Elections Require Competition, Nations Require Unity
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 13, 2011
Summary: The Republic of China is one hundred years old. The Republic of China and Taiwan have become inseparable. One may advocate reunification or one may advocate Taiwan independence. But one must understand others and care for others. One must not harm others or hate others. Tsai Ing-wen wants Ma Ying-jeou to declare that "The Republic of China is Taiwan." But Tsai Ing-wen and Taiwan independence advocates must also admit that "Taiwan is [an integral part of] the Republic of China." They must also admit that is the "Taiwan consensus." Elections require competition. Nations require unity, There truly is no need to stir up differences over the Republic of China and Taiwan.
Full Text Below:
Ten minutes of fireworks, two hours of troop reviews, and the Republic of China's centennial celebration was over. This is normal for a democracy. The passage of one hundred years presents us with a rare historical opportunity. Every Republic of China citizen on Taiwan has experienced this unique moment in time. This includes DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-wen. She was not present at the National Day celebration. No matter. She attended the DPP's Tainan City flag raising ceremony. She also amended her previous assertion that "The Republic of China is a government in exile." She said the ROC is the same as Taiwan. For both Green camp advocates of Taiwan independence and Blue camp advocates of Chinese reunification, the Republic of China has become the greatest common denominator.
The course of history has never been smooth. The Republic of China has been in existence for a full century. Its capital has been transferred from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan. The Chinese mainland and Taiwan diverged but are now converging once more. The Republic of China was founded on the Chinese mainland. It had a 38 year long history on the Chinese mainland, Taiwan was then under Japanese occupation. It underwent a very different course of development. Neither course of history can be undone. Both courses co-exist. But the two sides' experience overlap as well. Assertions that the Xinhai Revolution had nothing to do with Taiwan, fly in the face of historical fact.
Tsai Ing-wen asserts that national identity on Taiwan must be confined to the Taiwan Region and the inhabitants of Taiwan. She argues that it must not be based on the Xinhai Revolution that took place 100 years ago. She says the Republic of China she recognizes, is the Republic of China after it transferred its capital to Taiwan -- or perhaps the Republic of China after the 1996 presidential election. She says watching the two sides simultaneously celebrate the Xinhai Revolution leaves her with a queasy feeling. She says the celebrations move the two sides in the direction of "one China." She says "It is alrigh to commemorate history, but not to harm Taiwan's sovereignty."
Tsai Ing-wen's objections are superfluous, Commemorating the Centennial of the Xinhai Revolution will not harm "Taiwan's sovereignty." Beijing is attempting to outdo Taipei in commemorating the 1911 Xinhai Revolution. Taipei must not allow others to speak for the Xinhai Revolution that founded the Republic of China. Tsai Ing-wen may insist that she recognizes only the post-1949 Republic of China, or the post-1996 Republic of China, or even the Republic of China that has celebrated its centennial. It makes no difference. The Republic of China exists and will continue to exist. This is indisputable fact. If Beijing views the Republic of China in a positive light, can Taipei do otherwise? At the moment the Republic of China's future is confined to the Taiwan region. Therefore this is where the smoke from the incense commemorating the sacrifices of the martyrs of the Xinhai Revolution is the thickest.
One cannot say that the Xinhai Revolution has nothing to do with Taiwan. When the Xinhai Revolution erupted, Sun Yat-sen's Revive China Society and the Tongmenhui (Chinese United League) conducted revolutionary activities on Taiwan. Taiwan business tycoons such as Liang Teh Yang Hang General Manager Wu Wen-hsiu, Yi Ho Yang Hang Sales Manager Jung Chi-nian, and business world elder Chao Man-chao, were all Revive China Society members. They donated huge sums of money to the cause. When news of the successfuf revolution broke, Penghu fisherman Chang Chi-pu sailed across the Strait to join the revolutionary troops. During the Yuan Shi-kai Restoration and the second revolution against Yuan, Revive China League members Ong Chun-ming and others went all out to raise money on Taiwan. Lin Chu-mi and others even renounced their Japanese nationality and became Republic of China citizens. They returned to Zhangzhou in Fujian Province and persuaded others to join the anti-Yuan campaign. Lin Chu-mi followed Sun Yat-sen and became the Generalissimo's military attache. Taiwanese who restored themselves to Republic of China national status include Lien Chan's grandfather Lien Ya-tang, Lin Chi-ching, Wu Chi-yu and other intellectuals.
On Taiwan a whole string of anti-Japanese democratic revolutionary movements erupted. The best known occurred between 1912 and 1914. Luo Fu-hsing organized anti-Japanese uprisings in Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan, and Hsinchu. Meanwhile, in southern and central Taiwan, in Taichung, Nantou, and Tainan, additional uprisings took place. Nine hundred and twenty-one people were arrested by the Japanese police. Those arrested were all tried by temporary courts in Miaoli. The Japanese referred to this as the Miaoli Incident.
These are all historical events. They happened. They cannot be dismissed as "reunificationist history." After the Republic of China government transferred the nation's capital to Taiwan in 1949, the 2/28 incident and the White Terror left difficult to heal wounds in the hearts of Taiwanese. They also created a rationale for pro-independence elements. The pain felt by the public on Taiwan, is an integral part of the pain visited upon the Republic of China, Both left marks on the century old Republic of China that linger until today.
Tsai Ing-wen is running for President of the Republic of China. If elected, she will become the leader of the Republic of China government. This government is the product of the Xinhai Revolution, the successful Northern Expedition that took place on the Chinese mainland, the victory against the Japanese in the War of Resistance Against japan, and the Retrocession of Taiwan to the Chinese nation. No one who runs for high office in the Republic of China, can forget the trail of blood and tears trod by predecessors. Even less can they divorce themselves from it. The Republic of China is not past tense, It is present tense. It is future tense. Some DPP leaders insist that the Republic of China is a "government in exile." Yet they eagerly and brazenly pocket Republic of China issued civil service salaries. This demonstrates how remarkably tolerant the Republic of China government on Taiwan is.
The Republic of China is one hundred years old. The Republic of China and Taiwan have become inseparable. One may advocate reunification or one may advocate Taiwan independence. But one must understand others and care for others. One must not harm others or hate others. Tsai Ing-wen wants Ma Ying-jeou to declare that "The Republic of China is Taiwan." But Tsai Ing-wen and Taiwan independence advocates must also admit that "Taiwan is [an integral part of] the Republic of China." They must also admit that is the "Taiwan consensus." Elections require competition. Nations require unity, There truly is no need to stir up differences over the Republic of China and Taiwan.