Not long ago, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said: “Taiwan is the Republic of China [ROC] and the Republic of China is Taiwan.” That statement set off an exchange of criticism between the pan-blue and pan-green camps.
Some pro-independence activists said Tsai can say whatever she wants and that they will say whatever they want, but what really matters is that when added together, they will win the presidential election.
Others said her statement is a description of the “status quo,” and that it is very different from the ROC of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Still others are opposed to the national title “ROC,” insisting that it be changed to the “Republic of Taiwan.”
Pro-independence activist Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) even ran newspaper advertisements on Oct. 13 attacking Tsai for legitimizing and legalizing the ROC.
Pro-blue supporters have entered the debate, saying Tsai’s recognition of the ROC was the green camp’s gift to the nation’s centennial celebrations.
The blue camp also said the green camp’s compromise on this important issue could put an end to infighting, that it looks forward to her next step and that her position can relieve the conflict between the pro-unification and pro--independence sides.
Others said the public will have greater expectations of the DPP if it were to include this position in its party platform and push for a “Taiwan consensus” on this basis in an attempt to seek reconciliation with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and various sectors in Taiwanese society.
The truth is that Tsai’s ROC is completely different from Ma’s. In addition, her position does not override the DPP’s 1999 Resolution on Taiwan’s Future.
Actually, it is an extension of former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) 2005 “four-stage theory” of the ROC: the ROC in China; the ROC moving to Taiwan; the ROC in Taiwan; the ROC is Taiwan.
Since Ma came to power more than three years ago, Taiwan’s sovereignty has been jeopardized. In particular, Shanghai Institute of East Asian Studies director Zhang Nianchi (章念馳) published an article in this month’s issue of the Hong Kong-based China Review magazine, saying that the process of unification was started during Ma’s term.
On Oct. 17, Ma responded by proposing a potential “cross-strait peace agreement,” to be signed some time during the next decade.
Under such circumstances, why should the pro-independence camp continue to restrict itself to the national title issue and make statements that are not beneficial to the overall situation?
I believe Tsai and the DPP would never sell out Taiwan, and opinion poll results show that 72 percent of respondents agree that the center-leaning DPP should defeat the pro-China KMT to avoid unification and save Taiwan’s sovereignty from the current crisis.
In future, perhaps a party could be established to push for independence or a change in the national title and to monitor the DPP to see that it accomplishes these ultimate goals.
At the Northern Taiwan Society’s 10th anniversary fundraising party on July 23, Chen said in his written greeting that “independence is not yet completed, all my comrades must struggle on.”
The word “comrades” here refers to all the supporters of independence and a change in the national title.
The fight against unification is currently the most urgent task.
Independence is a future mission that can be completed gradually.
Kuo Chang-feng is a physician.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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