Sun, Mar 16, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Lee seeks change of the nation's name

SHAKE-UP NEEDED The former president told a conference of pro-Taiwan groups the country needs a new name and Constitution and lashed out at blue-camp media

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORETER

PHOTO: CNA

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday called for the rectification of the nation's name from the Republic of China to Taiwan, and for the enactment of a new Constitution.

"While most people refer to the country as the `Republic of China, Taiwan,' I think it's a better idea to take out the `Republic of China,'" Lee said.

When later asked by the media whether he meant the nation should change its official designation to Taiwan, Lee said that "we should all strive for that goal."

Lee also called for the enactment of a new Constitution.

"The Constitution, promulgated by the KMT in Nanjing in January 1947 and which came into effect the same year, has been amended six times over the past 12 years. I say it's time to forge a new Constitution," Lee said.

Lee made the remarks during the third annual meeting of the World Taiwanese Congress held at the National Central Library in Taipei City yesterday.

The congress, which is composed of nearly 100 pro-Taiwan groups worldwide, was formed in March 2001 with the aim of elevating Taiwan's international standing and advancing the nation's role in the international community.

Addressing a roomful of participants, Lee said that it is time to change the nation's official designation from the Republic of China to Taiwan.

"It's pathetic that the international community refers to Taiwan as the `Republic of China, Taiwan,' while only a few people here recognize the `Republic of China', except for the pro-unification groups," he said.

Lee also lashed out at the opposition camp for its defeatist rhetoric and distortion of mainstream public opinion.

"There are some people who were originally die-hard anti-communists, but now they're teaming up with the pro-reunification media to give President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) a hard time, just like they did when I was the president," Lee said. "But I was strong, and I survived."

The biggest problem for the nation, Lee said, is that there are too many self-appointed mainstream media sources distributing deceiving the people of Taiwan.

"There are too many liars claiming that they represent mainstream public opinion and constantly spreading rumors and lies out there," he said.

As Taiwan has been liberated from years of colonization by foreign countries and the alien regime of the KMT, Lee said, the people should come to realize that they are Taiwanese, not Chinese.

"It's very important that Taiwanese people identify themselves with this country and recognize Taiwan as their motherland," he said.

Opposition leaders were unimpressed with Lee's remarks.

"There's nothing wrong with the nation's name, nor with the Constitutional system," said KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰). "Instead of wasting time trying to change the nation's name and enacting a new Constitution, the DPP-led government should make efforts to revive the flagging economy."

PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) expressed the same opinion.

"It's indubitably true that the nation is suffering from economic woes and the government should do something about it," Soong said. "It's the consensus of most Taiwanese people to maintain the status quo. We refuse to accept `one country, two systems' just as much as we don't want to provoke China by changing the country's name and forging a new Constitution."

Soong also requested that Chen offer an explanation of Lee's remarks.

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