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Ceremony marks 1958 shelling and centenary

August 23, 2011 - TAIWAN

A rally originally described as marking the shelling of Kinmen Island by Chinese troops in 1958 appears to evolved into an bell-ringing ceremony celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China. President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in 2008 on a platform of dialog with Beijing. He has to tread carefully with the so-called Peace Day event or risks undoing warming cross-Strait relations. A peace bell made from melted down mortar shells will be rung at the ceremony.

China threatens to invade if Taipei declares formal independence. Ma placed Vice President Vincent Siew in charge of organizing the Aug 23 events, which include a rally at the Kuningtou Peace Memorial Square on the outlying Kinmen Island&mdashthe front line of hostilities between Taiwan and China during the Cold War. He has emphazed that the theme of the day will be peace, a concession to China, and an earlier announcement said a Nobel Peace Prize laureate will be invited to the ceremony. Many Taiwanese object to Ma's concession's to China, so he will need to tread a thin line. The island is nearly evenly split between the ruling nationalist unification ideology, and the Democratic Progressive Party opposition to unification with China.

Republic of China foundation to plan centenary events (Taipei Times 16 Jan 2010)

Taiwan begins celebrating Republic of China centenary (Kyodo/FreeLibrary 1 Jan 2011)

Lavish centenary plans draw concern (Global Times-China 13 Mar 2010)

Museum to close for renovation to welcome centenary of 1911 revolution(Xinhua 13 Feb 2011)

Taiwan ready to mark ROC's 100th birthday (China Post 15 Dec 2010)

Office of President of Republic of China (Taiwan)

Ma to give commemorative coins at Chinese New Year (Radio Taiwan 20 Jan 2011)

Redefining the Taiwanese identity (Channel News Asia 10 Feb 2011)

Why Taiwan does not need ROC centenary (Taiwan News 10 Nov 2009)

Date written/update: 2011-08-23