Wed, Jan 11, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Ma sees the nation in a `one China' framework

By Huang Ter-yuan 黃德源

In a recent interview with Newsweek, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) commented on several issues, including arms procurement, cross-strait relations, party affairs and the current political situation.

Ma emphasized that the KMT's eventual goal in cross-strait relations is unification, but not now since "the conditions are not ripe."

He went on to say that "the most important thing for Taiwan is to maintain the status quo," and the precondition for doing so is not pushing for de jure independence.

He added that China can accept the sort of independence that exists currently, which is the status quo.

In fact, Ma's perspective is no different from the old KMT's political obsession with "overthrowing the communists and retaking the nation."

For him, Taiwan's existence is no more than a tool to help realize his political goal.

When reporters asked Ma about his stance on the issue of constitutional amendments, he tactfully sidestepped the question by saying that constitutional reforms should not be carried out in haste, adding that he hoped to see less inter-party strife in future.

Obviously, his attitude is related to the fact that he regards Taiwan simply as a "society" rather than a "sovereign nation."

To Ma, important issues like constitutional reform, national defense, diplomacy and similar matters are worth nothing, rather than being of central importance to Taiwan as a nation.

Ma has always believed in the legitimacy of China. Therefore, any constitutional amendments must not conflict with his belief that Taiwan's legitimacy is based on the "one China" principle.

In other words, Ma believes that the fundamental structures of this legitimacy cannot be tampered with beyond some basic tinkering with some of the imperfections of the nation's Constitution.

When the Constitution of the Republic of China (中華民國憲法) was hammered out, Taiwan did not even exist.

During World War II, Taiwan in fact stood on the side opposing China, as it was a Japanese colony. As a result, talk of "returning" the Constitution is totally meaningless. This point echoes former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) comment that by forcing the history of China onto Taiwan, Taiwan's own history was obliterated.

Ma's strong "Chinese nationalism" has caused him to blur the distinction between friend and foe.

He has spoken of China's decision to remove tariffs on the import of 15 kinds of Taiwanese fruits, saying that China was showing its willingness to take the lead in making concessions; therefore, if Taiwanese people interpreted China's goodwill in a malign way, it would suggest that the Taiwanese were being too persnickety.

But, Ma has never mentioned certain important facts, such as China's deployment of ballistic missiles targeting Taiwan along the coast of the Taiwan Strait and its recent massacre of protesters in Guangdong Province.

Democracy and liberty are two of Taiwan's precious assets, and they came at the cost of many lives.

As we enter the 21st century, a good national system and lifestyle should be the ultimate choice of humankind.

Any moves to put a kind of empty "nationalism" upon the development of freedom will only result in catastrophe.

Huang Ter-yuan is a doctoral candidate in the Sun Yat-sen Graduate Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities at National Chengchi University.

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