Sat, Jul 26, 2003 - Page 8

Wang's requirements absurd

This letter is in reference to statements by Legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) as to the likely twists and turns of events surrounding the passage of your referendum law (公投法) in the legislature ("Wang sees referendum holdup," Jul 24, page 3).

Wang said there is likely to be a lot of hog wallowing in future sessions over this important piece of law. This is a law long promised, but long denied, to the people. It seems the passage of this law should be on the the top of the list in the next legislative session, but one statement did catch my eye. Wang was quoted as saying,"The referendum should only be held once three conditions have been met: national security is assured, the public concur with the way it will be held and it will benefit cross-strait relations."

I can only say that with such stipulations, Taiwan will never have a referendum law. National security in the US is never assured -- security is only relative to some prior time. Are we more or less secure then yesterday, last week, 50 years ago, or 100 years ago?

The stipulation that the public must concur with the way a referendum is to be held is like saying you will never pass this law as long as 51 percent of the voting public does not agree with the wording. This is why the people inadvertently go the way of representative government: so they don't have to hash out the exact wording for what they need. Their representatives in the legislature will do that for them. But since there is not agreement on even a single sentence of the proposed law, there will be no law.

If a couple hundred legislators can't agree on the wording, how could several million voters agree on it?

Wang's final stipulation is a slap in the face of the public. According to Wang there will be no referendum law until China is ecstatic about the people of Taiwan exercising control over their own future. Enthusiasm by China will never come, thus no referendum law will be passed. This cowardly way of beating around the bush is equal to the US having to get permission from the Soviet Union to amend the US Constitution during the height of the Cold War.

The stipulations drawn by Wang are untenable. The media should forthrightly ask him for a clarification.

Bode Bliss

Cleveland, Ohio

Ignore the opposition

I respectfully disagree with your editorial ("Let's wait to do it legally," July 19, page 9]. There are a few catches here.

One, the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution was never ratified by the people of Tai-wan. Therefore, its binding power on the people is questionable. The first and utmost principal of law is, as a contract between two parties (the people and the law) it has to be mutually agreed upon and therefore mutually binding.

Two, precisely because it is not ratified by the people, the "ROC" Constitution has built-in obstacles to prevent people from taking power as they should. This means that the people have no other recourse but to exercise democracy directly.

Three, failure is no excuse for giving up. Technical failure can serve as a lesson. But the most important lesson is that the opposition will not go down without utilizing all its might to obstruct a referendum. The people of Taiwan can ill afford to drop their drive for a referendum, lest time should run out.

Both Taiwan's democracy and its people, at this point in history, do not have much time to waste on the opposition.

Chen Ming-Chung

Chicago, Illinois