October 10, 2007

Taiwan Sees Double

October is festival time in China - before the Mid-Autumn Festival, an ancient lunar tradition - are the national days of the Chinese Republic, October 1 to celebrate the founding of the People's Republic in 1949 and October 10 (or Double Ten) for the founding of the first Republic in 1911.

Last week was a week-long holiday (a "Golden Week") for urban Chinese and was marked by an upsurge in consumer spending (how American!) and travelling. Today is Double Ten holiday in Taiwan marked by an ugly display of militarism - a parade of missiles, armored vehicles, and painted soldiers.

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian smiled and waved and played the petty dictator despite dwindling political support and historic low approval ratings. It has been almost 20 years since Taiwan saw fit to celebrate with a military parade. Is it a last ditch effort by Chen and his US and Japanese backers to provoke a confrontation with Beijing? We'll find out by March ...

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