The Republic of China calendar (traditional Chinese: 民國紀元; pinyin: Mínguó jìyuán) is the method of numbering years currently used in the Republic of China (ROC) (Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu). It was used in mainland China from 1912 until the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
Following the Imperial tradition of using the sovereign's era name and year of reign, official ROC documents use the Republic (Chinese: 民國; pinyin: míngúo; literally "The Country of the People") system of numbering years in which the first year (民國元年) was 1912, the year of the founding of the Republic of China. For example, 2010 is the "99th year of the Republic" (民國九十九年, 民國99年, or simply 99). As Chinese era names are traditionally two characters long, 民國 (Republic) is employed as an abbreviation of 中華民國 (Republic of China).
To find out the ROC year equivalent to any C.E. year, subtract the C.E. year by 1911 (the year of the revolution which led to the formation of the ROC). For example: 2010 C.E. - 1911 = 99th year of the Republic.
Months and days are numbered according to the Gregorian calendar. Based on Chinese National Standard CNS 7648: Data Elements and Interchange Formats—Information Interchange—Representation of Dates and Times, (similar to ISO 8601), year numbering may use the A.D. system as well as the ROC era. For example, May 3, 2004 may be written 2004-05-03 or R.O.C.93-05-03.
The ROC era numbering happens to be the same as the numbering used by the Juche calendar of North Korea, because its founder, Kim Il-sung, was born in 1912. The years in Japan's Taishō period (July 30, 1912 to December 25, 1926) are also coincident with the ROC era.
Arguments for and against
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The original intention was to follow the Chinese culture of name the years according to the years of the Emperor, which with the lack of Christianity's (BC before Christ) universal appeal back then, were the universally recognizable events in China. However following the establishment of the Republic, hence the lack of an Emperor, it was then decided to use the year of the establishment of the current regime. Noting that this reduces the issue of frequent change in the calendar, as no Emperor has ruled more than 61 years in Chinese history—the longest being Kangxi Emperor who ruled from 1662–1722 (Kangxi 61). (Qianlong Emperor abdicated in 1795, i.e. Qianlong 60, but the reign name of Qianlong is still used unofficially until his death in 1799 i.e. Qianlong 64.)
The use of the ROC era system extends beyond official documents. When used to mark expiration dates on products for export, they can be misunderstood as having an expiration date 11 years earlier than intended. Misinterpretation is more likely in the cases when the prefix (R.O.C. or 民國) is omitted.
There have been legislative proposals to abolish the Republican calendar in favor of the Gregorian calendar.
- ↑ Chuang, Jimmy. "Taiwan may drop idiosyncratic Republican calendar". Taipei Times, February 25, 2006, page 1. Accessed 20 July 2009.