The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) originally employed the “1992 consensus” lie — which says that there is “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” of what that China is — to prop up the Republic of China’s (ROC) statehood for the public.
Using the non-existent consensus, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that the ROC and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) exist under the “one China” roof.
However, the truth is that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), although it often echoes the consensus just to suppress “Taiwanization,” sees the PRC as the sole representative of China. The “one China, different interpretations” framework leans toward the PRC and therein lies the source of Ma’s failure.
The pro-Taiwan camp, led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and the pro-China camp see the nation as one ROC, with each side having its own interpretation of what that ROC is.
According to the pro-China camp, the ROC is China, while the pro-Taiwan camp sees it as Taiwan.
As a result, the two sides have different interpretations of, and take different positions on, DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) proposal to maintain the “status quo.”
However, since the KMT’s “one China” leans toward the PRC, while “one ROC” leans toward Taiwan, the KMT comes up short on both counts and Tsai stands to benefit from this situation.
The KMT used to use its policy of maintaining the “status quo” to suppress the DPP and the rest of the pro-Taiwan camp, but this has now turned into a powerful weapon in the hands of the DPP. No matter how hard the KMT wants to monopolize the slogan and how hard Ma wants to take credit for it, they can no longer restore the public’s trust in its legitimacy.
The “status quo” means that Taiwan does not belong to the PRC — which has been hijacked by the CCP — nor does it belong to China, which the CCP has made its own. This is a result of political realities.
Maintaining the “status quo” is a rather conservative stance.
However, this is the character of the Taiwanese society that has been shaped by the KMT’s pro-China educational policies and the media after World War II. Despite being so conservative, Taiwan, a nation whose official title is the Republic of China, belongs to Taiwanese, not to China.
When the KMT says that it will maintain the “status quo,” it means that it will lean toward the China. Taiwanese, and even many of the Mainlanders who relocated to Taiwan with the KMT in the hope of finding a real nation, freedom, democracy, fairness and justice, find it impossible to understand the political direction of a party that is heading to a dead end.
By taking into account the “status quo” that says the ROC does not belong to China, perhaps Taiwanese can continue their efforts at reforming and reconstructing the nation. This would be a self-elevation movement for all Taiwanese who pin their hopes on the nation regardless of when they arrived here.
Based on the democratization movement that has already taken hold in the nation, yet another beautiful chapter in Taiwan’s peaceful revolution is set to be written.
No matter how hard the KMT wants to beautify or hide its goal of eventual unification — which in fact means surrendering to China — Taiwanese will no longer believe the party’s lies.
Will the KMT be able to save itself simply by replacing a presidential candidate who has exposed the party’s true face?
Without fundamental changes to the party’s character, what is the use? Why even bother?
Lee Min-yung is a poet.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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