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Republic of China celebrates centenary

January 31, 2012 - TAIWAN

A year of festivities marking the centenary of the founding of the Republic of China (Taiwan) ends on Jan 1, 2012. The events on the eve of the big day include a mass bike ride -- 1 million cyclists riding simultaneously in a clockwise direction from 10 points around Taiwan -- the largest-ever Buddhist procession and an outsized countdown clock in a Taipei park. Taiwanese embassies will also be staging celebrations. Taiwanese embassies will also be staging celebrations. The centenary is looming as a contentious political issue, and occurs in the same month as the island's election. Despite the contention, memorabilia ranging from sweaters and mugs to flip flops is said to be flying off the shelves. In the past the president gave out chocolate coins. To commemorate the centenary, he will distribute coins.

A year of festivities marking the centenary of the founding of the Republic of China (Taiwan) ends on Jan 1, 2012. The events on the eve of the big day include a mass bike ride -- 1 million cyclists riding simultaneously in a clockwise direction from 10 points around Taiwan -- the largest-ever Buddhist procession and an outsized countdown clock in a Taipei park. Taiwanese embassies will also be staging celebrations. The procession, expected to draw the participation of hundreds of thousands of Buddhists, starts Dec 25 in Greater Kaohsiung. The 22-day event will cover all 19 administrative regions in Taiwan, traveling in a counter-clockwise direction. Memorabilia ranging from sweaters and mugs to flip flops is said to be flying off the shelves. In the past the president gave out chocolate coins. To commemorate the centenary, he will distribute coins. The ROC's centennial celebrates the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty by revolutionaries led by Sun Yat-sen and the founding of the ROC in 1912. The overthrow ended 2000 years of imperial rule in China. The government of the right-leaning Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government under President Ma Ying-jeou handed the responsibility for organizing the high-profile celebrations to Vice-President Vincent Siew and the private Republic of China Foundation. He said when he took the job that the year-long celebration, which ends on the actual centenary, is aimed at making Taiwan more visible around the world, cementing national unity and forging harmony in society. Another foundation, Taiwan Tati, describes the celebrations as little more than a pre-election ploy for the ruling party. The organization argues that the ROC's founding on 1 Jan 1912 had scant direct relevance to Taiwan, which had already been ceded "permanently" to Tokyo in 1895 after the Manchu-ruled dynastic regime's humiliating defeat in the 1894-1895 Sino-Japanese War. The foundation speculates that the drive to make much of the centenary relates to the national legislative and presidential elections in the same month. The foundation notes that despite touting of "the ROC of 1912" by the KMT camp, the state which now uses the ROC moniker does not control 99 per cent of the territory of the ROC in 1912,which is now under the actually-existing sovereignty of the Chinese Communist Party-ruled People's Republic of China. ;

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

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: 2012-01-31