Last Sunday, a sea of red and yellow PRC flags popped up at a pro-unification rally in Ximending, one of Taipei’s most popular tourist districts, becoming the center of attention. Police placed barricades up to separate the pro-China campaigners from angry passersby.
The rally was organized by a local group known as the Concentric Patriotism Alliance (CPA), which has been calling for a peaceful reunification with China under a “one country, two systems” model, ETtoday reports.
A CPA member told reporters that they were planting the flags in order to “stop the Japs from taking over Taiwan.”
Pro-independence protesters also showed up at the rally, tearing up PRC flags from outside the barricades.
One pro-independence protester was spotted with a signboard calling for independence: “One country on each side. One Taiwan, One China.”
With a history of threatening Falun Gong practitioners, blasting propaganda music and attacking locals since as early as 2013, the CPA is regarded as a disturbance by many Taiwanese.
China policy researcher and journalist J. Michael Cole commented in 2014, that the CPA has ties with the Bamboo Union (Taiwan’s biggest triad), KMT (the former ruling party of Taiwan) and the Chinese Communist Party.
Flags have often been at the center of cross-strait controversies. Back in January, one unfortunate 16-year-old Taiwanese K-pop singer was forced to issue a groveling apology for hurting the feelings of the Chinese people after she waved a Taiwanese flag on an online broadcast.
A brief report on the incident was circulated on Weibo, but it makes no mention of the conflict between the opposing sides.
“Generally speaking, Taiwan is much more tolerant than China. Guess what could happen to you if you wave the Taiwanese flag in Beijing?” commented a Weibo user.
While some Chinese netizens see the merits of tolerance and freedom of speech and flag-waiving in Taiwan, the majority side with the pro-unification campaigners.
“Having China’s flags all over Taiwan. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?” reads the top comment in one Weibo thread, receiving 776 likes.
“The Taiwanese flag has no place in the mainland because the world recognizes only one China, which is the PRC. This has nothing to do with democracy,” echoed another Weibo user, receiving 456 likes.
By Victor Fung
[Images via ETtoday]