Academic journal article International Journal of China Studies

Chinese/Taiwanese Nationalism, CrossStrait Relations and an InevitableWar? - A Review of Dongching Day's Inevitable War?! (2012)

Academic journal article International Journal of China Studies

Chinese/Taiwanese Nationalism, CrossStrait Relations and an InevitableWar? - A Review of Dongching Day's Inevitable War?! (2012)

Article excerpt


This article reviews Dong-ching Day's 201 2 book Inevitable War?! by scrutinizing a series of central arguments Day makes in the book in the context of the prevailing understanding of cross-Strait relations and international strategic relations. The peculiar characteristics of the present dilemma facing Taiwan as a de facto independent nation-state in the shadow of a mainland China fast rising to be the world's new superpower and the concomitant pressing issues of nationalism on both sides make various key questions recurrent in the literature now highlighted in the book germane and thought-provoking.

Keywords: Taiwan, China, crossStrait relations, nationalism, war

JEL classification: F51, F52, F55, F59

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

Dong-ching Day's 201 2 book ... (literally meaning "Cross-Strait war eventually inevitable?! ")1 by Associate Professor Dong-ching Day ... from the Department of International and China Studies, Nanhua University, Taiwan, is an unusual piece of work. It is unusual in various aspects. First is the length of time spent on interest" and America's major interest concerning Taiwan. Adding to Waltz's three factors, Day raises the possibility of accidental triggering of crisis, citing the assassination of Austrian crown prince Franz Ferdinand in 1 91 4 as pointed out by Joseph S. Nye, Jr. in his book Understanding International Conflicts: An introduction to Theory and History3 and the earlier-than-expected breaking-out of the Hsin-hai (Xinhai) Revolution ( ... ).

Day's second chapter discusses the interesting issue of the formation of a "Taiwanese identity" and the debate between a school that traces the germination of "Taiwanese nationalism" back to the ceding of Taiwan to Japan in 1 895 and its proper formation triggered by the 228 massacre in 1 947 and brutal repression by the Kuomintang ... 4; in other words, a Taiwanese identity was born directly as a counteraction to Japanese colonial rule and the Kuamintang repression which shared similarity in combining political repression and cultural assimilation. Contrary to this view of attributing the birth of a Taiwanese identity to the two "foreign" political administrations, there is another school that traces the formation of this identity only back to the 1 895 cession but not to the 228 massacre. Such divergence is in fact rather political, as it all boils down to one's perspective on whether a so-called "Taiwanese identity" is part and parcel of a wider Chinese identity for in this context recognizing the 228 massacre as a milestone is tantamount to saying that the Taiwanese had finally turned their back on the Han Chinese after the turning point of the 228 massacre. Across the Taiwan Strait, Day notes the rediscovery by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)5 of the usefulness of nationalism in strengthening citizens' loyalty to the ruling Party and the country in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War and the demise of communist party rule in most other parts of the world, leading to its embrace both by the intellectuals who have produced countless books and essays in rousing ovation for such nationalism and the wider masses who made books with titles like "China Can Say No"6 instant best sellers in the country, accompanied by the inexplicable reemergence of Maolatry - the veneration, the hero worship of the one person in recent Chinese history who caused such unparalleled level of human misery through murderous purges, crime against humanity via mindless grassroots political persecution, man-made famine through whimsical economic policies that led even to widespread cannibalism.

In contrast to the rising Chinese nationalism in the early 20th Century whose main contents - like those reemerged in the Tiananmen student movement in 1 989 - circled around the resentment against government corruption and the aspiration for a clean and able government, today's new government-promoted nationalism in mainland China is in support of and serving to strengthen the governing legitimacy of the present unelected ruling party and the authority of the present political institution that outlaws any attempt in electoral challenge to the CCP, while abiding by CCP's rhetoric in emphasizing the importance of political stability rather than political change. …

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