|[a] Tradition RF|
|[b] Replica RF|
—"One-party" summed up the Republic of China quite well in 1985. By 1986 (as readers who continue with these posts will see), that situation was changing.
—The competition, if it can be called that, with what people routinely called "mainland China" (中國大陸), was far more intense in 1985 than it is today. Nixon's visit to China in 1972 and Carter's recognition of the People's Republic in 1978 were catastrophic events on Taiwan (especially the latter). 1985 was, in my own hindsight, a dividing line—a kind of last stand for the statement that Taiwan was the legitimate government of China (which was still printed in the 1986 Republic of China Annual (I picked up my copy in October of 1985).
—Although I was not aware of it at the time, the miniature world of "Window on China" in Lungtan opened in the mid-1980s, just before I arrived. There, "China" can be found a 1/25 the size. I do not think it coincidental that such a park opened during the height of what I call "the insecurities." It was envisioned (more than a decade earlier), just as the international ground was moving in new directions; it opened during a time of cultural (and political) loss. It has become a very different kind of tourist attraction today, but so, too, have newspapers and television shows taken on a distinctly different tenor. Taiwan is a very different place today than it was in 1985.
26 November 1985
Above all, it is a little place with an oversize inferiority complex. Taiwan (aka the Republic of China) apparently thinks that China’s problems are testimony, in reverse, to its own government and economic system. Their behavior, however, reveals a deep-rooted insecurity. They make national heroes of newspapermen, tennis players, and anticommunist scholars, but not because of their reporting, their tennis, or their scholarship. They are heroes because, sometimes inadvertently, they embarrass the People’s Republic of China.
Obscure pro-Taiwan comments uttered by a city councilman in Panama City may find their way to the headlines of the China Times. The unofficial line of the Guomindang government is “be good to your friends.” Among their friends are a number of countries not exactly revered in world circles: South Africa and El Salvador, among others. They are friends because they hate communism and have set up diplomatic relations here. The Republic of China is isolated in world diplomacy, and they’ll take what they can get.
|[c] Temple of Heaven (Taiwan) RF|