial of the Xinhai Revolution or the Centennial of the Republic of China, They share a common historical memory and historical understanding. But the most important question is whether the two sides can use this shared historical foundation to find a common solution for the future? We may be required to once again proceed down the long road of history. But the most important first step must be taken by Beijing. Beijing must acknowledge the existence of the Republic of China. The Republic of China has endured for a century. It is still here. It will continue to be here for the forseeable future.
The Centennial of the Republic of China is also the Centennial of the successful Xinhai Revolution. The Xinhai Revolution was the cause. The Republic of China was the effect. The historical trajectory is clear. It cannot be denied. The Xinhai Revolution was an historical event that exists in the past. It can be commemorated. But the Republic of China is a hard fact that exists in the present. It must be acknowledged.
President Ma said that perhaps the two sides are currently unable to recognize each other, but they can at least refrain from repudiating each other. The existence fo the Republic of China is a hard fact. It cannot be denied. The Republic of China government has ceased using the term, "Period of Communist Rebellion." It concedes that the Beijing authorities have effective jurisdiction over the Chinese mainland. The two sides have taken key steps towards opening up communications and the peaceful and stable development of cross-Strait relations. We must not attempt to turn back the clock. As we look back over the past one hundred years, we see that the two sides have endured much hardship. The Chinese mainland underwent the three antis and five antis campaigns and the Cultural Revolution. Today its is a major power on the ascendant, No one wants to revisit past suffering.
Cross-Strait civil sector exchanges are varied and intimate. Calls to "retake the mainland" or "liberate Taiwan" are ancient history. After years of separation and confrontation, the Republic of China has become the most important umbilical cord and blood tie linking Taiwan to the Chinese mainland. The Republic of China has flourished on Taiwan. But it cannot deny its historical origins on the Chinese mainland. This link has intricately linked Taiwan to the Chinese mainland, making its ties difficult to cut.
"From a rocky start, right up until today, Chinese people everywhere are finally making a decent living. But the two sides continue to confront each other. The two sides are both plagued by ethnic strife. New problems such as the gap between rich and poor, environmental damage, rampant materialism, and confusion over values press in from all sides, and threaten future problems. People grow old awaiting the Millennium, hoping to enjoy a time of peace, They hope their successors will pursue the same dreams. One generation follows the next. Eventually they will witness the advent of Universal Harmony." These were the words of Hsu Cho-yun. This was the previous generation's hope. There is not reason why it should not be the next generation's dream.
We are fortunate to occupy a critical moment in history. We must cherish it. We must seize it. We must ensure a variety of possible futures. The Republic of China is the political choice of the public on Taiwan. It provides emotional sustenance for the public on Taiwan. Any attempt to harm the Republic of China or repudidate the existence of the Republic of China, will only harm the common interests of both sides of the Taiwan Strait. The Republic of China is celebrating its centennial. It is time the Beijing authorities redefined cross-Strait relations. The Republic of China has endured for one hundred years. We patiently await the moment when both sides can simultaneously shout, "Happy Birthday, Republic of China!"