Eliminating the state of confusion - Taipei Times
Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Eliminating the state of confusion

By Huang Tien-lin 黃天麟

President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) government has been wondrously effective, passing a number of important bills related to the retirement pension of civil servants and teachers, the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例) and the Political Party Act (政黨法), as well as amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) and the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), which added the five-day workweek rule.

The legislature, where Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party holds the majority, has also proposed further amendments to the Labor Standards Act and the Income Tax Act (所得稅法) that are to be reviewed during the extra legislative session that began on Friday.

It seems the major domestic reform phase has come to a halt, while the TAIEX set a new record high after moving above 10,000 points, and the annual GDP growth forecast has been raised to 2.58 percent, compared with the 0.81 percent reached in 2015 during Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) presidency. These achievements should be given the credit they deserve.

Why, then, was the word “confusion” selected by an online poll as Taiwan’s word of the year?

Reforms of any kind always benefit the majority while hurting vested interests. For the National Women’s League, last year must indeed have been a confusing year following the implementation of the transitional justice act, but to most people, it was a bright year.

Apparently, the selection of the word “confusion” had very little to do with the Tsai administration’s domestic policies, despite the claims of many pro-China media outlets.

However, taking a broader look at the year that passed, there are issues that tell Taiwanese that there has been no progress on the issue of national sovereignty and that it is rapidly disappearing into a fog of confusion and uncertainty.

One of these issues is the disturbance caused by the Chinese military aircraft and ships that have frequently encircled Taiwan — 25 times since August last year. The main reason China is willing to spend so much money on jet and marine fuel is that it wants to tell the world that Taiwan is a Chinese province. China wants to normalize these flights as a way of eliminating Taiwanese sovereignty.

Spanish courts twice ruled last month that Taiwanese fraud suspects should be deported to China, in effect saying that Spain accepts that Taiwan is a part of China and that Taiwanese are Chinese citizens.

However, when Spain established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1973, Madrid only “acknowledged” China’s claim over Taiwan. The change from acknowledging to recognizing China’s claim is evidence that Taiwan’s sovereignty is disappearing.

In the latest version of one of the most authoritative Japanese dictionaries, Kojien, produced by the publishing company Iwanami Shoten, Taiwan is included in the map of China’s administrative regions as its 26th province.

Although Taiwan’s representative office in Japan issued a stern protest to the publisher and requested that the “mistake” be corrected, the publisher responded by saying it did not think its description was wrong.

The question is: Are China’s claim, the Spanish court ruling and the Japanese publisher wrong?

It would appear not, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ stance.

The Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) regimes, former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, and even the ministry today, have stressed that Taiwan was restored to the Republic of China (ROC) in accordance with the Cairo Declaration of 1943 and that the ROC has exercised effective administration and sovereignty over Taiwan since 1945.

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