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United Chinese people made Taiwan's return possible

By Wang Fengshou | | Updated: 2020-10-26 16:48
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It was the collective action by all the Chinese people that resulted in the country's recovery of sovereignty over Taiwan from 50-year Japanese occupation

Recently, the Kuomintang has been holding a series of activities to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of Japanese rule of Taiwan and Penghu islands and the return of Taiwan to the motherland on Oct 25, 1945. Johnny Chiang Chi-Chen, chairman of the KMT, has attributed the glory of Taiwan's return to the KMT and "the Republic of China".

On the one hand, he criticized the Democratic Progressive Party for forgetting history and on the other hand, he criticized the mainland for stealing limelight from the KMT.

Commemorating Taiwan's return is a common memory of Chinese at home and abroad. The DPP's negative treatment needs to be criticized. But it is very intriguing when the mainland's remembrance is regarded negatively by the Kuomintang.

Chiang believes that the return of Taiwan was due to the "Republic of China" rather than the People's Republic of China, so the mainland had no right to claim the glorious achievements of Taiwan's return, and the commemoration of the Chinese mainland was a minor issue taking precedence over a major one. But, Chiang makes three fundamental mistakes.

First, the return of Taiwan was the result of the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits by persistently resisting until achieving victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression after Taiwan was forced to cede to Japan.

The people of Taiwan never accepted Japanese colonial rule, and the resistance was never short of the common participation of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits.

The Chinese mainland and all kinds of patriotic political forces never gave up their resistance against imperialist powers including Japan until they were joined together in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, including Chinese Kuomintang, then-China's ruling party, but also the Communist Party of China, democratic parties, non-party personages and many patriotic forces.

The united Chinese army and people and the united anti-fascist forces defeated the fascist forces including Japan. Finally, China was the victor, Chinese people as the people of the victorious country, regained sovereignty over Taiwan.

The Taiwan people have also realized their dream of returning to the motherland. Together with the people of the mainland, the Taiwan people have become the owners of China's sovereignty.

It was the joint efforts of the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits to return Taiwan back to the motherland. This glorious memory belongs to all the Chinese people. It does not belong solely to the Kuomintang and the "Republic of China" which is just a political symbol.

Second, if the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was forced to cede Taiwan to Japan, rather than the "Republic of China", as per Chiang's wrong logic of "name instead of reality", how could the "Republic of China" in his view have the right to recover Taiwan? Isn't this the logic of the "Taiwan independence"?

Once again, the reason why Taiwan returned was that China (including a series of sovereignty representatives such as the Qing Dynasty, the Republic of China (before 1949) and the People's Republic of China) restored the sovereignty over Taiwan that had been taken away by the Japanese colonists.

It is China, a unified political community composed of Chinese people, which owns the sovereignty of Taiwan, as such China precedes any political symbol.

The Republic of China was the name of the country at that time. The People's Republic of China is the name of the country now. It has the right and responsibility to commemorate this glorious memory for all the Chinese people, including the two sides of the Taiwan Straits.

So naturally, the Chinese mainland has the right and obligation to organize activities to commemorate Taiwan recovery. China is the entity of international law, and the Republic of China was the name of the country at that time. The entity is the primary and the name is the secondary. It should not be reversed.

Third, the KMT's commemoration of Taiwan's return itself is a positive act worthy of affirmation, but the KMT should treat this period of history honestly and comprehensively, not just selectively publicize its own achievements.

The KMT has made great contributions to the anti-fascist cause which has been generally recognized in the Chinese mainland. However, due to the influence of the "Taiwan independence", the KMT's contributions were not fully recognized in Taiwan.

The KMT should bow down to self-reflexion: why is there so much resistance in Taiwan to commemorate Taiwan's return?

Is this the negative effect from the KMT's long term political oppression in the name of anti-communist in the past, which makes the Taiwan people do not have a correct historical understanding?

Isn't it the serious consequence brought about by the DPP's "de-sinicization" and glorifying Japanese colonial rule?

Having a one-sided account of history, the KMT has always selectively claimed only the KMT has contributed to the construction and democratization of Taiwan. How can such commemorative activities be universally recognized?

In the eyes of Chiang, the Chinese mainland is fighting for the right to speak, and the DPP is ignoring history. But what about the KMT today?

To commemorate historic event, it needs to face it squarely. The achievements of the KMT have been written into history. Whether it can make new achievements or not, the KMT needs to put itself in the perspective of the whole Chinese nation.

The KMT should adhere to its original aspiration of "both sides belong to one China", safeguard the hard-earned 1992 Consensus and the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, seek the well-being of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, and make its own contribution to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The author is a research fellow at a research center of Beijing Union University's Institute of Taiwan Studies.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.

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