Former Vice President and onetime KMT chairman Lien Chan, a two-time candidate for president (2000 and 2004), sparked controversy by attending a massive military parade in Beijing on September 3, which marked the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Japan to end World War II, or the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression as it is known in China.
The KMT had asked senior members not to attend due to differing views on who deserves credit for defeating the Japanese – the Nationalists, who ultimately lost China’s civil war and fled to Taiwan in 1949, or the Communists, who took power in China. KMT party doctrine credits the Nationalist army, but Lien was quoted as saying both the Communists and Nationalists “cooperated unanimously” to fight the Japanese. President Ma criticized Lien’s attendance as “inappropriate.”
The parade was shunned by most world leaders, although Russia’s Vladimir Putin and war-crime fugitive Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, were in attendance, as was Tony Blair, former prime minister of the United Kingdom. Ostensibly intended to honor the soldiers and citizens who fought the Japanese, the parade was also seen as a display of China’s growing military clout, with some 12,000 soldiers marching alongside ballistic missiles, tanks, drones, and other advanced weapons systems. Analysts and pundits consider the event a tacit warning to both Taiwan and the United States that China now has the capability to press its demands on Taiwan for unification.