Taiwan could do with an actual national day

Calling Double Ten Taiwan’s national day completely ignores the country's history

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Double Ten Day 2020 visual (Facebook, @rocbirthday image)

Double Ten Day 2020 visual (Facebook, @rocbirthday image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A country’s national day should be an opportunity for citizens to remember the past, reflect on the present, in order to better chart the future — unfortunately Taiwan’s annual Double Ten celebration is none of these.

“Proud of Taiwan” is the theme of this year’s National Day, the only problem being it has absolutely nothing to do with Taiwan. Double Ten, as it is commonly referred to, commemorates the start of the Wuchang Uprising in China on Oct. 10, 1911, which led to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1636–1912) and the establishment of the Republic of China (ROC) on Jan. 1, 1912.

The Chinese Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang (KMT), was around in 1912, but did not become the sole ruling party in China until Oct. 10, 1919. The KMT ruled the country until the Chinese Civil War broke out between the nationalists and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which saw on-again, off-again fighting from 1927 to 1949. The KMT was eventually defeated by the CCP in 1949 and fled to Taiwan.

However, when it comes to Taiwan history, what was happening in 1911? Not the Wuchang Uprising. In 1911, that would put Taiwan smack dab in the Japanese occupation, which lasted from 1895 to 1945.

Double Ten — like so many other things in Taiwan — was forced onto the people by the KMT in an attempt to erase Taiwanese identity. Just a few other examples include the Republic of China name, the ROC national anthem, the ROC flag, the coerced use of Mandarin, and the learning of Chinese over Taiwanese history.

Despite all these efforts, the Taiwanese persevered and built the country into the fully functioning democracy it is today. But in order for Taiwan to continue to grow as a free, open, and inclusive society, it’s time for us to finally put to rest all this Republic of China nonsense and the baggage that comes with it like Double Ten.

Tying the birth of our nation to the Republic of China is extremely problematic as it ignores Taiwan's indigenous peoples who were already on the island for thousands of years, plus the Taiwanese who were here before the KMT arrived. Taking that into account, it makes zero sense to celebrate Double Ten as our national day.

Rather than rebrand Double Ten into something that is inclusive for all Taiwanese people, why not just pick a day that has shared significance for all the diverse citizens of this country? Now that would be a better way to make people proud of Taiwan.