Taiwan Must Move on from the KMT Past

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Sunday December 15, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

"That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," so argues Juliet in Shakespeare's play. And by the same token, a de facto independent democratic nation like the so named Republic of China (ROC) by any other name would remain a de facto independent democratic nation.

However, there is more; Taiwan would be far better off in the international community with the needed change from the ROC name.

This is the revelation that is once again exposed with the recent Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Trojan horse, "anti-annexation" bill, a bill, which was justifiably struck down in the Legislative Yuan.

The bill wished to make it illegal for any civil servant to support and/or advocate a name change to the ROC or its territory. Changes to a nation's name or territorial boundaries are normal things a country can do, especially when that country has a colonial past, so why the objection?

Why then does the KMT continue to resist name changes to the ROC? Taiwan is not China. Taiwan does not need to have China in its name to remain the democracy that it is, so why?

In the past Taiwan has never been a part of China. True, the western half of Taiwan had been ruled by the Qing Dynasty, but that dynasty was a Manchu Kingdom and not Chinese. China was only one of several territories controlled by the Manchu Qing.

Taiwanese must therefore repeatedly ask: What is the revealing reality that the KMT cannot face? What bitter reflection of history do they see in the mirror of that reality that is difficult to face?

The first clue is to read the basic words of UN Resolution 2758 from October 1971.

That resolution dealt with China and restored "all the rights of the People's Republic of China" (PRC) to that PRC and recognized "its representatives." It then went on to "expel forthwith, the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully occupied at the UN."

Taiwanese must note that it was the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek that were expelled and those representatives are the KMT. The name of Republic of China is not even mentioned in the resolution. The only link that that name has with China is that it represents a losing cause, a footnote of history that came about when its 1947 Constitution was disallowed after the ROC lost the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

The ROC government, therefore, had no right to claim China or even Taiwan. Its representatives became interlopers, a government in exile, and a diaspora. And as for Taiwan, the ROC presence there has raised another issue, one that the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty never resolved.

Unfortunately Taiwan's status remains in that unresolved, political limbo because the position of the US, the primary victor in World War II, is still "undecided" on Taiwan despite the passing of more than 70 years of history.

However, what follows is more important. That truth is the reality that the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek (i.e. the KMT) were expelled from the UN. Technically they could claim that they walked out before they were expelled. That is more devastating.

This is the bitter reflection in the mirror of history that the KMT know will come if the name of China is taken out of the republic that exists on Taiwan. The KMT would finally have to admit to the reality of being a government in exile. They lost the Chinese Civil War.

They would also have to admit that they came as diaspora and carpetbaggers to Taiwan where they set up a government in exile lording it over the Taiwanese.

This runs much deeper than the KMT simply being unable to face that their dream of ruling China became a lost dream, one gone with the wind.

Included in this would be that the KMT would have to face why they lost the Chinese Civil War despite having immense advantages over the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In this, they lost the hearts and souls of the Chinese people because their wish for power, privilege and entitlement overcame any sense they had of democracy.

This begins the bitter reality of their past, and no amount of saying, "Don't forget what happened in Ju" (毋忘在莒) as chiseled in Kinmen can change that. On the other hand, if the name ROC still exists then the KMT illusion could live on.

For Taiwanese, however, the ROC name, flag and the much-amended 1947 Constitution need to go. Nations change names all the time, especially when they want to get rid of a colonial past; that is the case of the ROC/Taiwan.

Ironically in the 1960's when the "fake" ROC as then a founding member of the UN was still in its heyday, the Italians brought a motion that the UN have "two Chinas" just like there were "two Germanys" and "two Koreas." At that time, Chiang Kai-shek had enough clout that he refused to accept that motion. Within the decade, his representatives would be expelled.

The bogus "1992 consensus" is a similar KMT Trojan horse effort. Made up by then former minister Su Chi when the Democratic Progressive Party took power, the whole purpose of this fake consensus has been to perpetuate the KMT dream and coming to terms with reality of loss.

When Taiwan is recognized as being separate from the continent, then there will no place for any imagined privileged class of "high class Mainlanders." They will again be exposed as carpetbaggers.

Fearing this exposure, some KMT remain fixed on being part of the China. They still consider it their motherland, so much so that they would rather be lackeys to Beijing than free men on Taiwan.

For as lackeys to Beijing, they could still try to claim a higher entitled status than they would have on democratic Taiwan. This KMT desire for privilege and entitlement from the 1930s and 40s is still present in their bones and DNA.

So, when Taiwanese hear any KMT representative wanting to keep the name China in the nomenclature of Taiwan, they can begin to understand the reality of what the KMT want to hide in history.

Included in this are the crimes of the past, namely 2/28, White Terror, martial law, stolen state assets, etc. etc. All these must be brought to the light of day.

This is what the Taiwanese must be conscious of when they choose not only their president in the coming elections and also their legislators.

Taiwan is their real motherland and a democratic Taiwan has no room for any one who wishes to return to the fake privilege of belonging to the continent.