Striding Towards Democracy
The Republic of China (ROC) took control of Taiwan after World War II, and Taiwanese people felt hopeful about escaping from colonial rule and “returning to the motherland.” They were active in politics, until they fell silent after the February 28 Incident. After the ROC central government withdrew to Taiwan, cross-strait military confrontation ensued, and the government began restricting people’s freedoms. Martial law was imposed for 38 years. The government revered Chinese culture, and also carried out local elections, portraying Taiwan as a model province of “Free China.” As one generation gave way to the next, there was an upsurge in activism and repeated sacrifices and struggles. Gradually, support for “Taiwanese identity” became part of society’s mainstream. From the lifting of martial law, termination of the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of National Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion, to its first direct presidential election, the ROC transformed itself into a country of direct democracy. The difficult road to democracy has been a process of negotiation and conflict, and it has also been a life experience through which recent generations of Taiwanese people have taken care of each other and engaged in dialogues.