At this moment of crisis in diplomatic relations, I am placing my hopes in the legislature being able to listen to those at the grassroots level. The main point is that since China has an “Anti-Secession” Law, the legislature should pass an anti-annexation act to allow Taiwan to initiate a process to rectify the title of the nation and write a new constitution. The idea is a battle of laws.
After the Dominican Republic severed relations, Taiwan has 19 diplomatic allies and talk about a “diplomatic collapse” is perhaps not an exaggeration.
However, Taiwanese understand that their diplomats are doing what they can in the face of the impossible, as there is every reason to expect that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime, which by its very nature is brutal, will continue to poach Taiwan’s diplomatic allies.
Pro-independence supporters feel that if this reaches zero or close to zero diplomatic allies, Taiwan would finally be able to shake off the Republic of China (ROC) and be set free.
Some might say that no country would recognize Taiwan’s new name and constitution, but we would rather start over, because shaking off the shackles of history and changing with the situation would allow us to create new possibilities.
Even the pro-unification camp would stand to benefit, as they could use the new system and new thinking to advocate for unification talks between “New Taiwan” and China, and try to win public support.
The aim of promoting an anti-annexation act is so that when there are no diplomatic allies left and China tries to annex Taiwan on the claim that the whole world thinks that Taiwan is part of China, Taiwan would have a set of predefined legal mechanisms in place that would allow the legislature to make a decision that authorizes the president to lead the nation through a legally defined process to rectify the national title and write a new constitution.
Article 2 of the Constitution states: “The sovereignty of the Republic of China shall reside in the whole body of citizens,” which makes the issue suitable for a referendum.
This means that if the People’s Republic of China (PRC) says that no country in the world recognizes the ROC, then we could change the nation’s name and system, and start over so long as Taiwanese agree on it. Even if no one recognizes the ROC, that does not mean that China can annex us.
At the very least, this mechanism would set the conditions for initiating a process of changing the national title and writing a new constitution. For example, if Taiwan loses almost all of its diplomatic allies, the legislature could take a vote to determine that the number of allies is approaching zero.
The legislature should authorize the president to set up a committee to rectify the national title and write a constitution. It could start the relevant preparatory work, which would include holding public hearings and organizing a consultative referendum to let voters decide whether to hold a referendum on rectifying the nation’s title and writing a new constitution or to simply hold an independence referendum.
In short, faced with a potential national crisis, the legislature should prepare a special legal mechanism for allowing the public to determine the nation’s future. The mechanism should take priority over a referendum and could be initiated at any time. It should determine the conditions and authorize the president to order the preparatory work and handle the referendum.
In other words, China has its “Anti-Secession” Law and Taiwan would have an anti-annexation act. Taiwan cannot continue to be bullied while remaining unable to respond.
Christian Fan Jiang is a media commentator.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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