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Damaged 'one China' propaganda removed from Taiwan's Matsu

Relics of country's military past remain prevalent on Matsu despite removal

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The phrase "one China" is pictured on propaganda in Matsu's Nangan Township in 2022, before it was removed on Monday. (Taiwan News, Jono...

The phrase "one China" is pictured on propaganda in Matsu's Nangan Township in 2022, before it was removed on Monday. (Taiwan News, Jono...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — What was left of a propaganda installation that once featured the slogan “Realizing the Unification of One China with the Three People’s Principles” has been removed from Lienchiang County’s Nangan in Matsu.

The propaganda installation once featured eleven tablets, each with an inscription of one of the Chinese characters that make up the phrase. Over time the installation deteriorated, and only the phrase “one China” remained when the final tablets were removed on Monday (Feb. 5), per CNA.

The propaganda was built in 1978, the Republic of China’s 67th year, alongside the Fu’ao Wharf, which was built at the same time.

Read right to left, the removed phrase showed “one China,” though read left to right, it read “first elementary school,” which had become a running joke amongst local tour guides. Other tablets remain beside those removed on Monday, showing the phrase “Build Matsu, recover the Mainland.”

Damaged 'one China' propaganda removed from Taiwan's Matsu
The Chinese character "one" is removed from the installation on Monday. CNA, Lienchiang County Government photo)

Once a heavily fortified frontline for confrontation between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Matsu Islands are covered with pro-Chinese unification propaganda and memorials. While no longer home to the significant troop presence they once were, propaganda encouraging military readiness and the recovery of lost Chinese territory remains a common sight throughout the islands.

One of the most prominent examples is the Zhenge Daidan Memorial Park, with a four-story tall depiction of a phrase translated as “sleeping on spears, waiting for dawn (枕戈待旦).”

The installation was a bid by Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) to encourage his troops to be ready to retake China, after having fled less than 10 years earlier when they were defeated by China’s People’s Liberation Army. The installation was built on a hill above Fu’ao Harbor in 1958, after Chiang visited the islands and had the phrase installed.

Damaged 'one China' propaganda removed from Taiwan's Matsu
The phrase "recover the mainland (光復大陸)" is pictured at the entrance to Matsu's Fu'ao Port in 2022. (Taiwan News, Jono Thomson photo)