Tue, Mar 26, 2002 - Page 8 News List

Embracing Taiwan's independence

By Chen Lung-chu 陳隆志

China has become more and more vocal in its opposition to what it calls "incremental Taiwan independence." It opposes any form of Taiwan independence.

But what does "Taiwan independence" mean? It means that Taiwan has an independent na-tional status, that it is a sovereign nation. This nation is not part of the jurisdiction of the PRC, nor is it ruled by Beijing. It is not a Chinese province, nor is it one of China's domestic problems. Not for one single day during the 53 years since the establishment of the PRC on Oct. 1, 1949, has China ruled Taiwan, nor has Taiwan for a single day been under its jurisdiction. Taiwan's independence has been the political reality in the Taiwan Strait for a long time.

There are four crucial components to the modern nation state: a people, an effectively controlled territory, a government and the ability to interact with other nations in the international arena. Having a name is not crucial to obtaining statehood.

People emphasizing these four components of statehood say that Taiwan is an independent and sovereign state. People who em-phasize the name ROC say that the ROC is an independent and sovereign state. Sovereignty means having the ultimate power to deal with domestic and international affairs. Being "independent" means that a state is independent from interference, rule and the jurisdiction of other states.

Sovereignty and independence are the characteristics of a state. Taiwan possesses both. Today's Taiwan is democratic and free because it is independent from China. Taiwan's economic development is rooted in its independence, which also explains why Taiwan can democratize and localize. It is because of the reality of Taiwan independence, that it can avoid PRC or Chinese Communist Party rule and jurisdiction and avoid becoming communist. This also explains how it is that Taiwan has been able to adjust to global trends towards liberal economics, democracy and civil society and transform a political body relying on martial law, authoritarianism and White Terror into a democratic and free country respecting human rights.

The people of Taiwan have sacrificed much and struggled together relentlessly to transform our overseas independence movement into a domestic democracy movement. Martial law and authoritarianism were replaced by democracy, and KMT one-party dictatorship was removed by a peaceful transfer of power.

Taiwan has developed a unique political, economic, social and cultural system, developing in the process a national awareness based on popular sovereignty and the feeling of a common future. Anyone who recognizes Taiwan as his or her own country is Taiwanese, regardless of when they arrived in Taiwan.

In short, it could be said that Taiwan independence is the foundation of Taiwan's existence and development. Without Tai-wan independence, the Taiwan of today would not exist.

The Chinese Communist Party's desire to force Taiwan to accept the "one China" principle is a desire to change Taiwan's actual status as an independent nation and bring it under the rule of the PRC.

An absolute majority of the people of Taiwan want to maintain the status quo. That is Tai-wan's status as an independent state. Even now, however, people still start puffing as soon as they hear the words "Taiwan indepen-dence" and begin to argue with independence advocates, trying to blur the facts with emotional and abusive rhetoric instead of rational thinking and dialogue.

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