Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday urged the public to join the campaigns opposing an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China and calling for abolishing the Referendum Review Committee, saying an ECFA referendum would be a watershed in Taiwan’s democracy and a way to prevent Taiwan from being bartered away.
Describing the proposed accord as a “strategic arrangement conspired by the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] and Chinese Communist Party [CCP] for the annexation of Taiwan,” Lee said the two parties sought to use the trade pact to pave the way for ultimate unification with China.
“The way the government pushes the planned accord is very much like that of an authoritarian regime,” he said in a speech at an ECFA forum organized by the Taiwan Advocates, founded by Lee. “It turns a deaf ear to people’s concerns and the Referendum Review Committee joins in the chorus of the administration that submits to China.”
Calling for an immediate revision to the Referendum Act (公民投票法), Lee yesterday also signed the petition initiated by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) to propose another referendum on the ECFA after the first one was recently rejected by the Referendum Review Committee.
Lee said President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration likes to say it cares for the people’s plight, but it seemed to him that the more miserable the people, the happier the Ma administration.
“I never saw such a government and national leaders,” he said. “The Taiwanese people elected a president who does not love Taiwan. It is pathetic to see him love China more than he loves this land.”
Lee said the planned cross-strait deal was a political and economic arrangement for the future of Taiwan. The nation’s sovereignty should lie in the hands of its 23 million people, and not the KMT, the CCP or the US, he said.
Taiwan will follow in the footsteps of Hong Kong and see its economic bubble burst if the Ma administration continues to ignore the impact of the free flow of manpower, capital, goods, technology and services across the Taiwan Strait, he said.
If Taiwanese do not come out and oppose the proposed pact, the international community will think the Taiwanese public is allowing the Ma administration to pursue its agenda this way, he said, warning that if the KMT and CCP manage to sign a peace treaty in the future, they will realize their goal of making Taiwan part of China.
“If the Taiwanese people don’t strive for their right to speak now, they will forever be taken advantage of by the KMT government, which seeks to eventually sell out Taiwan,” he said. “The ECFA issues is a watershed of deepening Taiwan’s democracy and determining our own future.”
Also at the forum, Chen Ming-siang (陳銘祥), a public administration professor at Tamkang University, said a referendum would be an effective way to compensate for the deficiency of the representation system, which he said was flawed because the minority has a hard time electing someone representing their interests.