The desired Taiwan by China is gradually disappearing


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There was a time when the smile of a dictator would greet you wherever you went in Taiwan—it was a widespread phenomenon.

Because of the removal of an increasing number of those likenesses, which once numbered more than 40,000, it is now a sight that is much less common.

Around two hundred statues have been hidden away in a park that is located on the riverfront south of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. In this particular location, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek can be seen standing, sitting, dressed in the uniform of a marshal, dressed in the robes of a scholar, riding a stallion, surrounded by children who are loving him, and in his dotage leaning on a walking stick.

Even in a democratic Taiwan, it will appear that there is no longer any room for the former monarch.

This next Saturday, Taiwan will hold elections for a new government, which will once again put the island's developing identity to the test. China is increasingly concerned about Taiwan's claim of a Taiwanese identity, which it views as a threat to the possibility of what it refers to as "peaceful reunification" with the mainland. This concern grows with each election.

In 1949, Chiang fled China in order to avoid the oncoming defeat that he was going to suffer at the hands of Mao Zedong's communist forces during the civil war. He arrived in Taiwan, which later became the Republic of China and continues to be a part of China to this day. It was Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party that established the People's Republic of China, which was the name given to the mainland. Both parties assert ownership of the other's area. On the other hand, neither Chiang nor Mao conceived of Taiwan as a distinct location with a distinct population. But that is exactly what it has turned into.

In contrast to Taiwan, China's claims have never been diminished. On the other hand, practically everything else on either side of the 100-mile strait has seen significant changes. China has become more powerful, wealthy, and an evident threat in recent years.

Taiwan has achieved the status of a democratic nation and is currently in the midst of yet another election, which is putting its relations with Beijing to the test. Its freedom poses a threat to the hopes of unification held by the Chinese Communist Party, regardless of the outcome of the referendum that will take place on Saturday.

In the same way that Chiang does, there are still people who consider themselves to be Chinese; they look to China with admiration and even a sense of desire. On the other hand, there are people who have a strong affiliation with Taiwan. According to their perspective, Beijing is only another colonizing foreign force, similar to Chiang and the Japanese before him.

In addition, there are approximately 600,000 indigenous peoples who can trace their genealogy back thousands of years. In addition, there is a younger generation that is conflicted and frightened of inquiries concerning their particular identity. They are of Taiwanese descent, yet they do not believe that Taiwan should proclaim its independence.

Despite the fact that they wish to have a peaceful relationship with China and conduct business with it, they have no intention of ever being a part of it.

"I belong to Taiwan. "However, I have faith in the Republic of China," adds a woman in her fifties who is dressed in tinsel and Christmas lights, much like Elton John.

During an electoral rally for the Kuomintang, often known as the KMT, which Chiang headed until his death in 1975, this is an unusual response to come from the audience. The county of Taoyuan, which is considered to be their heartland, is the location where tens of thousands of people have gathered to watch their presidential candidate, Ho You-ih.

As its longtime adversary, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Kuomintang (KMT) is negotiating peace and dialogue with the CCP. It asserts that Taiwan can only flourish if it engages in dialogue with Beijing.

"We ought to be friends with the mainland," the woman says with a chuckle. "We can make money together!"

The sound of patriotic rock is so loud that it drowns out her name, making it impossible to hear.

As Chiang Wan-an, the great-grandson of Chiang Kai-shek and a rising star in the KMT, takes the stage, there is a huge roar of approval from the audience.

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