The more China tells the world that Taiwan isn’t a country, the more Beijing’s adversaries are starting to treat it like one.
Ahead of Taiwan’s National Day on Saturday, Beijing’s embassy in New Delhi was reported to have issued a letter telling India’s media not to refer to it as a country or to Tsai Ing-wen as its president. Indians responded by helping the hashtag #TaiwanNationalDay go viral while banners with the Taiwanese flag were hung outside the Chinese Embassy.
“Hats off to friends from around the world this year, #India in particular, for celebrating #TaiwanNationalDay,” Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu wrote in a Twitter post on Saturday.
Instead of marking Taiwan’s independence, a red line that Beijing has warned could trigger an invasion, the day commemorates a 1911 uprising in the central Chinese city of Wuhan against China’s last imperial dynasty. That led to the creation of the Republic of China, which leader Chiang Kai-shek then brought to Taiwan seven decades ago when he fled as the Communist Party took power.
For many in Taiwan today, the Republic of China seems like a historical relic with diminishing relevance for the democracy of 24 million people. Taiwan has long abandoned Chiang’s goal of reconquering what he knew as the mainland, and polls show that more and more Taiwanese don’t want any unification with China.