Fri, Jan 29, 2016 - Page 8 News List

From ROC ashes, Taiwan can rise

By Michael Hsiao 蕭新煌

Some people use “new politics” to describe Taiwan’s political landscape from this year onward, which has the following five characteristics: First, the public demands national policies to be Taiwan-oriented; second, the government is required to address the new situation, in which young people are actively involved in politics; third, policy goals should be to ensure social fairness and economic justice; fourth, decisionmaking procedures must be open, transparent and democratic; and fifth, the public wants to remove nepotism from the corrupt old power structure.

These are what “new politics” are about and the quintessence of a rock-solid democracy. The new president and new legislature must work hand in hand to attain the five objectives of the new politics. The new president will, after being sworn in on May 20, form a new Cabinet and formulate new policies, which would be the touchstone for their competence. The new legislators are to be sworn in on Monday.

Their competence in enabling new politics would likewise be determined by whether they can address the post-election constitutional crisis during government changeovers in a speedy fashion, complete necessary constitutional revisions, lower the age threshold for voting eligibility, strengthen local governance and separation of economic power, allow associations and civic society to enjoy autonomy and enact independent acts to govern political parties, cooperate with the new administration in resolving national deficits and pension system crisis, etc.

Democratized Taiwan as a whole and mainstream society have abandoned its ethnic group and racial complexes; the public has stopped electing government officials based on ethnic group or race, but on national identification, democracy, reason, social and generational justice.

If a few unscrupulous politicians try to continue to manipulate the “one China” sentiment and ethnic group complexes, they will only achieve the opposite and suffer at their own hands.

This is the sign that the new citizenry has developed in Taiwan and the proof that the new civic nationalism has blossomed in this country.

Martial law was lifted in Taiwan in 1987. Thirty years later, we see the Taiwanese fearlessly choosing a new identity, with the confidence in new democracy and the mature citizenry taking root.

Michael Hsiao is director of Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology.

Translated by Ethan Zhan

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