ROC National Flag Taken Down on Regent Street: Su Tseng-chang "Protests"
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
July 27, 2012
Summary: The Republic of China flag that was flying on London's Regent Street has been taken down. This reveals the plight of our national flag on the international stage. DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang spoke out on Facebook, saying "Those who love this country must fight for the dignity of its flag." This reveals the plight of our national flag in domesic disputes. Both provide food for thought.
Full Text below:
The Republic of China flag that was flying on London's Regent Street has been taken down. This reveals the plight of our national flag on the international stage. DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang spoke out on Facebook, saying "Those who love this country must fight for the dignity of its flag." This reveals the plight of our national flag in domesic disputes. Both provide food for thought.
The London Olympics have begun. Regent Street in downtown London is welcoming visitors. The flags of 206 participating countries line the street. The red, white, and blue flag of the Republic of China was among the flags fluttering in the breeze.
The flag flew there for three days. Republic of China citizens in the Taiwan Region were delighted but fearful. Sure enough, on the third day, their fears were confirmed. The flag was taken down. Instead, a "Chinese Taipei" Olympic Team flag was hung in its place.
The "Olympic Committee Model" is a sore spot for Republic of China citizens on Taiwan. It is also a cross-Strait time bomb. In the early years, Beijing's attitude was rude and unreasonable. It even denigrated the Republic of China flag when it was flown on Taiwan. In 2008, the Olympic torch was supposed to pass through Taiwan. But Beijing demanded that the Republic of China flag not appear along the route of the Olympic torch. Therefore the planned torch run fell through. Fortunately this led to a more rational reevaluation.
In 2009 the World Games in Kaohsiung encountered this problem. The parties reached a tacit agreement. Official events would follow the "Olympic Committee Model." But outside official venues the public would not be subject to controls or interference. Since then, on Taiwan and overseas, cross-Strait conflicts have seldom arisen over the presence of red. white, and blue ROC flags in the viewing stands. This development has been positive for cross-Strait relations, and should be affirmed.
Logically speaking, the hanging of flags on Regent Street was the responsibility of the neighborhood association. It was outside official Olympic venues. It was not put up by an official Olympic Committee entity. There should have been more latitude. Perhaps the flag was a little too eye-catching. As a result, the flag flew for only three days. This was an unfortunate development for cross-Strait relations.
The core issue for both sides is national identity. Beijing must realize that defending the flag of the Republic of China is an important part of defending a "one China, different interpretations" national identity. If the Mainland rejects the ROC national flag, it insults much of the public on Taiwan, for whom the flag is an object of reverence. Who benefits from this?
Therefore the Olympic Committee Model is best limited to official events. The 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung established a tacit understanding. Beijing should strive to abide by this understanding, in order to garner goodwill. It should avoid rubbing salt into this wound of the public on Taiwan.
Consider Su Tseng-chang's response on Facebook. He said "The ROC national flag is the symbol of the nation. Those who love this country must fight for the dignity of its flag. We must fight to ensure it a foothold."
Su Tseng-chang's words were astonishing. One netizen said "Didn't the DPP insist that only the [green and white]"yam flag" can be considered the national flag of the "Nation of Taiwan?" He said, "The DPP should display the ROC national flag at all official DPP events. Otherwise this Facebook posting is going to strike people as more than a little strange."
As everyone on Taiwan knows, Su Tseng-chang's declaration was indeed strange. The Democratic Progressive Party has long used the [green and white] "yam flag" to oppose the red, white, and blue ROC Flag. The "dang wai" movement began over 40 years ago. Since then the ROC national flag is almost never seen at DPP mass rallies. One could even say the fundamental problem with politics on Taiwan is that at DPP mass rallies one never sees a single ROC national flag.
That said, Su Tseng-chang's "defense of the flag" deserves recognition. Is the DPP truly in pain because the ROC national flag was taken down on Regent Street? If so, then why not hang the ROC national flag at DPP party headquarters? Why not fly the ROC national flag at DPP mass rallies?
The DPP is reevaluating its cross-Strait policy. It is time that the DPP reevaluated its position on national identity. Su Tseng-chang has issued his "defend the flag" statement. Hopefully this means the DPP intends to "come home to the Republic of China." Hopefully this means the DPP will defend the flag consistently.
Actually Taiwan's political problems have two causes. One, Beijing cannot tolerate the red, white, and blue ROC national flag. Two. The DPP also rejects the red, white, and blue ROC national flag. The removal of the ROC national flag on Regent Street rubbed salt into our wounds. This wound has not healed for decades. One of the main reasons is the DPP's relentless attempt to purge all traces of the Republic of China from the island, and its futile attempt to promote Taiwan independence.
Su Tseng-chang said we must seek dignity and seek a foothold for the Republic of China and the ROC national flag. If so, the public must first seek internal consensus. Everyone on Taiwan must defend the dignity of the ROC as a nation, and seek a place for the ROC national flag on the international stage. At the very least, the DPP must treat the ROC and the ROC national flag with dignity during DPP mass meetings.
The ROC national flag has been taken down on Regent Street. We protest Beijing's unreasonable and unwise attitude. Su Tseng-tsang has issued his "defend the flag" statement. We will now "listen to what he says, and watch what he does."