The week of Chen Yunlin’s visit to Taiwan saw unprecedented attacks by the police on the display of the Republic of China flag which most people identify with as the national symbol of Taiwan. When police deliberately seized ROC flags and simultaneously allowed the display of the PRC flag to welcome Chen Yunlin I felt this signified an abandonment of Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity. Although I don’t feel the ROC flag is truly representative of Taiwan as a nation it is still the official flag under the constitution. As such it must be treated with a great deal of respect.
This event has inspired me to write this post looking at the ROC flag and some alternative flags and symbols for Taiwan. There are a number of web pages which provide useful information about the ROC flag and other flags of Taiwan. Taiwandc.org has a page about flags of Taiwan which includes some alternative flags that represent Taiwan. The Wikipedia article Flag of the Republic of China also has some good detail about the flag’s history and meaning. There is a flag of Taiwan group at flickr which has a good selection of photos of the ROC flag in a variety of contexts.There is also a Wikipedia article, proposed flag of Taiwan, which contains some alternative designs. Read on for more images and discussion.
The Yellow Tiger Flag was used during the short-lived 1895 Republic of Formosa.
In 1996, a “New Name, New Flag, New Anthem” campaign was launched to rename the Republic of China, replace the flag of the Republic of China, and the National Anthem of the Republic of China, all of which were brought to Taiwan when the Kuomintang government retreated to the island in 1949.After a contest in which 187 different flags were entered, the “hearts-in-harmony flag” emerged as the winner. The green field was to symbolize the natural beauty of the island and the need to protect the environment; the white in the Canadian pale was to symbolize the purity of the people on the island and the desire to preserve the natural beauty; and the device in the centre was to symbolize four hearts in harmony, representing the four population groups on the island: aborigines, Hakka, Hoklo, and mainlanders. (Wikipedia)
I think the four-hearted flag is good because its design promotes unity. In choosing a new flag for Taiwan it might be necessary to make some compromises in the design to be inclusive of all Taiwanese people. Some other flags which use only green and white might be identified too closely with the DPP and pro-independence groups.
My friend Ben Goren designed the flag above and describes it as follows.
My intention is that it be interpreted as follows:
White = safe air / integrity and honesty
Blue = clean water / respect and tradition
Green = healthy land / environmental sustainability
When designing it I did not have the ‘T’ in mind – it just turned out that way. For me it is like a tree of life – for others the T stands for Taiwan.
I created this image based on a poster I photographed at the 1106 protest in Taipei. Of course it is not a flag for Taiwan, but symbolic of what happened during Chen Yunlin’s visit.
The design above combines the ROC and DPP flags. I think it symbolises the historical legacy of the ROC that still burdens the development of Taiwan’s democracy.
What do you think about these flags? Should Taiwan retain the ROC flag or adopt a new design? If you have designed your own Taiwan flag post a link to it or e-mail it to me and I will include it in a future post on this blog.