China celebrates Taiwan’s return from Japan for first time

China, in a move seen as further extending its divide-and-rule policy of isolating Chen Shuibian, will for the first time mark the anniversary of the island’s return to Chinese rule from the Japanese on October 25 1945. The Peopleโ€™s Republic has never previously recognized this anniversary for fear that it would tarnish the official line that the Red Army, not the larger and better-equipped Nationalist forces, won the 8-year Anti-Japanese Struggle.

“To promote the peaceful reunification of the motherland and realize the revival and earnest struggle of the Chinese people, the central government in October will organize commemorations of the 60th anniversary of Taiwan’s return.” The celebrations are also intended to “encourage compatriots across the Straits to join hands, eliminate the destructive obstruction of ‘Taiwan indep3ndence’ splittist forces and build cross-Strait ties that develop in a peaceful and stable way,” said Li Weiyi, spokesman of the Mainlandโ€™s Taiwan Affairs Office.

Japan returned Taiwan to Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT at the end of WWII after 50 years of colonial rule. The anniversary was celebrated annually during the KMTโ€™s authoritarian rule but the governments of democratic Taiwan have played down the anniversary in the same way that the Double-Tenth National Day celebrations have become more low-key in recent years.

UPDATE: Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council reacted with disdain, saying Japan’s return of Taiwan had “nothing at all to do” with China. “It shows that the Chinese Communists have a gradual plan to work their way into Taiwan, and citizens should be alert to this.”

The Discussion: 31 Comments

Jeez – I saw the Xinhua headline “Celebration of Taiwan liberation announced” and wondered whether I should be peering out the window to see if I could see tanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t see why celebrating Taiwan’s handover would reflect badly on the Red Army – after all the KMT didn’t do anything militarily to take Taiwan. Hell, they had to be flown over in an American plane to accept the surrender of the Japanese on the island!

October 13, 2005 @ 4:19 am | Comment

This is one more example of ccp political manouvering. Manipulating political facts to serve the present political needs. I really cannot understand how Chinese people can be told something for fifty years, then suddenly be told the opposite and they just shrud their shoulders and carry on without a word?! The ‘glorious’ Red Army did little more than beg russia for money and hide for most of the war. Amazing what fifty years of indoctrination and propaganda can do.

October 13, 2005 @ 8:27 am | Comment

Ironically, while Japan took Taiwan bloodlessly by forced treaty and did a lot of work to improve the island’s agriculture and industry when they occupied it (Japan wanted to present Taiwan, then Formosa, to the world as the model colony so that it could justify its rule there), when Chinese nationalists landed there after loosing the civil war they promptly butchered 10,000 people who they thought might have communist sympathies or who might rise up against them.

October 13, 2005 @ 12:11 pm | Comment

ACB, yes.

Further irony was that CCP sympathized DPP activists back in the 1970s.

It was the contrast between corrupted KMT bureacrats (plus fiasco in the mainland) which made the brutal Japanese colonists look good, that in turn led to total disappointment in the identity of “Han Chinese”, and fueled the independence movement of today.
All those “historic evidence of independence” and “San Francisco Treaty” were total Bullsh1t. Some even called the short-lived “Foreveer-Qing resistance” in 1896 the first ‘independent’ “republic” on the island.

Unfortunately neither KMT nor CCP want to admit that they themselves gave the strongest push to the independence movement. and the CCP continues to do so (well at least until 2004).

October 13, 2005 @ 4:44 pm | Comment

minor thing, ACB, it wasn’t totally bloodless. Blood was shed in north China before the Shimonogeki Treaty was forced on Qing.
…also quite some people on Taiwan island were killed
but you are right that there was much less blood and the rule was more benign compared to Korea and other colonies.

Many Taiwanese still hated the Japanese, until, they saw the ‘liberators’ of their same blood.

October 13, 2005 @ 4:49 pm | Comment

You are cordially invited to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of Tucker and Mrs Barbara Bush. Although Mrs Bush has been married to someone else since 1945, in reality it was to Tucker that Barabra’s father gave her away. They have been married all this time, despite the fact that it is only Tucker that recognises this fact.

Come and celebrate this great occassion with other similary deluded and deranged people.

Amazingly, the ROC has said Japan’s return of Taiwan had “nothing at all to do” with the mainland.

October 13, 2005 @ 7:38 pm | Comment

Despite the fact that the PRC did nothing to achieve Taiwan’s liberation (it’s also arguable that China as a whole did little as it was Japan’s WWII defeat that freed up Taiwan) from China’s point of view of the Mainland and Taiwan being one country, Taiwan’s celebrations and China’s celebrations are one and the same. This is just China’s continuing policy of appealling to the islands mainlanders (the Taiwanese name for people who arrived in Taiwan in 1948/9).

October 13, 2005 @ 9:56 pm | Comment

Also, as far a Taiwan’s greens are concerned, it’s a Taiwan issue and nothing to do with China.

I met quite a few old people in Taiwan who had nothing but good things to say about the Japanese colonial period. I’ve heard people say that the Taiwanese hate the Japanese but that goes directly against my experience.

The people I spoke to said that Japan turned the island from a rural backwater into a proper country by building the infrastructure needed for a modern economy to function. Building schools, roads, ports, train track etc.

Any excesses carried out by the Japanese were dwarfed by those of the KMT. KMT massacres and the brutal role of the secret police was an everyday thing right throughout the 40s and 50s.

October 13, 2005 @ 10:01 pm | Comment

“The Pigs Come After the Dogs Are Gone” is the saying you’re looking for that Taiwanese used to describe transfer from Japanese to KMT rule …

October 13, 2005 @ 10:11 pm | Comment

The occupation of Taiwan by Japan wasn’t bloodless at all. A struggle for independence began immediately. Serious fighting continued for five months, and Hakka partisan-bandit activity would continue into 1902, or seven years afterward. Aborigine resistance did not end until more than two decades after the Japanese occupied the island.

For a great description of the campaign from the Japanese side, Davidson’s The Island of Formosa Past and Present remains the major account in English, written by a pro-Japanese US reporter who was there at the time and published in 1903. A good academic account is Lumley’s “The 1895 Taiwan War of Resistance” in Gordon (ed) Taiwan: Studies in Chinese Local History

Michael

October 14, 2005 @ 3:26 am | Comment

If the ChiComs were wise and were serious about acknowledging the legitimacy of the Taiwanese experience, they’d start commemorating 2-28.

October 14, 2005 @ 6:50 am | Comment

I met quite a few old people in Taiwan who had nothing but good things to say about the Japanese colonial period. I’ve heard people say that the Taiwanese hate the Japanese but that goes directly against my experience.

The people I spoke to said that Japan turned the island from a rural backwater into a proper country by building the infrastructure needed for a modern economy to function. Building schools, roads, ports, train track etc.

Any excesses carried out by the Japanese were dwarfed by those of the KMT. KMT massacres and the brutal role of the secret police was an everyday thing right throughout the 40s and 50s.

It’s a matter of retrospective and rose coloured glasses here Martyn. The beginning years of the Japanese occupation, as Michael pointed out, were bloody with a number of rebellions and insurrections with the total dead number well over ten thousand. Though they had for the most part been crushed by the second/third decades of the Japanese occupation with the exception of rare aboriginal uprisings (The Wushe rebellion in 1930). Many Russians and citizens of the Stans now seem to remember the Soviet Union with some fondness, particularly those who are old. It does not particularly mean that the Soviet Union under Stalin was more enjoyable than it was, but it is a habit of reminscing over the past that makes things seem sweeter than they were. I would argue that this is especially the case with Taiwan, where the “old people” you spoke to are not quite old enough to have lived through the “pacification” decades but do remember the more constructive phase of the Japanese occupation.

Second, but also important is the fact that the KMT occupation of Taiwan is a much more recent occurence and it is the recent past that is remembered much stronger than the distant. For those who suffered most under the KMT, the days of the Japanese occupation may have seemed virtually idyllic in retrospect even if in truth they never were. As to the actual number of deaths caused by the governments, it’s a race to the bottom to attempt to figure out who ultimately killed more though there is an actual answer. Though the total number of deaths from the number of rebellions likely surpass that of the 2/28 massacre in 1947. In regards to the KMT secret police presence, any number of histories will also tell of the ubiquitous nature of the Japanese police on Taiwan and their role in the colonial order.

Ultimately though, the Japanese occupation during 1905 were quite different altogether from that of 1935. Just as the KMT’s role in Taiwan had changed between 1945 and 1975. I find all this talk of how the Japanese colonialists were welcomed on Taiwan and how they so readily benefited the Taiwanese in comparison to the KMT insulting. Insulting because it stems from equal part ignorance of the truth (in your case), a very selective remembrance of the past (in the case of many Taiwanese I warrant), and deliberate provocation for separatism. I cannot begin to recount the number of times I’ve heard such, or similar things like it, echoe from the lips of separatists and their foreign sympathizers in order to fuel their hatred of China and provide yet another feeble justification for independence.

October 14, 2005 @ 7:32 am | Comment

Why should the People’s Republic commemorate 2/28 when it was not involved? Unless of course you happen to believe the stories of an aborted communist uprising put out by the KMT provincial government at the time.

October 14, 2005 @ 7:39 am | Comment

“The people I spoke to said that Japan turned the island from a rural backwater into a proper country by building the infrastructure needed for a modern economy to function. Building schools, roads, ports, train track etc.”

Of course this is true. But if I say Han Chinese did the same thing to Tibetans in Tibet, you would probably jump up and shout.
So, no, I am not going to do that.

The fact is, there was improvement in Taiwan. It did not compsenate for the oppression and bloodshed.
Schools were forced to teach Japanese only, despite the native tongues are Minnan and written language Chinese.
(KMT came and Chinese was used, happy? not really. Anyone speaking Minnan in classroom had to pay a fine. the liberators turned out to be oppressor who are also corrupt – the Japanese colonial government was quite clean and professional.)

The root cause for nostalgia on Japanese rule, was when comparison was made, “Pig comes when the dog gone”. as ACB and David indicated above.

October 14, 2005 @ 2:51 pm | Comment

Am I the only one who find this CPC charade preposterous. Japan did not turn Formosa over to the KMT, Japan turned Formosa over to the US who used the KMT to administer the territory as the handiest force to it.

October 15, 2005 @ 12:20 am | Comment

Those that won will be remembered as kings. Those that lost will be remembered as bandits. Thus is history.

No-one remembers those that died fighting Japanese occupation because dead men have no voices, and the living find it convenient to forget.

After all, what did they die for, at any rate? Seen from hindsight, Taiwan would have been better without them, right? So they suffered a bit while the Japs first came. Boohoo. Didn’t happen to me so it didn’t happen.

October 15, 2005 @ 11:55 am | Comment

I’m just amazed at the language the CCP uses for these announcements. To “promote the peaceful reunification of the motherland” suggests that reunification has not been completed (or begun, depending what side of the fence you’re on), while on the other hand the 60th anniversary of Taiwan’s return… to what? Return to the motherland? You just said that hasn’t happened yet. How can you be a splittist, similiarly, if you have reunified? It’s just like the anti-seccession law was to promote reunification. How can you secceed from something you’re not yet a part of? Huh? I just wish they could be more consistent in their rhetoric. Or at least issue an official explanation.

On the other hand, I think Sun Bin is on to something when he says that pointing out the benefits of Japanese occupation is analogous to pointing out the benefits of the CCP in Tibet. Like it or not, the CCP really has built much needed infrastructure in the western provinces. I just wish they could be nicer about the whole thing and especially stop putting words in historical figures mouths.

I also agree that CCP actions have ended up stoking the fires of the independence movement. Just like their Strike Hard campaign is making extremist Uyghur terrorists an even more likely reality. It’s like Laius sending Oedipus away so he won’t kill him. Or the predictive technology in the movie “Paycheck” – self-fulfilling prophecies.

October 15, 2005 @ 11:36 pm | Comment

The CCP isn’t just one person. It has plenty of writers. A range of views. Of course they’re going to come up with different and conflicting terms, especially with a complex issue such as Taiwan. Nothing special there.

Uyghurs can’t do shit without support from across the border. And these days none of the countries or organizations in the middle-east really supports them. Now that they have pissed off the world’s sole superpower, they need to be in good graces with its only credible competitor. Notice how there are no serious terrorist activities in China? Probably won’t be any to come, either.

The indies would have been worse without CCP actions. Taiwan would have claimed independence a long time ago if it weren’t for all those missiles pointed at it. Even if they didn’t want to, the US would have been pushing for it if it weren’t for the prospect of nuclear war.

October 16, 2005 @ 12:49 am | Comment

The CCP isn’t just one person. It has plenty of writers. A range of views. Of course they’re going to come up with different and conflicting terms, especially with a complex issue such as Taiwan. Nothing special there.

In the same jingoistic slogan? Different writers for one sentence? They have more problems than I thought.

Now that they have pissed off the world’s sole superpower, they need to be in good graces with its only credible competitor.

Right, the sole superpower that took in a released Uyghur activist and funds VOA broadcasts and 800 numbers in the Uyghur language? You have no idea what you’re talking about. The U.S. government isn’t pissed off with Uyghurs at all, if anything they support them as human rights leverage against the PRC.

October 16, 2005 @ 1:05 am | Comment

1. what can I say? Maybe the guy had a brainfart. Or maybe it lost something in translation. Shit happens.

2. Not the Uyghur. The terrorist organizations that support them from across the border. Did you actually read what I wrote?

Osama probably wants to hobnob with the PLA. At the very least he’ll want China to stay neutral.

October 16, 2005 @ 1:43 am | Comment

On reunification, return and seccession: these are all words carefully chosen by the central government. These are not sentences that were written just once, these are slogans that the PRC hammers every day. They are crafted messages.

On Uyghur reactions: contrary to popular belief, extremists can exist without the benefit of Al Qaeda or other outside support. Take any group, back them into enough of a corner and they will take desperate action. China is calming the Uyghur population, they are pissing them off.

October 16, 2005 @ 2:04 am | Comment

Finally got that response from google where they replied to my concern that Taiwan was incorrectly labelled as a province of China. They apolgised, saying
“As you may have noticed, the Google Local
interface has been updated to improve the overall experience for our users.
Searching for addresses, cities, postal codes, and countries will now
result in a larger viewable map, which is made possible by eliminating
the textual information on the left-hand side of the page for these types
of searches. We have also updated the labeling of regions and countries
on our maps so that the size of the label correlates directly to the
size of the region.
These changes were motivated by our efforts to effectively apply user
feedback to improve Google Local. We appreciate your continued feedback.
Regards,
The Google Team”
That clears everything up.

October 16, 2005 @ 2:20 am | Comment

I will stop beating the semetic dead horse, now, and just answer to the thing about Uyghurs:

All those other areas that spawned terrorists are warzones. People died, their families wanted vengeance, they received training and weapons – which are more easily attainable in a warzone. Not so inside Chinese borders, where things are stable and security is tight. Unless they receive training from a true terrorist organization, the Uyghurs are amateurs and will stay that way. They’ll be no match for the Chinese internal security forces.

October 16, 2005 @ 2:58 am | Comment

So 4030201, thanks for pointing out that oppression has such wonderful benefits. Now let’s all join hands and dance around the wonderful oppression of the CCP.

Those Uyghurs, such amateurs! Your poverty, resentment, lack of cultural freedom, etc., why they’re no match for Chinese internal security forces!

October 16, 2005 @ 3:11 am | Comment

Not oppression, no, just ‘peace and security’. Not being shot at has certain medical benefits, but it does blunt your wartime skills.

October 16, 2005 @ 3:27 am | Comment

Ahh, thank you 403201 for clarifying the CCP’s policies towards the Uyghur. It’s not oppression, its just “peace and security.” I’m sure the Uyghur can agree the two are not mutually exclusive.

October 16, 2005 @ 4:26 am | Comment

Actually, peace and security is a prerequisite for oppression. You can’t oppress people that you are shooting at. Suppress, maybe, oppress no.

Having said that, do you actually have a point to make? Or are you just being snide because you’re out of things to say?

October 16, 2005 @ 5:18 am | Comment

โ€œActually, peace and security is a prerequisite for oppression. You can’t oppress people that you are shooting at. Suppress, maybe, oppress no.โ€

What a whimsical play on words. I would think that there would be no need for oppression where there is peace and security. I am amused by your dichotomy between โ€œsuppressionโ€ and โ€œoppression.โ€

โ€œHaving said that, do you actually have a point to make? Or are you just being snide because you’re out of things to say?โ€

And your point was?

October 16, 2005 @ 6:17 am | Comment

I believe that my original point was that the Uyghurs can’t pull off a 9-11 in China without outside help, which they’re not getting. What was yours?

October 16, 2005 @ 6:55 am | Comment

Who is this 403201 who’s been inundating this site this past weekend using phony addresses and aliases?

October 16, 2005 @ 8:12 am | Comment

I don’t know, but something tells me he’s his own best friend.

October 17, 2005 @ 1:16 am | Comment

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