Taiwan’s National Day: Pride or Embarrassment?
Happy ‘Double Tenth’!
Today is the 10th October, the 10th day of the 10th month, or ‘Double Tenth’ as is known in the Orient.
It is the National Day of the Republic of China which moved to Taiwan in 1952. The date itself celebrates the Wuchang Uprising of 1911 against the Qing Dynasty and is seen as the beginnings of ‘Republicism’ in China.
This year, in Dublin, the official celebrations have already been held with government ministers ordered by their ‘higher-ups‘ not to attend the Taiwan party lest it offend Beijing which does not accept the idea of an independent Taiwan republic. But, according to the ‘Irish Times’, this did not deter lower elected official from flocking to the Taiwan celebration. The newspaper suggested that the parliamentarians were reluctant to miss out on a lavish free party and, maybe, commercial opportunities.
Back in 1957, Ireland was one of the few Western countries to vote in favour of discussing the representation of the Communist ‘New China’ in the UN. It did this out of an acceptance of the new reality and to show independent thinking as a neutral country. When Beijing was finally accepted into the UN in 1971, Taiwan had to drop out and many countries withdrew diplomatic recognition of Taipei. The Vatican was one of those who remained though it reduced its representation from a full ambassador to a deputy. It wished to indicate to Beijing that it too was prepared to listen.
Irish policy today, with regard to both Beijing and Taipei, is based on economics principles. While it defers to Beijing as the ‘real China,’ it is willing to attend Taiwanese parties, knowing that Beijing won’t be too angry. Mainland China’s National Holiday is on 1 October, so why not have ‘double celebrations’ since a party is a party.