Fri, Oct 13, 2017 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

No case for sedition charges

Premier William Lai (賴清德) recently described himself in the Legislative Yuan as: “A political worker who advocates Taiwanese independence,” which has stirred up quite a debate.

Although the majority of people in Taiwan applauded Lai’s comments, New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) and some of his supporters last week went to the Supreme Court to file a case against Lai for sedition.

Yok has berated Lai for going from covertly pro-independence to being explicitly so, and has called on Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators to demand that Lai retract his comments.

Most people in Taiwan would agree that Taiwan is a sovereign, independent nation and would support the idea of de facto independence. There does not really seem to be much wrong with taking this position.

Specifically, Lai said: “We are already an independent sovereign nation called the Republic of China. We don’t need a separate declaration of independence.”

What is there for the New Party to file a case against?

Opinion polls show that support for Taiwanese independence far outweighs support for unification with China. Does it make any sense for the New Party, which holds a minority position, to take Lai, whose position enjoys the support of the overwhelming majority, to court over his remarks?

It is a position shared outside Taiwan, too, with the Economist agreeing that Taiwan is a sovereign nation.

Regardless of whether one supports Taiwanese independence, an independent Taiwan, or even independent status for the Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan, the operative word is “Taiwan.” Who now is talking about the ROC?

If the New Party decides to stand its ground and go ahead with this court case, one should perhaps be asking whether it was the Chinese Unity Promotion Party (CUPP), marching down the streets of Taipei, waving the Chinese flag and shouting out “Happy birthday to the motherland” on Oct. 1, that was guilty of sedition or treason.

Should the New Party not be bringing a case against the CUPP? It is very unlikely that it would actually do that, I would say.

Chen Han-wen

New Taipei City

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