Thu, May 13, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Keep ROC tag, young DPP urge

APPEASEMENT Placating China and keeping the name of the country are ways to maintain peace and heal ethnic divisions, according to a group of young DPP lawmakers

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A group of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators said yesterday that changing the nation's title of Republic of China (ROC) should not be considered for the next few decades.

The group of young DPP legislators elaborated on their concept of a "New Cultural Discourse" yesterday. The plan, aimed at ending ethnic conflicts and forming a consensus on national identity, said the current national title should be upheld and called for harmony among the nation's various ethnic groups.

"There is no suitable environment in which the ROC can change its name. We have to understand that a huge portion of Mainlanders and Hoklo identify with the ROC, and this name can also placate China," the lawmakers said in their essay, "Surpassing Conflicts, Deep-rooting Reform."

"There are still opposing voices within Taiwan, and China is also watching us closely, so there is no space for Taiwan to talk about a name change," DPP Legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) said.

Lee is an architect of the document.

Newly-appointed Cabinet spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), newly-appointed Council for Hakka Affairs Chairman Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉) and DPP caucus director-general Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) were also involved in drafting the essay. The legislators will meet again today to discuss the draft.

The legislators said the name ROC should not damage Taiwan's sovereign identity since the nation's sovereignty has already been confirmed and that a native consciousness has taken root.

The group said people should not fear that the ROC will be confused with the People's Republic of China because the main obstacle to Taiwan's international visibility is not name confusion, but oppression from China.

They also said that the government should continue to stress Taiwan's open and pluralistic spirit, to include and respect all ethnic groups' contributions to Taiwan.

"The discourse is about how to solve conflicts between ethnic groups and [expresses] hope that the groups can appreciate one another," Chen said.

DPP Legislator Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄), who recently offered a "Love Taiwan" platform, agreed with the legislators' plan.

"This shows that the younger generation in the party can reflect on themselves," Shen said.

Shen said the DPP should have an internal debate on whether it should move toward the middle.

"We should discuss this before the legislative election. If we are brave enough, we can handle this within one or two weeks' time. But the party is not brave enough and it is worried that this may disturb the election campaign, so it would be better timing to talk about this after the election," Shen said.

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