As Taiwan celebrates the centenary of the Republic of China (ROC), its official title, the question over the island’s sense of identity has also become a subject of concern. Scholars said how the Taiwanese see themselves will affect future cross-strait development.
With the ROC Centennial coming up, memorabilia ranging from sweaters and mugs to flip flops have got many Taiwanese queuing up. A scarf worn by President Ma Ying-jeou on New Year’s Day is the most popular item. Its designer, Felix Kuo, said the first 10,000 scarves were sold within half an hour. The scarf is so popular that it is now on backorder for three months.
However in the midst of frantic sales, what does the republic really mean to most Taiwanese? After six decades of separation from the mainland, the majority of Taiwanese today seem to have a different interpretation of the name ROC.
Eric Yu, Assistant Professor at National Chengchi University, said: “In recent years, most Taiwanese have accepted that the ROC is Taiwan. In other words, the concept no longer includes mainland China.”