Competing Narratives, Identity Politics, and Cross-Strait Reconciliation

After nearly 60 years of political confrontation, hopes for cross-Taiwan Strait reconciliation have run high since the traditionally pro-unification Nationalist Party (the Kuomingtang, KMT) returned to power in Taiwan in May 2008. However, obstacles to reconciliation remain daunting, due to a fundamental disjuncture between the ideological beliefs of the two sides, in particular because China and Taiwan still lack a shared memory of Taiwanese history that can serve as the foundation for their reconciliation. This article examines a wide variety of sources from Taiwan and China over recent decades. It illustrates their conspicuous memory gap over the history of the island. Cross-Strait reconciliation needs to begin with recognizing rather than ignoring or covering up the memory gap. Dialogues and joint studies should be carried out to better understand each other’s political perspective and emotional appeal associated with historical memory.

Suggested Citation

Yinan He. "Competing Narratives, Identity Politics, and Cross-Strait Reconciliation" Asian Perspective 34.4 (2010): 45-83