KMT and China Celebrate, DPP Overlooks 75th Anniversary of Taiwan's Retrocession
News Compiled and Reported by Taiwan Weekly
While the Kuomintang (KMT) and the mainland China hosted multiple events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Taiwan’s retrocession on October 25, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan did not organize any event of celebration. Not only did members of DDP and President Tsai Ing-wen declined to participate in celebration activities organized by the KMT, the DPP also condemned KMT for concurring with the Chinse Communist Party.
On October 25, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang delivered remarks at a Retrocession Day concert. In his speech, Chiang indicated that while Taiwan’s government had forgotten about the importance of Retrocession Day, mainland China had deliberately expanded its celebration. That is why the KMT decided to take up the responsibility to remind everyone of this important Taiwanese history, which should not be neglected or buried. According to Chiang, Retrocession Day has at least the following important points of significance to the people of Taiwan. On legal terms, citizens in Taiwan were no longer treated as second-class citizens. Economically speaking, Taiwan was no longer colonized by Japan and thus had the freedom to develop its economy independently. On political terms, Taiwan began its journey into freedom and democracy, implementing citizen elections. And finally, culturally speaking, Taiwanese and Chinese cultures were able to reconnect once again.
According to the KMT, since the DPP decided to neglect such a critical part of Taiwan’s history, the ruling party has allowed Beijing the right to interpret this part of history.
Wang Yu-min, head of the KMT’s Culture and Communications Committee, stated that Taiwan’s restoration represents the historic fact that Taiwan was restored as the territory of the Republic of China after claiming victory in World War II against Japan. Instead of recognizing this historical truth, the DDP deliberately distorted and eliminated this part of history in order to mislead young people’s point of views and downplay the relationship and connection of Taiwan and the R.O.C. The DDP’s intent is clearly to eliminate Taiwan’s past and present connections to Chinese culture.
Chairman Chiang also emphasized that by expanding celebration of the Restoration Day, the KMT wants to remind the mainland Chinese authorities that 75 years ago, Taiwan was restored to the Republic of China and not People’s Republic of China (PRC). Today, R.O.C. still stands and is not under the authority of PRC. It is important to reiterate that the Republic of China remains a sovereign country.
In a Facebook post, former President Ma Ying-jeou wrote that the restoration of Taiwan ended Japan’s 50 years of repressive colonial rule and expressed condolences to the Taiwanese soldiers and civilians who fought against Japan. He also stated that by commemorating the restoration of Taiwan, we are also remembering the tight relationship between the Republic of China and Taiwan. It was because of the victory that R.O.C. had allowed Taiwan to be restored, which led to the legitimate continuation of the R.O.C. in Taiwan. If Taiwan had not been restored, then President Tsai’s statement that “the Republic of China remains firmly in Taiwan” would not stand. Ma believes that it should be the responsibility of every president of the Republic of China to commemorate this part of history that is vital to the survival of this country.
On October 23, DPP Spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang urged the KMT to not use the issue of Retrocession Day to concur with China on the “One China” principle. Instead, the KMT should boldly proclaim to the Chinese Communist Party that “R.O.C. is a sovereign country, and Taiwan has never been part of the PRC.” Yen reminded the KMT and CCP that while they rush to celebrate Taiwan’s retrocession, they should not forget the period of authoritarian and the period of “White Terror” that followed, which were painful periods that Taiwan had to go through in order to finally reach the current state of democracy and freedom.
On the other hand, Chairman Wang Yang of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference said at one of the celebration events that if the people of both sides of the Strait had not fought fiercely side to side, there would not have been victory in the war of resistance against Japan. Without victory, Taiwan would not be restored, which is a historical fact that no one can alter. Wang furthered stated, “Taiwan’s retrocession indisputably proves that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China.” Even though China does not want to initiate a war, it does not mean that it is afraid of war. Wang added, “If Taiwan takes a risky road, relying upon Western powers to challenge the 'One China' principle, then the situation across the Taiwan Strait will surely shake the earth.”
In response, the Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council stated that the Republic of China is a sovereign county that has existed in Taiwan for 70 years. Taiwan has never been a part of the PRC, not in the past nor at present. The options for Taiwan’s future are to be decided in the hands of Taiwan’s 23 million people.
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