Information about the Taiwanese Flag: Colors and Meaning of the Flag of Taiwan
In this Country Profile
:: Meaning of the Taiwanese Flag ::
Taiwan, or officially, the Republic of China, is still unrecognized as a member of the United Nations, as mainland China or the People’s Republic of China still claims that Taiwan is a part of the mainland and should not be independently represented. The political dispute over sovereignty has been going on for years. This political riff causes tension between the China and Taiwan, and its citizens now have an identity crisis, as they themselves do not know if they should call themselves Taiwanese or Chinese. Taiwan attends international events as an independent representative, usually under the name of Taiwan, as the island is known internationally.
Taiwan has its own national flag, known as the “white sun in blue sky.” Its full name is “blue Sky, white sun, and a wholly red earth,” which is Mandarin Chinese is called Qing Tian, Bái Rì, Man Dì Hóng. The name describes the full attributes of the Taiwanese national flag. It was officially adopted on the 17th of December 1928.
There are sanctions however in using the national flag of Taiwan. In international sports competitions like the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, FIFA World Cup, Asian Games and Asian Paralympic Games, it is only allowed to participate as a separate representative nation if it competes under the name Chinese Taipei, with Taipei being the capital city of Taiwan. It also had to use another anthem and flag design for the Olympic Games when the International Olympics Committee ruled out its participation as a separate Chinese delegation. Therefore, since 1980, the flag for international games uses the blue sky and white sun emblem, plus the logo of the international game. These are enclosed in the outline of Taiwan’s national flower, Prunus Mei or the plum blossom, with five petals to represent the five branches of its government. The inner outline of the plum blossom is in red while the outer outline is in blue. The outlines and the emblems are positioned on a field of white.
The national flag of Taiwan has a canton on the top left corner of the hoist side of the flag. The canton is in deep blue with a white sun with twelve rays. The rest of the flag is in red.
Color and Meaning
The official colors of Taiwan’s flag are blue, red and white. Democracy and equality are represented by the color white. Red is symbolic of the people’s fraternity and livelihood. Blue is a representation of liberty and nationalism. These colors and meanings follow The Three Principles of the People, developed by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, recognized by both Mainland China and Taiwan as the “Father of the Nation.” The white sun represents progress. It has 12 rays that are meant to symbolize the twelve months of the year and the twelve hours of traditional Chinese hours, called “shíchén,” which is actually two hours or “xiaoshí” for each ray, for a total of 24 hours in a day. The flag’s size is 2 by 3.
The blue field with the white sun with twelve rays was designed on February 21, 1895 by Lu Hao-tung. Lu Hao-tung was the first revolutionary martyr and close friend and classmate of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. The blue canton with the white sun was the flag of the Kuomintang Party, also called the Chinese Nationalist Party and was flown for the first time in 1917 in Mainland China. Dr. Sun Yat-sen, also known as Sun Zhongshan, the leader of the Kuomintang Party decided to add the red field in 1906 to symbolize the blood of all the people who willingly sacrificed their lives to bring down the Qing Dynasty which led to the creation of the Republic of China. The red color is also the color that represents the Han Chinese. The flag was initially flown all over China (mainland) before the civil war.
When dictatorial president Yuan Shikai outlawed the Kuomintang Party in 1913, Dr Sun Yat-sen continued to use the modern-day flag while holding a government-in-exile in Tokyo, Japan. He still used the flag when he was able to come back to Mainland China and re-established the Kuomintang Party in 1917 in Guangzhou until the Beijing government was toppled. The Chinese Civil War in 1929 up to the early part of 1950, fought between the Kuomintang Party and the Communist Party of China divided China into two – the ROC or the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China (Mainland). Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s successor, Chiang Kai-shek transferred to Taiwan and Mao Zedong established his communist government in the mainland. Chiang Kai-shek’s government continued to use the original flag while the Mao Zedong had a new flag designed.
The national flag of Taiwan is freely used in the island, but due to the ambiguous status of Taiwan in the international scene, its use is always controversial outside of the country. Supporters of Chinese reunification believe that it is a symbol of its historical links with the Chinese mainland. Taiwanese independence supporters on the other hand are rejecting that idea, for the same reason – its link to the mainland. While the People’s Republic of China had been rejecting its use and rebuking Taiwan for insisting on being independent, the tension has somewhat cooled down since the early part of year 2000, looking at the flag as a connection between the two.
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