Mon, Jun 11, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Advice for the Formosa Alliance on referendums

By Christian Fan Jiang 范姜提昂

The Formosa Alliance (喜樂島聯盟) is scheduled to hold its first conveners’ meeting on June 16. According to its action plan, the first step is to push the legislature to amend the Referendum Act (公民投票法) before Aug. 31, the second is to hold an independence referendum on April 6 next year, and the third is to promulgate a new constitution and join the UN under the name “Taiwan.”

Here are a few pieces of advice for the alliance:

First, the Referendum Act is a procedural act that is applicable to all referendums. The pro-unification and pan-blue political groups think a referendum would be disastrous and anger Beijing, so the alliance might as well point out that the referendum’s core purpose is to oppose the enemy, define it as “legal warfare” and push for an “anti-annexation act” focused on countering China’s “Anti-Secession” Law.

In 2004, Formosa TV cofounder Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) proposed an anti-annexation act, finishing a draft the following year. Given the situation at the time, the draft emphasized that the nation’s future should be decided by its 23 million residents in a referendum and proposed three conditions for international intervention in cross-strait affairs, but did not specify referendums on name rectification, a new constitution or the establishment of a new independent sovereign state.

Including these three referendums in an anti-annexation act would make it a special referendum act aimed at opposing Chinese annexation. Based on the principle that special law takes precedence over general law, the act would above all be applicable to name rectification and the enactment of a new constitution.

Moreover, the spirit of an anti-annexation act complies directly with Article 2 of the current Constitution: “The sovereignty of the Republic of China shall reside in the whole body of citizens,” which would place it at the same level as the Referendum Act. Enacting a special law would supersede the restrictive Referendum Act.

Article 8 of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law stipulates three necessary conditions for employing non-peaceful means for “invading Taiwan in accordance with the law.”

It is only reasonable to give Beijing a taste of its own medicine.

Plagued by China’s incessant talk of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait being one family, while exerting pressure on the WHO to exclude Taiwan, it is justified to call for the legislature to enact an anti-annexation act to allow Taiwanese, who have seen through China’s “one family” lie, to establish a sovereign state “in accordance with the law.”

Only the government has the capacity and credibility to hold referendums.

After it passes an anti-annexation act incorporating special referendum procedures, the legislature can hold a vote to determine if China’s aggression has reached a certain level. Then it can authorize the president to launch referendums on name rectification, a new constitution and independence.

The alliance should also remain aware of three other issues:

First, according to international practice, if an independence referendum fails to pass, 10 years must go by before another can be held, so April next year would appear to be too soon.

Second, voter turnout has traditionally been very low for individual referendums, so they should be combined with general elections.

Third, “yes or no” questions and multiple-choice questions yield drastically different results, so the question should be chosen with caution.

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