Today on Facebook my college friend Marissa posted a video of Taipei’s New Year’s firework extravaganza. It was a proud moment for Taiwan as this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China.
I can only image the festivities on this year’s double ten, the official anniversary.
When I think of the ROC, I can’t help but think of its short history. An end to China’s dynastic rule, a dramatic escape to Taiwan in 1949, martial law, democratic elections in the mid-1990s, and now pride in its 100th anniversary.
This photo shows the Generalissimo in 1966 addressing crowds in Taiwan just as the Cultural Revolution was heating up on the mainland. Like his counterparts on the mainland, Chiang Kai-shek certainly had his shortcomings. But his life in general (get the pun?) was nothing short of fascinating. His son was kidnapped by the Soviet Union and held hostage there for more than a decade. He married the glamorous Soong Mei-ling. And he lived through some of China’s greatest and most turbulent times.
Chiang died nine years after this photo was taken, a year before Mao.