Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Bear and a Complex Character: New Symbols of Taiwanese Patriotism?

Symbols are essential to nationalism, and Taiwan will need more of those if it is to succeed in making the case for its continued existence as a distinct political entity on the international stage 

Developments in China in recent years have showcased how expressions of patriotic or nationalistic fervor can spin out of control and cause apprehension in the region. 

Several incidents in recent months, from online campaigns launched by the Communist Youth League against “separatist” performance artists to Beijing’s intransigent stance in the South China Sea dispute, stem from a deepening of the Chinese nationalism cultivated by the Chinese Communist Party and drilled into the minds and hearts of Chinese citizens from a very young age. Some would argue that the Chinese nationalism on display today, what with the many references to Han blood and militaristic undertones, is now approaching its much more worrying related cousin — fascism. 

Across the Taiwan Strait, the liberal-democratic nation of Taiwan, which China regards as indivisibly part of its territory since time immemorial (nationalism again), has countered the overbearing Chinese narrative much more quietly. 

My article, published today in The News Lens International, continues here.

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