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Taiwan and ROC: A critical analysis of President Chen Shui-bien's construction of Taiwan identity in national speeches

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Names used to address Taiwan - such as taiwan and zhonghuamingguo (Republic of China [ROC]) - are symbols defining Taiwan's political realities, each with their own unique historical significance. Since his election in 2000, Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bien has had to alternate between taiwan and ROC to strike a balance among conflicting ideas about Taiwan's national identity. The act is grounded in complex political discourse dictating that Taiwan must not be seen as separate from the sinic world and simultaneously to respond to steadily rising Taiwanese consciousness. Facing intercessions by the United States and China, as well as ever-present domestic clashes, rhetorical exigency requires the president to fashion unique political discourse concerning what Taiwan is and ought to be. This study explores how these names and related expressions are used in Chen's public addresses to the nation during his two-term tenure from 2000 to 2008, and how their development reflects the struggle over Taiwan's national identity.
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Keywords: Taiwan identity; naming practices; political symbols; presidential speech

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Illinois, Chicago, USA 2: Northern Illinois University, USA

Publication date: 01 September 2009

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