Does the ROC have a future?

It seems an offhand question, but actually, I think it may be important. Recently, I asked a number of Taiwanese people, including some educated types, what the Three Principles of the People were. Not one of them could give a full and correct answer. “ROC” has come off the passport. What next? Yet the existence of Taiwan as a separate and de facto independent political entity is indelibly entwined with the ROC idea. I feel some aspects of ROC political-economic culture were important to Taiwan’s development and may have still have utility. Or should Taiwan forget the ROC legacy and become more like S. Korea / Japan, which seems to be the trend anyway.

The ROC is words printed on paper that nobody believes. The country has already been set up to the point where Taiwan is ready to succeed it and nothing would change except for the ROC being crossed out and Taiwan put in its place.


Yup. Unless it officially gives up the idea of RoC, nothing is going to change. Taiwan doesn’t exist officially only RoC does. And no-one recognizes that as a country.

It may seem like that, but I don’t think it’s quite so simple in reality. There are plenty of people in Taiwan who feel a sense of loyalty to the ROC, including many in the military establishment…but I’m really talking about the national/socialist aspects of the ROC that benefitted everyone in Taiwan and have been rolled back under the DDP/Tsai Ing-Wen. Teacher’s pensions, for example. And a lot of communal/public infrastructure that is in danger of being privatsed. Another aspect is the fact that Taiwan post '49 offered an alternative political model, “Free China.” If the ROC is sublimated then so is the democratic Republican model for China?

A fresh start? Forget about the China connection?

Why not ? They are the ones who keep saying we’re Taiwanese not Chinese. So why keep that in your official name ? Why keep claiming the mainland officially in the constitution? It doesn’t make sense.


Why is that woman officially married to that man? Why doesn’t she leave? Why doesn’t she ignore that gun in her face?

It doesn’t make sense!

I dare you to show me that you will defy someone at gunpoint.

This is a quote from Sex and the City:

“How can you have a future, when your past is still in your present?”

Wise words from Carrie

EDIT: I was quoting from memory. “Can you get a future if your past is present?” is correct.


They started off as renegade. Invading the original inhabitants of the island. Japan too has ruled over the island. But the incoming KMT seized power over the island. Lost the civil

Taiwan has done well only because of US and western support for the past 60 years AND because China was weak. Both those are not valid today.

So it’s time for RoC to choose. If they don’t want to do things officially no one is gonna bother helping them.


Again, have you tried doing anything facing the barrel of a gun?

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I’d say US’ implicit support is still crucial to the existence of Taiwan as an independent entity.
During the Cold Wat, it was the ROC versus PRC, not Taiwan. Taiwan consciousness only came into play after 1979, when the US officially de-recognised the ROC. The US is not keen on Taiwan independence for obvious reasons but will stand up for its old ally, the ROC…on Taiwan. What a mess! Can the ROC stop at year 110? Wouldn’t that be, erm, a loss of face? After all the ROC pre-dated the PRC.

And while we’re at it, it’s time Taiwan to switch away from the emperor 3-digit year to the proper 4-digit year system!

Lose all the faces you want!! Change the system and be done with it.


That didn’t benefit everyone, just teachers and public servants, loyal to the KMT.

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Not everyone who benefitted from KMT policies supported the KMT, and the KMT did not always act out of self-interest.


Taiwan cannot change the ROC without a war, so if that is the case it should be maintained and co-opted. Which is what is happening. It does have a future, as a useful legal figment.
Whatever we want to call it Taiwan ROC, the ROC on Taiwan. It doesn’t really matter. The nature of the ROC has fundamentally changed over the years.


Business as usual then. Keep the ROC calendars in post offices and libraries and hope for the best? “Chiang Kai-Shek” Memorial forever?

Move it into the background. Taiwanese it…
I think the busts and all that old stuff should be removed from the schools, I don’t like the rigid military/dictatorship aspects of the ROC. That should all be ditched.


Agree wholeheartedly about military dictatorship crap. It was and is unhealthy.

But what about the Three Principles? I don’t think anyone is quite catching my point. Sun Yat-Sen was a philosopher and wanted to build a fair society. Some of the statues you refer to have the slogan “Tian Xia Wei Gong” on them, which means roughly speaking that the land and resources belong to everyone. If you go to the ROC martyrs shrine in Zhongshan you will see many busts including one honouring the commander of Taiyuan City, the last city to fall to the communists in '49. He and a bunch of others committed suicide rather than surrender. That stuff is still meaningful in my view. The ideology of the ROC, while corrupted by the dictatorship, had value; it informed policy. Ideology in Taiwan now is hidden because it’s based on the principle of greed.

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Because the version of the ROC in Taiwan was a martial law dictatorship. Taiwan has moved on under modern democratic principles already. Now we just get value from not changing it in the constitution. That’s about it!
If China wants to rebuild an ROC well…good luck.
If China did reform to adhere to a democratic version of the ROC Taiwan should sign up as part of a federal state. But it’s not going to happen is it.

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