Earlier in the week, the Taiwanese media reported on how Chinese delegates to the 2006 International Children's Games in Bangkok scuffled with members of the Taiwanese delegation when Taiwanese medal winners tried to display the ROC flag. Footage of this ugly incident was widely shown on Taiwanese TV news channels on Thursday and Friday and can now be seen on Youtube.com.
Today the Liberty Times broke the story of how the Chinese Oriental Sports Daily is referring to Taiwan's national hero of the moment Wang Chien-ming as a 'Chinese pitcher' and 'Chinese player'. The headline at the top of the page reads 'Chinese Pitcher Dominates American League.'
While political Taiwanese nationalism may temporarily be at low tide, incidents like these steadily feed the feelings of Taiwanese identity that underly Taiwanese nationalism.
These incidents also dovetail in an interesting way with the use of identity rhetoric by the 'Dump Chen' movement that is preparing to stage sit-ins on Ketegalan Boulevard and its more radical ally, the Democratic Action Alliance. The Dump Chen movement's 'Mobilization Poem', for example, begins by telling sit-in particpants to find an empty spot that is "the land of Taiwan that we love." On Saturday, the Action Alliance held a traditional Taiwanese exorcism ritual to expel Chen's evil spirit.
Both gestures suggest that Taiwanese identity provides a potent rhetoric that the enemies of Taiwanese nationalism in its political form need to acknowledge and invoke to give themselves legitimacy.