Wed, Mar 01, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Inane flap over inert, outdated council

By Jerome Keating

Some called it a bombshell, but it was only the bursting of a bubble. President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) recently caused quite a stir among the biased and uninformed by proposing that the National Unification Council will cease to function and its guidelines will cease to apply. This only underscores how little most people know about this outdated and ineffective organization, how the guidelines themselves contradict reality and how the council comes from an era when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) wished to substitute its personal agenda for that of the people of Taiwan.

The pan-blue dominated legislature, in typical hypocritical fashion, cries that Chen does not have the best interests of the people in mind. That same pan-blue legislature has just cut the annual budget of the council to a mere US$32. This was more than just a slap in the face of the council, it confirmed that even the pan-blues consider the council useless. And for them to complain now that the council has ceased to function only insults the people of Taiwan.

The issue of the council revolves around democracy and misinterpretations of the nature of independence. Taiwan enjoys democracy and, therefore, independence. To unify with a country of its choice is certainly one of its options. Another option is that it remain free and independent. When a political party insists that unification is the only option, as the KMT and other pan-blue parties do (at least, most of the time), it denies Taiwan its democracy.

While the pan-blues are trying to hijack Taiwan for their ends, the goal of the council, ironically, was to establish a democratic, free and equitably prosperous China. This is a noble goal for China, of which the KMT are waishengren on Taiwan, but it rests on a false premise stated in the guidelines, that "Unification ... is the common wish of Chinese people at home and abroad." The Taiwanese people were never consulted or even given a vote in the formulation of this premise.

There is much more besides to illustrate why the guidelines should be scrapped. The terms of the process for unification stated in the guidelines have been continually violated by the People's Republic of China (PRC).

A few examples will serve to illustrate this point. Both sides of the Taiwan Strait should "establish a mutually benign relationship by not endangering each other's security and stability." "Democracy and the rule of law" should be present in both the PRC and the Republic of China. "Both sides of the [Taiwan] Strait should work together and assist each other in taking part in international organizations and activities."

With more than 700 missiles pointed at Taiwan, a total lack of democracy in the PRC, and the PRC's continued efforts to keep Taiwan from participating in the World Health Organization, ASEAN, the UN, etc, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the council is a one-sided dream fostered by the KMT. It is a dream that is totally disassociated from the reality of life on either side of the Taiwan Strait and which serves only to fog over the reality of how the KMT reluctantly relinquished its martial law and one-party state.

Despite all this, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), in typical doublespeak, states that the council has a "symbolic meaning" which links to the KMT's avowed goal of unification. Ma further feels that Chen's act of causing the council to cease to function, instead of trying to set the record straight, would do harm to Taiwan-US and Taiwan-China relations. How facing the truth of the past does harm to misrepresented present relations is something Ma seems to specialize in.

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