Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) — who looks set to win the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) nomination for next year’s presidential election — has made worrisome remarks concerning the Constitution, which would only raise further questions about her ability to perform well as the nation’s leader.
Hung commented on the Ministry of Education’s plan to make controversial adjustments to high-school curriculum guidelines — which triggered strong protests among students, teachers and activists — by saying that she thinks the proposed changes are insufficient, and that history should be taught “in accordance with the Constitution.”
Such a comment shows Hung to be ignorant about both history and about the Constitution.
First, how could history education be in accordance with the Constitution? The Constitution of the Republic of China (ROC) came into effect in 1947: How can it address what happened prior to that?
Article 1 of the Constitution stipulates that “the Republic of China, founded on the Three Principles of the People, shall be a democratic republic of the people, to be governed by the people and for the people.”
Would teaching about Taiwan’s history during the White Terror era — when the nation was neither democratic, nor of the people, by the people or for the people — be unconstitutional and therefore not taught? What about events that occurred during the hundreds of years prior to the founding of the ROC in 1912?
In fact, the Constitution grants people the freedom of expression, including academic freedom. If Hung truly cares about constitutionality in education, what she should do is call for people with a professional background in history to be on the panel making decisions concerning the curriculum and refrain from making politically motivated interventions.
Prior to her comment, Hung, when asked if political unification with Beijing would be accelerated by her plan to ink more cross-strait agreements if elected president, said that the Constitution does not allow Taiwanese independence.
Maybe Hung should retake “Constitution 101” to learn her constitutional ABCs, because Article 4 of the document says that: “The territory of the Republic of China according to its existing national boundaries shall not be altered except by resolution of the National Assembly,” meaning that, as long as procedure is followed, any change of the ROC’s irredentist boundaries — including a declaration of independence — would be legal, legitimate and constitutional.
One of the most important jobs for a president is to defend constitutional values. Certainly, Hung could have her own views regarding cross-strait relations and she has every right to be in favor of unification. However, if she becomes president, her job would be to defend the Constitution, not to interpret it according to her political ideology.
Taiwan is at a crossroads, facing threats from a monster-like China, and needs a leader who is brave enough to resist Beijing’s territorial ambitions while also encouraging the nation to thrive.
Hung seems to be a risky choice, with her obvious pro-China and pro-unification ideals.
It might be disastrous if she wins the election.
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