Tsai’s views are mainstream
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ying-wen’s (蔡英文) statement that the ROC is a “government-in-exile” should not be immediately condemned by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for its own campaign purposes (“Tsai blasted for ‘government-in-exile’ remark,” May 27, page 1).
While the minister of the interior said some academics used to refer to the government as a “government-in-exile,” this term has in fact been used in articles published by a long list of respected media such as the BBC, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Time magazine, as well as the British parliament, the US State Department and Stanford University.
They used this term when referring to the decades-long martial law period following the Republic of China’s (ROC) relocation of its government to Taipei in December 1949 after losing the Chinese Civil War.
Nowadays, the ROC is still widely regarded as part “government-in-exile,” part “rump state.” The difference is that a government-in-exile is unable to exercise its legal power, while a rump state also claims to be the legitimate sovereign power of the reduced territory it occupies. Of course, the legitimacy of the occupation in 1949 is questionable, but Tsai made it clear that today the ROC/Taiwan is a legitimate sovereign power.
It should also be mentioned that a government-in-exile usually operates under the assumption that it will one day return to its native country and regain power. As President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) referred to China as ROC territory in a Japanese magazine interview in 2008, this further fulfills the definition of a government-in-exile.
While the ROC controlled Taiwan for decades under martial law, the Chinese characteristics pushed onto the people of Taiwan are now finally being superseded by Taiwanese characteristics. Consequently the Taiwanese characteristics are becoming the mainstream, while the ROC is now regarded as a democratic Taiwanese nation. Even the UN refers to Taiwan as a state. Tsai is therefore emphasizing how Taiwan must continue to move in this direction rather than regressing to the ROC authoritarian era. She is promoting Taiwan’s sovereignty under the name ROC/Taiwan, as it is viewed today, rather than the former ROC authoritarian regime. While the Ma administration continues to believe that China is part of ROC territory, the DPP is promoting Taiwan’s independence from the People’s Republic of China. She therefore respects both nations as independent.
The reason the Ma administration is worried about Tsai attracting deep-green supporters (in addition to her existing supporters) is because she is proclaiming Taiwan to be an independent country with its own national identity. While the KMT accuses her of making this claim for campaign purposes, it looks more like it is trying to take her remarks out of context and condemning her for its own campaign purposes.
Tsai also made clear that the past few decades have brought back Taiwan’s democratic movement, which finally made the ROC legitimate and sovereign. Is there anything she said that contradicts the mainstream view?
Parents need work protection
I read in the May 7 edition of the Taipei Times (“Activists urge help for nation’s young unmarried mothers,” May 7, page 2) about Taiwan’s concern and response to the declining birth rate and some current solutions.
The declining birth rate is a serious problem for Taiwan’s future in many ways. Of all the solutions I have seen, none address the dismal rights of workers in Taiwan.
I am a foreigner with a Taiwanese wife in Taipei and work is problematic for anyone considering children because you can be fired for missing one day of work. New legislation must be put into place to protect workers’ rights to keep their jobs if they have to miss work for the sake of their children.
A recent hospital visit with one of our four children took more than 13 hours; consequently, my wife lost her job because of this emergency — he could have stopped breathing if we didn’t take him to the hospital. If you want to encourage people to have children, two things must be done: One is to protect workers’ rights when it comes to emergency hospital visits (difficult considering so many are paid cash) and the other would be to have an nationwide care system for children that is government-backed. Daycare in the first few years is critical and should be free. Not everyone has a grandmother hanging around to take care of the kids all day.
If Taiwan wants to consider raising the birth rate, the government should quit politicking and just do something positive for a change. The future of Taiwan depends on this critical issue.