the KMT and the PFP have flip-flopped repeatedly on the referendum legislation issue. It is disappointing that they have done this merely in consideration of next year's presidential election.
First they criticized the DPP for promoting a referendum, accusing it of promoting independence. They said a referendum would be unconstitutional and would push the country toward annihilation.
Later they decided to usurp the "referendum," "love Taiwan" and "localization" banners. They said they wanted a referendum law enacted this month and a referendum held next month. They also asserted that the unification-independence issue and the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant issue should be resolved together. As they move from opposing referen-dums to supporting them, the opposition parties have not clarified what concepts and ideals might be the basis for their shift.
A referendum law involves the concrete implementation of direct democracy. It is a serious national affair. Political parties should not view this issue as another election strategy.
Political strategists have told the opposition alliance that the Lien-Soong ticket would win next year's election if they could take hold of the "love Taiwan" banner -- supporting referendums including one on unification or independence, opposing "one China," taking a "Taiwan first" stance, etc.
It wouldn't have mattered if the opposition had always supported these policies. The problem is that the KMT and the PFP have long called for a return to the "one China, with each side making its own interpretation" principle or the 1992 consensus.
PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) stated the "constitutional one China" and "one China rooftop" principles. For a long time, the opposition parties have viewed referendum legislation as incremental independence, fearful that it may eventually lead to real independence.
The opposition gave rise to suspicions of self-contradiction in its recent policy u-turn on a referendum on unification or independence. Many commentators have criticized this contradiction, but we have not seen the KMT and the PFP make a thorough explanation.
Both parties are trying to get rid of the "don't love Taiwan" and "sell out Taiwan" labels before the presidential election. That is why they have stumbled repeatedly on the referendum issue.
A political party should have its own core beliefs and values. It should also clearly state these beliefs and values to voters, as well as what policies they will adopt to realize these ideals.
If the KMT and the PFP staunchly oppose independence and believe that Taiwan should unify with China under specific conditions, then they should have the courage to tell voters their platform and their method of implementation.
If these are not the KMT's and PFP's core beliefs, then they should say it clearly and let the voters know exactly how the opposition differs from the DPP on this issue. This is the only upstanding way.
I don't think the KMT and PFP have ever proposed a clear discourse on national sovereignty. At best, they have only proposed the "1992 consensus" or Soong's recent "one China rooftop."
As the prelude to the election campaign begins, many important figures in both parties have been saying that their parties have never advocated "one China." This is bewildering.
Advocating "one China" is not something to be ashamed of, nor would it necessarily cause voters to abandon the advocate. Everything depends on how one explains to voters what is meant by a "one China" policy, the "constitutional one China" or the "one China rooftop."
How to clarify cross-strait relations under those abstract poli-cies? What about the future direction of the country's development? Are we moving toward eventual unification? How to establish the nation's international status and expand its participation in international events? What would be the response if China launches a military attack against Taiwan? What does "Taiwan first" mean? Would any change to Taiwan's sovereignty status be decided through a referendum?
The electorate urgently wants to know the answers to those questions. Can the KMT and PFP present clear explanations? If they are determined to localize, give priority to the nation's interests and defend its sovereignty, if they respect the people's right to self-determination on their country's future, then they should give up the power schemes and propose clear platforms.
They should not flip-flop because that will only make people feel that the KMT and PFP are merely scheming for victory.
We need honest party politics. All parties should clearly tell voters their core beliefs, values and policies. If a party can say or do anything -- even violate its own long-standing beliefs and values -- just to win an election, then how can we trust that such a party will not betray the voters once it is elected?
Whether you support unification or independence, you have the right to promote it in a democratic society as long as you sincerely accept the related ideals and values. There's nothing wrong with this as long as the voters support you.
But the premise for this is that political parties should be upstanding and honest. Less scheming and more candor make the only path to victory in the presidential election.
Allen Houng is a professor at the Institute of Neuroscience at National Yang-Ming University.
Translated by Francis Huan
An outrageous dismissal of the exemplary Taiwanese fight against COVID-19 has been perpetrated by the EU. There is no excuse. I presume that everyone who reads the Taipei Times knows that the EU has excluded Taiwan from its so-called “safe list,” which permits citizens unhindered travel to and from the countries of the EU. As the EU does not feel that it needs to explain the character of this exclusive list, perhaps we should examine it ourselves in some detail. There are 14 nations on the list that have been chosen as safe countries of origin and safe countries of destination for
Filmmakers in Taiwan used to struggle when it came to telling a story that could resonate internationally. Things started to change when the 2017 drama series The Teenage Psychic (通靈少女), a collaboration between HBO Asia and Taiwanese Public Television Service (PTS), became a huge hit not just locally, but also internationally. The coming-of-age story was adapted from the 2013 PTS-produced short film The Busy Young Psychic (神算). Entirely filmed in Taiwan, the Mandarin-language series even made it on HBO’s streaming platforms in the US. It is proof that a well-told Taiwanese story can absolutely win the hearts and minds of hard-to-please
Drugged with sedatives, handcuffed and wearing a bright orange prison tunic, British fraud investigator and former journalist Peter Humphrey was escorted by warders into an interrogation room filled with reporters, locked inside a steel cage and fastened to a metal “tiger chair.” Humphrey recalls: “I was completely surrounded by officers, dazed, manacled and with cameras pointing at me through the bars. I was fighting for my life like a caged animal. It was horrifying.” Footage from the interrogation was later artfully edited to give the appearance of a confession and broadcast on Chinese state media. While this might sound like an
The US House of Representatives on July 1 passed by unanimous consent a bipartisan bill that would penalize Chinese officials who implement Beijing’s new national security legislation in Hong Kong, as well as banks that do business with them. The following day, the US Senate unanimously passed the bill, which was later sent to the White House, where it awaits US President Donald Trump’s signature. The bill does not spell out what the sanctions would look like and Trump has yet to sign it into law, but Reuters on Thursday last week reported that five major Chinese state lenders are considering