On Thursday Arthur Waldron had a letter in the Taipei Times saying he was distressed that the opposition parties would not participate in the Double Ten National Day celebrations. He then suggested a “2010 Consensus” of one national day, different interpretations.
Today the Taipei Times has published two letters in response by Ben Goren and me. Ben places the issue in the context of “of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) … actively [seeking] to reinvigorate Chinese nationalism in Taiwan through downgrading Taiwan from a state to a region within an anachronistic Republic of China.” Ben goes on to write,
Waldron should know that the only consensus the current government cares for is the fictional “1992 consensus,” which in turn is only a transparent tool to reinforce the “one China” principle as a foundation for negotiations with China. If the Ma administration had truly wanted the -opposition to celebrate the ROC’s national day, why did it make every effort to remove and destroy the ROC national flag so that it would not offend the delicate sensibilities of Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) in November 2008? As one of my Taiwanese supervisors said to me recently, what country denigrates and humiliates itself to the extent of trashing its most potent symbol of national sovereignty so as to please visiting foreign dignitaries?
Waldron’s distress would be better served lamenting how the Ma administration is actively striving to reverse and undermine the gains in sovereignty and national identity Taiwanese have accumulated since its democratization.
My letter begins by saying that Double Ten marks an event that occurred in China at a time when Taiwan was a Japanese colony. I then note that when the ROC did come to Taiwan it resulted in the 228 Massacre and four decades of White Terror. Finally I suggest an alternative date for a national day about which Taiwan could have a real consensus. That part of the letter is below.
Like Arthur Waldron I also hope that everyone in Taiwan can celebrate a national day together. However it should be based on a real consensus of Taiwanese society, not an ambiguous one.
The democratisation in Taiwan over the past two decades is a much prouder achievement and something that should be celebrated by everyone in Taiwan. I suggest that 10 December be made Taiwan’s national day. This marks the anniversary of the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident, a key event that led towards Taiwan’s democratisation. It is also Human Rights Day where the world celebrates the universal values of human rights. This is something that Taiwanese people could have a true consensus about.