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The Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Guomindang (中国国民党革命委员会 / 中國國民黨革命委員會)

The Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Guomindang (RCCG; simpl. 中国国民党革命委员会; trad.: 中國國民黨革命委員會 ; pinyin: Zhōngguó Guómíndǎng Gémìngwěiyuánhuì) is one of the eight non-Communist Parties of the People's Republic of China. It was founded in 1947 by a left-wing faction of the Guomindang. It is a member of the United Front under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It is committed to the construction of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" and to the peaceful reunification of China and Taiwan.  The Origins of the RCCG The Guomindang  was founded in 1912 by Sun Yat-sen , the revolutionary who had advocated the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China (ROC) . Sun's aim was to modernise China according to his Three Principles of the People , i.e., Nationalism, Democracy, and Socialism. After the 1911 revolution led by Sun's followers and the proclamation of the Republic of China, the Guomindang became China&

Taiwan's Economy and the Myth of Free Market

Taipei skyline (Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas via Wikimedia Commons )   In a world dominated by  neoliberal  mainstream economic thinking, the wealth of nations is often explained in culturalist terms. A country is rich because its people are hard-working and enjoy the freedom to pursue profitable economic activities. A country is poor if its people are lazy and / or its politicians are corrupt and inefficient. However, it would be wrong to underestimate the role of the government in promoting economic development, especially in the case of Taiwan. First of all, an industrial revolution does not come about through hard work alone. Asian people have always been renowned for their laboriousness, but for a long time their industry lagged behind that of the West. A rural country whose people are mostly hard-working peasants does not automatically shift production from agriculture to industry. Economists  Ha-Joon Chang  and  Erik Reinert  have explained that rich countries di

Activist Throws Book 'Formosa Betrayed' at Taiwanese President Ma Yingjiu

On September 26 Taiwanese President Ma Yingjiu was hit by a book hurled at him by Yan Mingwei (顏銘緯), a student activist. Ma Yingjiu  had just attended a gala organised by the International Franchise Association. According to the  Taipei Times , that day an event of the pro-independence Northern Taiwan Society was hosted in the same building. When Ma left the venue, a journalist asked him to comment on Xi Jinping's recent remark that the 'one country, two systems' model is the only way to solve the China-Taiwan issue . The activist then threw the book at the President, hitting his abdomen.  The 18-year-old Yan Mingwei is a student of sociology at Zhongshan University, and a member of Flanc Radical (基進側翼), an anti-Guomindang organisation. The President's spokesperson, Ma Weiguo (馬瑋國) said that the government accepts the people's right to express their opinions rationally, but condemns every form of violence.  At a press conference held by Flanc Radical th

China's Eight Non-Communist Parties

On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the foundation of the People's Republic of China in front of a jubilant crowd in Tiananmen Square. The images of that historic moment have become famous all over the world. But few know who were the people standing behind Mao as he was holding his speech.  Most of them were, like Mao, Communist revolutionaries and high-ranking politicians, such as  Zhu De (朱德) , Liu Shaoqi ( 刘少奇 /   劉少奇) , and Zhou Enlai ( 周恩来 /  周恩來) .  However, one also finds names of people who were not members of the Communist Party: Song Qingling ( 宋庆龄 /  宋慶齡) , the wife of Sun Yat-sen , the man who had founded the Republic of China which the Communists had long fought to overthrow; Zhang Lan ( 张澜 /  張瀾) , the founder of the China Democratic League ; and Li Jishen (李濟深), the chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Guomindang (RCCG). In fact, the PRC was founded - at least in theory - as a multi-party state under the leadership of the Chine

Chiang Kai-shek's Beheading and Ke Wenzhe's Tears

During an emotional speech commemorating the victims of the  228 Incident , the current mayor of Taipei, Ke Wenzhe ( Ko Wen-je ), could not hold back his tears as he recounted the suffering that his own family had to bear during the brutal and indiscriminate repression of real or presumed dissent on the part of Guomindang one-party state. Following the revolt of February 28, 1947, Ke’s grandfather, Ke Shiyuan, was arrested, not because he had been personally involved in the uprising, but solely because he was an intellectual. After he was severely beaten by the Guomindang police he became ill and died a few years later. Thousands of people were killed, imprisoned or tortured during the White Terror that followed the 228 Incident. To a certain extent, February 28 1947 was for Taiwan what June 4 1989 was for the PRC. The state revealed its savage and cruel nature, reasserted its authority by force, and ushered in an era of silence, fear and suspicion, during which the memory and t

Sun Yat-sen Memorial House in Taipei

Just a few metres away from Taipei Main Station there stands an interesting building which is easy to overlook in the urban jungle of the city. Surrounded by whitewashed walls and by a small park, it is a prominent Japanese-style construction that differs markedly from the prevailing modern architecture of the area. It is the so-called Sun Yat-sen Memorial House, which is a fascinating testimony to the history of Taiwan and the complex relationship between Taiwan and China.  Sun Yat-sen Memorial House was originally built by the Japanese during their colonial rule on the island (1895-1945) and it served as a high-class hotel; it was the most exclusive and elegant guesthouse in the neighbourhood. Its guests were mostly visiting Japanese government officials, but also the Japanese governor-general, who used to hold banquets there (see Zhuang Zhanpeng et al.: Taibei Gucheng Shendu Lvyou. Taipei 2000, p. 123).  The name of the hotel was at that time Umeyashiki (梅屋敷). The c

Taiwan Is Debating How To Transform Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall To Cope With The Legacy Of Martial Law

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall  is one of Taipei 's most recognizable landmarks. The giant white structure with the blue roof was built in 1980  to commemorate Chiang Kai-shek , the dictator who had ruled the Republic of China (ROC) from 1927 to 1949 in mainland China, and - after losing the Chinese Civil War to Mao Zedong's Communists - from 1949 to 1975 on Taiwan.  Chiang Kai-shek's son, Chiang Ching-kuo , succeeded his father as the leader of the ROC on Taiwan and had the huge memorial hall built in Ming Dynasty palace style, which echoed the architecture of Chinese imperial mausoleums. Until the late 1980s, when Taiwan was still a dictatorship dominated by the Guomindang (Chinese Nationalist Party), it was dangerous to even question the official hagiography of Chiang Kai-shek. That began to change with the democratization of Taiwan. People could finally openly discuss the dark side of Chiang's rule. Chiang Kai-s

Are the Himalayas Taiwan's Highest Mountains?

“What is  Taiwan ’s highest mountain?” This seemingly harmless question has caused a public controversy in Taiwan, a country where geography and politics are deeply  entwined.   On June 11, Chen Qineng ( 陳啟能 ), a lawmaker of the  Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) , asked  Eric Chu  ( 朱立倫 ), the incumbent mayor of New Taipei City and Chairman of the  Guomindang , an apparently simple question: “What is  Taiwan ’s highest mountain?” “Taiwan’s highest mountain is  Yushan ,” answered Eric Chu. “But according to the Constitution," he added, "the country’s highest mountains are the  Himalayas .”   Chen Qineng’s question was not trivial. Its purpose was to make Eric Chu reveal his view on the controversial issue of  Taiwan’s sovereignty . Taiwan is officially known as the  Republic of China (ROC) , a state that in theory still claims to be the legitimate government of China.     Chen insisted. “We are talking about the Republic of China on Taiwan.”  Eric Chu reaff

Is Taiwan Ruled Dictatorially?

On February 2 Lee Teng-hui , the former leader of the Guomindang and the first democratically elected president of the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan), gave a speech at the Legislative Yuan concerning the issue of constitutional reform.  Lee Teng-hui is my favourite Taiwanese president. He implemented democratic reforms, defended the ROC against Beijing's claims to Taiwan, he managed the economy well and was a politician who exercised a strong leadership but was at the same time tolerant, humane, and capable of understanding and representing Taiwan's mainstream public opinion. In this respect, I consider him a better politician than Chen Shuibian and Ma Ying-jeou (Ma Yingjiu), let alone Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo (Jiang Jingguo).  Three points in his speech seem to me quite interesting, and in this post I will briefly examine them. The first two points concern Taiwan's identity and economic situation. The third point relates to Lee's assertion tha

Lee Teng-hui and the Issue of Taiwan's Independence

In 2007, former President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Lee Teng-hui (simplified Chinese 李登辉, t raditional Chinese 李登輝, pinyin:  Li Dēnghuī ) astonished the Taiwanese public when he declared to Next Magazine that he did not support Taiwan's independence [1].  For many years, Lee had been considered one of the most influential supporters of Taiwan's independence. In the 1990s, he had repeatedly angered the People's Republic of China and was denounced by Beijing as a 'separatist' who was pushing for an independent Taiwan. His political stance made him enemies on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. In fact, both the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Nationalist Party (Guomindang) support eventual reunification and adhere to the "one China" principle. In 2001, Lee was even expelled from the Guomindang, the party that he had led for 12 years. Although he had retired from active political life in 2000, during the election campaign he became th

Pro-China Taiwanese Officer Resigns, Says Separatist Forces Have Already Won

A pro-China Taiwanese army officer has resigned in protest against Taiwan 'separatism'.  Ch'iu Yü-hung (邱裕弘), an infantry platoon leader of the Taiwanese army, resigned due to what he described as 'separatism' (分離主義). In a Facebook post that followed his resignation, he stated his belief in Chinese unification and his opposition to Taiwan independence. Ch'iu wrote that he chose to pursue a career in the military because he believed that the Republic of China was "not only a thing of the past," but that it was "still important for the future of a united China." Embed from Getty Images The Republic of China  (ROC) was founded in 1912 in mainland China . At that time Taiwan was part of the Japanese Empire . During the Nationalist era  (1927-1949) the ROC was governed dictatorially by the  Guomindang (Chinese Nationalist Party) under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek . At the end of World War II, the Allies pledged to return T

Chinese Official Says China Might Invade Taiwan If "Peaceful Reunification Takes Too Long"

In a recent interview Wang Zaixi (王在希), a former vice-chairman of China's Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council , said that Beijing might resort to the use of force if "peaceful reunification" between China and Taiwan "takes too long". Wang's statements echo the increasingly assertive stance of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) towards the island since Xi Jinping took office in 2012. In the interview Wang Zaixi stated that although the Taiwan question is a complex issue that must be resolved in the long term, there "must be a sense of urgency towards cross-strait reunification." Wang blamed Taiwan 's democratic process for slowing down the prospect of a peaceful solution of the cross-strait issue, arguing that because of the transfer of power from the pro-unification to the pro-independence coalition the possibility of peaceful unification "is gradually being lost." In 2014 and 2015 the Guomindang, Taiwan's