Does the ROC have a future?

Cihu mausoleum is often packed with Chinese people.

A few are now at Cihu park.

Years ago I read a piece from some KMT hack proving that CKS was not a dictator- he objected to his pictures and statues appearing everywhere, but gosh darn it, people kept putting them up, so how could he be a dictator if people if he couldn’t get people to follow his wishes on this?

That’s been my experience so far today. :slight_smile:

This page should contain a pic of one on Zhongzhu Island, a little less than midway down the page:

This one’s in Beitou (I guess; I actually got Google-Maps-lost looking for it):

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Belgium (which is of course, pretty much a non-country)

Sorry to revisit this, but it seems to have persisted as an issue:

Some time in the period 2003-2004, when I was in Miaoli County, a person told me that in order to get Internet service, I would have to get it co-signed by “a Chinese.”

Other than that instance, I’m trying to think of any time when I’ve heard anyone here in Taiwan–kids or grownups–say that they were Chinese, or use the word Chinese to describe people who live here. I’m not saying that I never again heard that word in that context–maybe I did–but if I did, how is it that I only remember that one time? In my experience, if the matter ever comes up, people here usually say they are Taiwanese.

Someone may counter by noting all the entities that bear the word Chinese or China. Of course I see those things, and while I’ve learned to look past them, they still strike me (however faintly) as anomalous, like the vestigial evidence of the British presence in Ireland.

It almost seems as if you’re suggesting we ignore the evidence of our senses. I no longer think it’s possible to persuade you that we’re not just a bunch of “projecting” foreigners, so the below is mainly to remind others:


Is this a troll? {sigh} I’ve spent time in Belgium, and actually, the Belgiums while divided internally have a strong sense of national identity. This is definitely a result of having fought two wars to defend their independence. They fought bravely.

I made a bold thesis statement to stimulate discussion, and there’s no need to apologise for re-visiting the topic, which can be looked at from different angles. Look, Taiwanese people are mostly from China historically. They speak a variety of Chinese. They follow Chinese folk religion and Buddhism. I could go on. Although I’m open to being persuaded that the ROC project on Taiwan was a colonial occupation, it would not have been the first colonial occupation here. I too find all those references to “Datong” and so on a bit jarring, but every Taiwanese person here has got a Chinese name. Those of us who know both China and Taiwan see all the connections.
Identity politics in Taiwan is reactive; Taiwanese consciousness is a reaction to the CCP’s intimidation and the crimes of the KMT military dictatorship. However, to really get a strong national identity, the Taiwanese must figure out who they want to be, what they stand for, and then fight.
It’s my observation that many foreigners, particularly Americans, equate Taiwan’s struggle vis-a-vis China with America versus Britain (and other cases such as Ireland), a projection in my view. There again, the future is made not given, and Taiwan’s sense of a distinct identity is growing. Statues can be removed, but I think the ROC goes deeper in Taiwan than some appreciate, and remains part of a contested identity.

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Maybe up north. Guanxi and lip service to those who had sticky fingers for 70 years might explain your sentiment. I have a Welsh family name doesn’t tie me to that province any more than my wife’s family name ties her to China.

There is a significant north-south divide here. But hey, Koxinga was a Chinese prince! His statue outside Tainan railway station is a rather new addition. I think it replaced one of CKS if my memory serves me right :slight_smile:

We need to remember that the Chinese national identity is a fairly new thing, too, created by the ROC. For most of its history, China was an empire and a culture, but not really a national state in the modern sense.

Everything you said applies to New Zealand, Australia, or Canada as well (barring what was known as “the French fact” in the case of Canada), substituting “Britain” and 'British" for “China” and “Chinese”.

Hell, the first Canadian passport I got said inside “A Canadian citizen is a British subject.” In elementary school we used to alternate “God Save the Queen” with “O Canada”. I remember the outrage from some of British descent (e.g. my grandfather and aunts and uncles) when the Maple Leaf flag replaced the Red Ensign (Australia and New Zealand still have the Union flag as part of their own flag; New Zealand recently rejected a replacement in a referendum, though mostly because the proposed new flag looked godawful). We couldn’t even amend our own Constitution without asking the British House of Lords until 1982.
Luckily. our ex-colonial power wasn’t much bigger and more powerful, sitting right next door, and threatening to invade us if we changed any of our symbols.


Interestingly it also applies to Quebec—but in its case, in relation to the imperial power of France.

As the late great scholar Benedict Anderson liked to point out, Taiwan’s case is NOT exceptional but is instead consistent with the form of nationalism (he calls it “creole nationalism”) that has developed in settler states around the world.

Chinese nationalism, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish . . .


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@MikeN1, @afterspivak I can see why you make these comparisons, and there are some similarities (Texas is another one that comes to mind), but at the end of the day, there are as many differences as similarities. The white settler countries never hosted a British government in exile. The obvious difference that one of you mentioned after me is that Taiwan is small and right next to China. It would be nice if Taiwan could enjoy a UK-New Zealand type of relationship with China, but that is not what’s on offer. And it’s interesting, isn’t it, that the Head of State of Canada, New Zealand, and Australia is still the British monarch, which only goes to show how enduring cultural ties can be (and how adaptable Britain was in decline. China is not in decline at the present time.)

I presume you are unfamiliar with the history of the Empire Loyalists?

Of course each case is different. But it’s also silly to presume that the actually existing phenomenon of Taiwan nationalism somehow exists outside the world, in some vacuum unrelated to developments elsewhere.

China likes to think it is super special though, so enthusiasts of Chinese nationalism (not my cup of tea) will continue to present themselves as exceptional in the world.


That’s yet another case that is similar in some tangential way, but actually very different. The world context for explaining Taiwan’s predicament are not the cases you mention, but the Cold War, the Chinese Civil War, the ROC, and contemporary Chinese nationalism. These are the key reference points. It’s irrelevant whether you like them or not. You, and some other well-intentioned but unrealistic foreigners (I presume) are projecting your desires onto Taiwan, but it’s not really about you :slight_smile:

Well yeah. For one thing, the Empire Loyalists were not led by Chiang Kai-shek! :roll_eyes:

My point is NOT that these situations are identical. Of course they aren’t—anyone can see that. My point is that Taiwan nationalism is actually a thing (sorry if it eludes you as you chase down statues of Sun Yat-sen erected in Taiwan during the dictatorship era). Barring PRC imperialist adventure, it will prevail as the specific conditions that produced Chinese nationalism on Taiwan are evaporating.

Btw, your statement that “it’s not about you” is no doubt strictly accurate, as nationalism is of course a collective project—it’s not about individuals. And the collective project I am seeing—at the state level and among young people—is not the Sun statue chasing project that seems to fascinate you.

Bye for now!


PS I completely agree with this point—the emergence of Chinese nationalism is a late 19th century / early 20th century phenomenon.

Try explaining it to an actually existing Chinese nationalist though. They will insist that no, it’s a timeless ancient thing extending far into the distant past! :grin:


For Taiwan, I desire the maintenance of (1) self-government and (2) basic rights. To the PRC those two are irrelevant.

That’s for me to decide.

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Always figured Jiang Zemin missed a big opportunity to… restore the Chinese Empire!
It was his only chance to go down in history- even the propagandists of the Chinese government couldn’t pretend he was a deep theorist (Jiang Zemin Thought?). He could declare PRC as main part, Taiwan, HK, Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia as subordinate but independent regimes.

Really? Only you ever entertained such a thought, another case of projection. The CCP is a hardcore Marxist-Leninist organisation that conceptualises the world into “inside” and “outside”. They fear the outside, or other. The PRC Constitution guarantees all rights to minorities, only the CCP pays no attention because there is no judicial check. Only today I read of relocations of Tibetan nomads in eastern Tibet to make way for a military corridor on the border. The now defunct provincial ROC government in Taiwan had fairly good relations with Taiwan’s indigenous peoples, albeit for self-interested reasons.