Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: Lai rightly defended independence

Speaking in the Legislative Yuan on March 30, Premier William Lai (賴清德) reiterated that he is a “Taiwan independence worker,” that he has all along been in favor of sovereignty and independence for Taiwan, and that there is no consensus at all about the so-called “1992 consensus.”

Although Lai was only answering questions put to him by legislators, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) responded by screaming that Lai’s stubborn adherence to his pro-independence stance is dangerous and presumptuous.

The premier responded by reiterating that in the age of democracy, anyone can say what they think about where the nation should be headed and they can call for Taiwanese independence.

Lai said he is a “Taiwan independence worker” because he is a follower of the late democracy activist and free speech advocate Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕).

As Taiwan’s chief executive, sticking to his pro-independence stance, back straight and shoulders unbowed, is what Lai needs to do in the current domestic and overseas environment.

During former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) eight years in office, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sneaked in the idea that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to “one China,” based on the fictitious “1992 consensus,” as if eventual unification represented mainstream public opinion in Taiwan.

However, from the Sunflower movement of 2014 to the election of 2016, it was the KMT’s “one China” line that caused it to end up in the opposition, showing that the real consensus in Taiwan is maintaining Taiwan’s status as a sovereign and independent country.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) government has refused to accept wholesale the fictitious “1992 consensus.” In response, China has adopted a ruthless strategy toward Taiwan that includes not engaging in negotiations and consultations with the Tsai administration.

The KMT and the CCP continue to weave their fictitious dream, while China has launched an economic offensive by offering “31 favorable measures for Taiwanese.”

Evidently, economic warfare is the main focus and China is mobilizing its soft, hard and sharp powers to exert greater force in opposition to Taiwan independence, while at the same time aiming to cultivate elements in Taiwan who identify with China and support unification for economic reasons.

“There is no such thing as a free lunch” is also true of China’s economic “united front” strategy. To put it plainly, the Chinese incentives are only meant to borrow talented people from Taiwan to make up for China’s own shortage of professional expertise.

As nice as they might sound, these “favorable measures” are really aimed at sucking Taiwan dry. In the long term, they will be good for China, but bad for Taiwan, while being of some slight benefit to those who are recruited by China’s “united front” strategy.

However, even though there is only a paltry profit to be made, China is ready any time to wave the big stick at those who take the bait. Any Taiwanese businessperson or entertainer who sets foot in the Chinese market is at risk of being labeled pro-independence and if they do not own up, they will end up losing every penny.

This sort of gameplay by Beijing is sure to get a bad reaction from Taiwanese, but China is determined to use this kind of “public trial” to wear down the will of Taiwanese to determine their own future, until such time when they swallow the idea of “one China” without resistance.

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