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A National Day celebration amid political tension

Two Taiwanese photographers capture how Chinatown united on the 111th National Day of the Republic of China.

October 13, 2022

This past Oct. 10 marks the 111th National Day of the Republic of China, now popularly referred to as Taiwan. The day commemorates the start of a revolution that eventually toppled the millennia-long dynastic rule in China and created the first democratic regime in Eastern Asia. Since then, the People’s Republic of China — the authoritarian communist regime that came to power after the Chinese Civil War — drove the Republic of China out of China. The dynamic between the two has remained tense ever since.

Tension is at an all-time high this year. On this national day, the atmosphere back home has been fraught with anxiety. Following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the Chinese military retaliated with a series of drills and taunted a potential invasion. Here in New York City, communities in Chinatown have come together to share our culture and coexist in peace.

A collage of two photos: the one on the right is a banner that translates to “Republic of China Double Ten.” On the left is a banner that translates to “Celebration.”
Two dancing tigers and one dancing dragon march through the procession on Mulberry Street.

The Wu-Long-Wu-Shi, which translates to the dancing dragon and the dancing lion, is a traditional Chinese celebratory performance popular across East Asia. Performers manipulate the Wu-Long-Wu-Shi from underneath, and their movements are choreographed to imitate the movement of dragons and tigers, which symbolize mythical guardians in traditional culture.

A dancing dragon marches through the parade on Worth Street.
A group of Chinese Veterans dressed in military uniforms marches through Mulberry Street.
Attendees holding a red banner that reads “Chinatown Day Care Center” marches down Bowery. On the left are four men dressed in black suits holding the American and Taiwanese flags.
Two bouquets of flowers sit on the pedestal of a statue of Sun Yat-sen in Columbus Park.

In Columbus Park, bouquets of flowers sit on the pedestal of a statue of Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China.

Attendees holding Taiwanese flags and a red banner that translates to “The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York” march down Mulberry Street.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York — the de-facto embassy of Republic of China Taiwan in New York — sent its representatives to the parade.

The procession marches down East Broadway. A black dancing tiger is in the foreground. New York City Hall is in the background.

As Mindy Wu, the president of the Taiwanese American Student Society at NYU, puts it: “We want to share Taiwanese culture with everyone here and we wouldn’t want politics to exclude anyone from learning about our culture.”

A collage of two photos: a red sign that translates to “peace” on the right; a photo of a Republic of China flag flying in the foreground and a People’s Republic of China flag in the background.

There were no signs of protesters around the parade. The flags of the Republic of China Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China fly next to each other in the streets of Chinatown. With the national day parade, Chinatown has found a way to coexist in peace, celebrating our culture and history despite our political differences.

Text by Samson Tu | Photo by Samson Tu and Andy Lee

Contact Samson and Andy at [email protected]

Developed for web by Samson Tu

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