October is generally a time of celebration in China. But this year, it has brought the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) much trouble. The call for universal suffrage in Hong Kong is said to have struck a raw nerve in the CCP, and the idea of democracy is catching on in the minds of a few people in the mainland as well.
After the promise of universal suffrage was canceled by the National People’s Congress, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have been ongoing since Sept. 22, with up to 200,000 people crowding the streets every day.
Taiwan’s president also seized the opportunity to openly side with the protestors, saying universal suffrage in Hong Kong would be a good thing. Some mainlanders think so too.
Media censorship on the mainland of the Hong Kong student protests has been extensive. But many mainland Chinese have still managed to obtain factual information, and some have declared that they were not celebrating the Oct. 1 founding of the People’s Republic of China under the CCP, but were instead celebrating “Double Ten” (Oct. 10), the founding of the Republic of China, which is the current ruling government in Taiwan.
While hosting the KMT Central Standing Committee meeting, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said if universal suffrage were implemented in Hong Kong, it would have a positive effect on cross-strait relations between Taiwan and China; if this will not happen, the future of cross-strait relations will be negatively affected, Ma said.
Taiwan Reunification Challenge to China
Ma’s remarks have sparked online debates in the mainland, especially around the time of the “Double Ten” celebration, with some Chinese net users saying the call for universal suffrage will force the CCP to reveal its true nature.
A Zhejiang resident mock-challenged the Chinese authorities, saying: “You’ve been shouting about reuniting Taiwan and threatening it with war. But all these decades I’ve not seen any use of force; you were just putting on a show for us to watch every day! Now that Taiwan has publicly stated that if China adopts universal suffrage, Taiwan will reunite with China immediately, the evil CCP cult shuts up. What a loud slap on the face! Why don’t you shout your variety of reunification excuses again? Now that Taiwan has brought it to a showdown – universal suffrage will lead to reunification – how come you [CCP] have become so quiet?”
A Shandong resident said that in Taiwan, whether it’s the KMT or the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), they have the confidence that they can win elections. The Communist Party here also has confidence – it knows for certain that it would lose (free) elections. Therefore, as soon as universal suffrage was brought up, the CCP wilted immediately.
National Day Celebrations
Writer and poet Wu Hao wrote on Oct. 1: “Many people eulogize today’s ‘National Day’ among their circle of friends, but I think today is the motherland’s ‘Good Friday.’ It is on this day that our nation completely lost its soul and root. Instead, Oct. 10 (‘Double Ten’) is the genuine birthday of our country, and I hope someday we can legally celebrate this day!”
Mainland Chinese netizen Wu Shenmei wrote: “Double Ten Day is coming. Although I am in red-scourged mainland China, I aspire to the broad daylight in Taiwan. Bless Taiwan. Bless the Republic of China! Happy National Day!”
Shanghai resident posted the KMT party’s Republic of China flag together with “Happy Double Ten Day” on Weibo on Oct. 10, 2014.
On the morning of Oct. 9, activists Ye Guoqiang, Yang Qiuyu, and Wang Yuqin gathered at Ye’s home in Beijing to commemorate Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China 103 years ago. They held a Taiwanese flag and a sign that urged for the implementation of universal suffrage and civil liberties, and to show support for Hong Kong’s umbrella movement.
A mainland Chinese lawyer wrote on his Sina Weibo: “Today is October 10, the ‘Double Ten Day’ for the Republic of China. Ma Ying-jeou, as usual, delivered a speech to the Taiwanese people. In fact, mainland Chinese people miss the Republic of China, mostly missing the rather tolerant freedom of thought, speech, assembly and the strikes at the time, which the mainland lacks right now. A vibrant society must be a free society rather than a society where the government has boundless power and [imposes] massive restraints.”
Shanghai freelance writer Du Yangming wrote: “Sixty five years ago, the CCP took advantage of people’s ignorance about communism and fabricated a beautiful vision, luring countless youngsters to ‘help’ the CCP overthrow the KMT, drive the democratic system of the ‘Three People’s Principles’ to Taiwan, and complete the wicked founding of the People’s Republic of China…. All remnants of democracy in China instituted during the KMT era, such as lifting the ban on newspaper publications, forming of political parties, allowing rallies and parades, are now banned by the CCP.”
Read the original Chinese article. Written in English by Gisela Sommer.