2/10/2007

May He Rest in Peace

The China Post journalists have been all over recents efforts by their government to remove the statues of Chiang Kai-shek from view. On Wednesday, their editorialists had this to say http://www.chinapost.com.tw/news/archives/editorial/200728/102007.htm:

"The DPP had bigger things in its sights, namely the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. This impressive structure was built to preserve the memory of the founder of modern Taiwan. Taiwan is still known in the West as Free China -- the same Free China Chiang preserved against all attempts to crush it. No-one cares about the DPP and their narrow, inward looking ideology. All the DPP has done for Taiwan's international reputation is to blacken it by their thuggish tactics in the Legislature.
When mainland Chinese visitors come here as tourists, they don't care about the DPP -- they want to see the history of China that has been denied them, such as Chiang's role in fighting the Japanese and the Northern Expedition that reunited China.
The "study" on which the DPP base their Cultural Revolution was nothing but a kangaroo court of scholars -- they set out to arrive at a predetermined result. Renaming the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall the 'Taiwan Democratic Memorial Hall' is an insult to all Chinese -- including the people of Taiwan. "


Several questions come to mind:
1. Isn't "Free China" an oxymoron? I for one have never heard anyone in the West refer to Taiwan as "Free China." Most people simply call it "Taiwan." I have heard older people, like my grandparents, call it "Formosa."
2. Do people in the West actually understand that "Taiwanese" people are "Chinese?" It seems to me that they are separate groups.
3. "No-one cares about the DPP and their narrow, inward looking ideology" - Isn't this why Chen is trying to emphasize Taiwanese nativism, so that people will start to care? What's the matter with being "inward looking," especially if that means celebrating your own culture?
4. Are there really "mainland Chinese visitors," who come here to learn about history "that has been denied them?" This is really quite interesting, but I've never heard about it before. I just figured they'd appreciate the island's desire to wash its hand of the Chiangs? That is after all what they did over half a century ago.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was Chiang trying to found and then preserve Taiwan against all attempts to crush it or was he hiding out, then biding his time before he could retake his beloved motherland? This is an unusual take on Taiwan. It seems now his KMT is trying to give Taiwan to the mainland more than preserve it.

May Chang said...

I don't feel insulted by how Chen Shuibian is trying to change the name. They can name it Lee Tung-hui Memorial if they need to. I always think I am walking in a strange time when I visit the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. It takes up a lot of land in Taipei, but I don't think it could be connected to me. It is a foreign kind of place to visit.

Anonymous said...

Do you have the right to publish the China Post on your Web-site? It is a copyright violation, so you should cut this article NOW.

Patrick Cowsill said...

Are you kidding me? That's why I have a blog - so I can say something about the nonsense I quoted from the paper.

Kaminoge said...

I think the last time people referred to Taiwan as "Free China" was back in the Sixties, and then it was only used by certain politicians. For the general public, the ROC was "Formosa". In any case, "Free China" seems to have disappeared from the political lexicon by the time Nixon visited Beijing in 1972.

Anonymous said...

Taiwan democracy "an insult to all Chinese." Is it democracy that is insulting or is it the idea that Taiwanese want it?

Patrick Cowsill said...

"Taiwan democracy "an insult to all Chinese." Is it democracy that is insulting or is it the idea that Taiwanese want it?"

Good question. And why should the Taiwanese be worried about about what another country thinks of its internal politics?

According to Article One of the United Nations Charter "the principle of equal rights [democracy, I guess] and self-determination of peoples should be basic" in guiding international relations as well.