Archive for October 25th, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ma Ying-jeou: The KMT is Taiwan

Today is Retrocession Day (光复节) in Taiwan. Singapore’s Morning News (联合早报) writes that Taiwan’s ruling party, the KMT (国民党, Kuo Min Tang), will argue that it was the KMT which, as the ruling party of the Republic of China (中华民国), had recovered Taiwan from Japanese rule, and then – in president and KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou‘s (马英九) words – created Taiwan’s political and economic miracle. The KMT, also in the words of the president, would add that it was still the party which was leading the people of Taiwan to face the challenges of the 21rst century (“创造台湾经济与政治奇迹的,是国民党;如今带领台湾人民面对21世纪挑战的,还是国民党”).

The KMT argues that it had recovered Taiwan (光复台湾), defended Taiwan (保卫台湾), and reconstructed Taiwan (建设台湾).

Morning News points out that Taiwan Retrocession (台湾光复) is interpreted in completely different ways by the KMT and Taiwan’s main opposition party, the DPP (民进党, Democratic Progressive Party). The DPP criticizes the way the KMT equates the end of Japanese rule over Taiwan with a “return to China”, rather than the day when the Taiwanese were put into a position to become their own masters.

Former Taiwanese Lee Teng-hui (李登辉), Taiwan’s (or the Republic of China’s) first democratically-elected leader, diluted the role of Retrocession Day, and the DPP, when introducing two-day weekends (rather than only Sunday as a day off), scrapped Retrocession Day as a holiday and discontinued the tradition of large-scale commemorations from 2001.

Beijing, in turn, picked up the tradition in 2005 and has since emphasized the importance of Retrocession Day as a great victory of the Chinese people in the anti-Japanese war, and as Taiwan’s return into the bosom of the motherland (中国人民在这一天取得抗日战争的伟大胜利,以及台湾重新回到祖国母亲的怀抱), writes Morning News.

Taiwan’s opposition hasn’t made Retrocession Day (or its rejection of it) a big issue so far this year. But earlier this month, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁, currently jailed on what appear to be rather flimsy charges) declared that the idea that the ROC possessed sovereignty over Taiwan had to be unequivocally denied so that a new and independent country could be established in Taiwan, the KMT website quotes from unspecified newspapers.

A blogger from Taiwan, Talk Taiwan, posted some remarks on Taiwan’s legal status on Friday which describe an alternative viewpoint to the KMT’s Retrocession concept.

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Related:
Taiwan’s Unbelievable Justice, September 12, 2009
Taiwan was temporarily…, June 16, 2008
“L’état, c’est moi” , Infoplease

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