Fri, Oct 24, 2008 - Page 8 News List

A march for a cause both natural and threatened

By Chen Lung-chu 陳隆志

During World War I, US president Woodrow Wilson proposed to resolve territorial conflicts around the world through the principle of self-determination.

When the UN was formed after World War II, it declared that self-determination was a major principle of international law.

As its charter stresses, one of the UN’s major aims is to “develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”

In 1966, the UN passed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states: “All peoples have the right of self-determination.

“By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development,” it says.

Thanks to the principle of self-determination, those who have been colonized or have been ruled by foreign regimes are able to declare independence and build their own countries.

For an independent, sovereign state, this principle can also be applied to remove foreign interference or threats, to maintain national sovereignty and ensure that the nation’s status and future will be decided by the public.

Since 1945, Taiwan has transformed from a land of military occupation into an independent, sovereign state characterized by freedom and democracy.

However, bilateral relations between Taiwan and China have changed significantly since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) came to power on May 20.

Ma’s government has repeatedly violated campaign promises by leaning toward China to the extent that the status quo of “one country on each side” of the Taiwan Strait has been severely challenged.

Where should Taiwan go now?

I believe that Taiwan’s future must be decided by all our people, not by political slogans, and that any change to the status quo must be decided by Taiwanese through democratic processes.

Taiwan has a dual challenge. Internationally, it faces China’s military threat and its ambition to annex Taiwan.

Domestically, the Ma administration is breaking campaign promises by leaning too closely toward China.

This behavior has damaged the dignity of Taiwanese as well as jeopardized the health, stability and welfare of our society.

Therefore, Taiwanese must stand up and decide their future for themselves and realize self-determination in a referendum.

The long-cherished principle of self-determination is sacred and nobody can deprive us of it.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will hold a rally tomorrow in the name of “safeguarding Taiwan.”

At a time when the nation is facing critical challenges internationally and domestically, this gathering is of great significance.

We must take real action and participate in the event. We must take to the streets hand in hand to protest against the Ma government and express our opposition to its pro-China policies.

We must demonstrate to the international community the public’s will to secure Taiwan’s status as an independent, sovereign state.

Chen Lung-chu is chairman of the Taiwan New Century Foundation.


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