Sun, Dec 21, 2003 - Page 8 News List

A ticking time bomb among the pan-blues

By Chin Heng-wei 金恆煒

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who also heads the campaign headquarters of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance, recently claimed that the alliance "does not rule out independence as an option for Taiwan's future and it has never opposed the `one country on either side' of the Taiwan Strait formula."

Wang's remarks come as a surprise. It is the first time the pan-blue camp has shown a shift toward independence.

We do not know whether Wang received approval from the campaign headquarters to make these remarks, but his proposal is not so sudden, given that PFP Legislator Liu Sung-pan (劉松藩) and KMT Central Standing Committee member Hung Yu-chin (洪玉欽) have suggested that the KMT should change its name to the "Taiwan Nationalist Party."

The problem is this: the alliance has presented neither measures to accomplish this nor a gradually progressive schedule, and so the public is confused.

But the KMT has not changed its name, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) has not rescinded his statement that he is a "pure Chinese" and he has claimed that if he is elected, "unification will not occur in the next four years." All this casts doubt on the notion that the pan-blue camp "does not rule out independence."

So, has the KMT-PFP alliance made an ideological U-turn, or is Wang presenting this strategy in an attempt to "save the nation from extinction?"

For the majority of people, KMT support of independence is beyond their imagination. From 1949, when Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) placed Taiwan under his rule of terror, to 1988, when his son Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) passed away, activists promoting Taiwanese independence have risked being sentenced to death.

Though former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) pushed for democratization and localization during his 12 years in power, Lien, who insists on calling himself Chinese, expelled Lee from the KMT after the party lost the presidential election in 2000 and had to hand over political power to the Democratic Progressive Party.

Returning to the KMT's "legally constituted authority," Lien presented the rule of Chiang Ching-kuo to demonstrate the party's sinicization and, at the same time, rejected the political path Lee had followed for 12 years.

Now, only 90 days away from the presidential election, Wang said that the KMT-PFP alliance would no longer mention the so-called "1992 consensus" and the notion of "one China, with each side making its own interpretation." Contradicting the past, he even said that the party "has never refuted the `one country on either side' platform."

In response, Lien said "this is Wang's personal opinion," indicating that the KMT's party platform is unchanged. If the KMT were to recognize the legality and rationality of independence, it actually has much to do.

For instance, the Guidelines for National Unification in the party platform should be scrapped, and Lien's stance that "one China is the Republic of China" must be changed. More importantly, the KMT-PFP version of the Referendum Law (公民投票法) forbids putting the "national state" to a popular vote and must therefore be altered, otherwise the pan-blue camp cannot convince the public that "independence as an option for Taiwan" is part of its campaign platform.

In view of this, even if we brush aside the question of whether Wang's "personal opinion" can benefit the pan-blue camp's election campaign, he might have placed a time bomb in their midst. It is worth observing whether this will do them more harm than good.

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