Fri, Jul 02, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Lee launches constitution campaign

INDEPENDENT ACTION Former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday lauded the launch of `Action for a Taiwanese Constitution' as the start of building a sovereign country

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Lee Teng-hui, third left, at the launching ceremony for ``Action for a Taiwanese Constitution'' held at the Grand Hotel in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday led hundreds of supporters to launch the "Action for a Taiwanese Constitution (台灣制憲運動)," a private, non-governmental effort to campaign for the creation of a new Taiwan constitution. Lee said that the constitution should not contain the name "Republic of China" (ROC) and must assert Taiwan's independent sovereignty.

Addressing the campaign's inauguration ceremony, Lee, the general convener of the action, yesterday said this was an important moment for the people of Taiwan to begin building a real independent and sovereign country, which will be necessitated by the creation of Taiwan's own constitution.

"The new Taiwan constitution will ensure that Taiwan will become a normal country. This new constitution will deal with whether the country should adopt a three-branch governmental system and will define the relations between the administrative and legislative departments and ensure the impartiality of the judicial system. But above all, Taiwan's national status must be defined clearly; that is, Taiwan is Taiwan, and not a part of China," Lee said.

Lee yesterday signed a statement with other campaign co-conveners, witnessed by hund-reds of supporters in Taipei's Grand Hotel.

The statement reads that "the new constitution must not contain the name of Republic of China," excluding any elements that may lead to confusion with China.

"The new constitution must contain articles that are consistent with the sovereign state of Taiwan and the principles of international law. The people of Taiwan will decide the name of the state."

Lee said that the new constitution must protect Taiwan's sovereignty, while refraining from inf-ringing on the sovereignty of other countries. He said that the ROC Constitution violates international law because it includes the territories of the People's Republic of China and Mongolia.

Furthermore, Lee said that the ROC Constitution is not fit for use in Taiwan, as it was not made by the Taiwanese people; rather, it was designed for all Chinese people in 1946 and was promulgated in 1947.

The group's statement states that "In 1949, the Nationalist Government [also known as the Chinese Nationalist Party] retreated to Taiwan and began to implement a system of martial law and provisional articles for the period of Communist rebellion, under which the ROC Constitution was, in reality, nothing but dead."

Advocating that "Taiwan" be used as the name for the country in the new constitution, Lee said this effort can be traced back to 1999, when he proposed the "special state-to-state relations" theory to insist that Taiwan is an independent and sovereign country. He also proposed similar concepts, such as "ROC in Taiwan" and "Taiwan ROC" in an effort to erase ROC as a symbol of Taiwan.

Lee cited UN Resolution 2758, adopted on Oct. 25, 1971, saying it clearly affirms that the ROC does not exist in the international community and therefore the name ROC is fictitious and must be abolished so as to protect the national status of Taiwan.

Prominent politicians who attended yesterday's inauguration ceremony included co-convener Ng Chiau-tong (黃昭堂), chairman of World United Formosans for Independence, Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文), Examination Yuan President and former Democratic Progressive Party chairman, and constitutional expert Lee Hung-hsi (李鴻禧).

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