Taiwanese must be bold and declare sovereignty

By Kengchi Goah 吳耿志  / 

Sat, Sep 08, 2018 - Page 8

Cohabitation, a type of union practiced by many homosexual partners, is not considered a legal form of marriage in most parts of the world.

In some schools of social studies, the former is thought of as a self-proclaimed “evolutionary marriage” lacking legal officiation and support.

By contrast, the latter, a “declarative marriage,” is standing on a systematic set of rules commonly accepted by an overwhelming majority of society and enjoys all support conferred by the rules.

In a sense, Taiwan’s international status resembles an act of cohabitation, with the “Republic of China,” an exiled political organization, and “Taiwan,” a legally unsettled geographical territory, being the two partners.

Since Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) term as “president,” Taiwan has been hiding behind the murky state of an “evolutionary statehood” that few countries recognize.

Lee expressed his claim that Taiwan was a sovereign state in interviews with reporters and in public news conference settings. It was therefore not an enforced declaration expressing the resolve and will of Taiwanese.

Taiwan’s “non-declarative, non-declamatory statehood” runs a multitude of serious risks and consequences. Chief among them is the deceitful nature of the union.

The “Republic of China” is, as Frank Chiang (江永芳) has dissected in his book The One-China Policy: State, Sovereignty and Taiwan’s International Legal Status, the biggest political falsehood of the 20th century.

Maintaining a cohabitative relationship with the “Republic of China” for decades reflects the naivete of Taiwan’s political leaders and common citizens.

Acquiescing to living with “Republic of China” fakery also lends Beijing a rhetorical justification to annex Taiwan by any means.

Allowing the continuous presence of such deception depresses a huge portion of 23 million people to the point that many no longer have hope for the country’s future.

As a result, Taiwan’s economy also suffers due to a lack of creativity, which simply cannot flourish in a depressed mental state, either for an individual or for an entire society.

Unwilling to take the step of “declarative statehood,” Taiwan’s president and people give the whole world an impression that its residents are averse to taking risks, timid and cowardly.

Taiwanese must understand that all acts in life involve risk. Eating could lead to choking. Walking could lead to falling or being run over by a drunk driver. A person could be hit by lightning while standing under a tree during a thunderstorm. So too does the act of declaring statehood invite uncertainties.

China’s military threats are no worse than choking, falling or a hit-and-run.

Taiwanese ought to examine recent history. Declamatory nationhood, or a referendum, is not rare. East Timor did it in 1999, Montenegro in 2006, South Sudan in 2011, Catalonia and the Kurds did it last year. All have taken the courageous step to do so in the face of enormous pressure from all sides.

How do people in Taiwan want to be viewed and treated in by the global community: a people with resolve and courage, or a bunch of sissies?

Kengchi Goah is a senior research fellow at the Taiwan Public Policy Council in the US.