Thu, Mar 23, 2000 - Page 1 News List

DPP independence proposal shelved

DISCRETION NOT VALOR In response to a call for the DPP to change its founding charter and as such its stand on Taiwan independence, the party's Central Executive Committee decided the issue was best left alone for now, sending back for review

By Lin Chieh-yu and William Ide  /  STAFF REPORTERS

A controversial proposal to reform the DPP's independence platform was swept back quietly under the carpet yesterday by the party's Central Executive Committee, which sent it to the policy research department for further review.

"We need more discussion and research before we make any substantive moves," said Yu Shyi-kun, DPP secretary general.

The DPP said it was not dropping the issue, but merely following party procedures. According to the terms of those procedures, such an amendment can only be approved by a vote of representatives at the party's National Party Congress.

The National Party Congress is set to meet in June or July.

On Tuesday, Chen Chao-nan (陳昭南) proposed changes to the DPP's independence guidelines as outlined in the party's charter, suggesting they should be regarded as a "historical document" and that the phrase "establishing the Republic of Taiwan" should be deleted.

Chen's proposal argued that Taiwan's sovereignty has already been achieved because of democratic developments, under which Taiwanese can now freely elect their president and have established a democratic legislature.

Party Chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) said the party's independence platform should be changed to more clearly reflect its function as a precursor for a referendum. It would also be a measure to deflect flak from critics over its independence stance, he said.

Over the past few years DPP leaders have attempted to show their platform policy expresses the right to independence, but that such a choice would only be exercised after a referendum.

"It's time to give our voters a new perspective of the DPP," Lin said, "especially since the independence platform has become a weakness for the DPP, forcing our candidates onto the defensive in elections."

Party faction leaders expressed different opinions on Chen's proposal, saying it was not the proper time to start a debate on the subject.

Lin Chuo-shui (林濁水), known within the DPP as the architect of the party's independence theory, said the proposal did relatively little to change the present DPP stand on independence.

While the proposal is seen as a move to help pave the way for a visit by President-elect Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to China, Lin said it would most likely be counter productive.

"If it's passed it will not change the DPP's stance and risks further upsetting Beijing," Lin said. "If announced it will be like restating the DPP's stance."

Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄), a strong supporter of amendments to the party's independence policy, also called for a thorough and detailed review of the question.

"Now that the KMT is falling apart and the DPP has won the presidential election, the DPP has no reason to create internal party divisions," Shen said.

During meetings to discuss which DPP member would be chosen to run for president last February, the independence topic came up and was heatedly debated. During the debate Shen and Lin clashed several times over the issue.

During the party's National Congress in March of last year, representatives decided not to amend the platform.

Representatives were opposed to changing the party's founding principles because of the opinion of a few individuals, or for other special reasons.

Core Taiwan independence supporters took their objections to DPP chairman Lin yesterday, telling him that the independence platform was the only weapon President-elect Chen had to fight against Beijing's "one China" policy.

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