A senior figure in the pan-green camp has recently caused a bit of a storm, urgently pushing his idea of the “constitutional consensus” (憲法共識). For him, a Taiwanese consensus cannot but bear the imprint of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). He believes the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution represents the major consensus in Taiwan at this moment. Eloquently put, albeit sounding like President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) protecting his version of the Constitution.
For too long, Taiwan has been branded by the mark of the KMT.
In the beginning, it was former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son and successor, former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), insisting the KMT represented the legitimate government of China, and refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the Chinese communists, saying that “gentlemen cannot co-exist with thieves.”
They wanted to “retake the mainland” and re-establish their rule there, and while in Taiwan did everything they could to suppress the Taiwanese independence movement. Following an eight-year hiatus after the transition of power to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, Ma sprang back with the reinstated regime, hoisting the Constitution high and distorting it as he pleased, spouting on about “one China,” selling Taiwan out to Beijing and opposing Taiwanese independence.
When we refer to the imprint of the KMT today we are actually talking about the mark left by Ma. This mark is how he is trying to sacrifice Taiwan’s sovereignty with policies that kowtow to China. Taiwanese KMT supporters did not originate it, and neither do they necessarily agree with it.
The shadow Ma casts over Taiwan is suspiciously similar to that thrown by his masters in Beijing. This is hardly surprising, since they are all wearing the same clothes. They are all trying to make Taiwan a part of China, robbing the Taiwanese people’s right to their own identity and to deciding their own destiny. Do the majority of Taiwanese really sign on to the version of a Taiwanese consensus that bears the imprint of Ma, that has the shadow of the Chinese communists and eschews the idea of Taiwan with the status of an independent country?
If we are to go in search of a Taiwanese consensus, it would be so much better to go looking for the imprint left by Taiwanese, rather than the combined mark of the KMT and the DPP, or even the blot of “one China.”
Ma is twisting the Constitution to mean what he wants it to mean, thinking he can pull the wool over the eyes of all Taiwanese. He believes that if he repeats his own interpretation enough times, the public will come to accept it, that they will eventually get used to the idea of him selling Taiwan’s sovereignty down the river.
He is wrong. Many people in Taiwan are no longer willing to take it lying down. What they want is a government that will safeguard their country’s sovereignty, that will oppose China’s attempts to annex their country and that will not kowtow to Beijing as Ma is doing.
Ma is hell-bent on offering Taiwan on a platter to the country that spawned him. The DPP ought to unite all of the people in this country who no longer want to be considered a colonized people — and this includes those who support the KMT — against Ma and his circle, who are helping the KMT betray Taiwan.
If Taiwan is to protect its independence, its freedom and its democracy, what it needs to concentrate on is what ordinary people have achieved, and not what they have inherited from the KMT elite.
James Wang is a media commentator.
Translated by Paul Cooper