Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) yesterday caused jitters among an audience of Chinese politicians and academics with talk about Taiwanese independence and the politically sensitive Tiananmen Square student movement on the second day of his trip to China.
Lai, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), made his remarks at a Fudan University discussion session in Shanghai.
Regarding cross-strait exchanges, Lai said that since the Taiwanese consciousness of independence preceded the establishment of the DPP, getting rid of the “Taiwan independence clause” in its party charter would not make the society’s call for independence disappear.
According to Greater Tainan Department of Information and International Relations Director and delegation member Chao Ching-hui (趙卿惠), Lai spoke in response to a Chinese professor’s comment on what the professor described as the stalled cross-strait relationship.
Fudan University professor Jiang Yihua (姜義華) reportedly blamed the DPP’s independence platform for the alleged stall, saying that despite cross-strait exchanges over the past years, this particular problem has been little recognized and should now be faced squarely.
Lai said that the DPP’s Taiwan independence clause and its Resolution on Taiwan’s Future are part of the trajectory of the development of Taiwan’s history.
“Taiwanese independence is a cause held by the DPP, which completely respects Taiwanese people’s self-determination in terms of procedure. It has enjoyed a clear consensus in Taiwan, as [former president] Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was elected as president on the party’s platform,” Lai said.
“It is important to understand whether the DPP made the cause of independence arise in society, or whether it was society’s call for independence that brought the DPP into existence. Removing the DPP’s Taiwanese independence party platform would not do away with Taiwan’s call for independence,” he said.
Lai said that no problem could be solved before China understands this historical trajectory and he called on the two sides to seek common ground, but also treasure their differences through understanding and reconciliation.
The mayor also mentioned the 1989 Tiananmen Square student movement.
“Fudan University students answered to the cause of the student movement that took place after the death of [reformist Chinese Communist Party] secretary-general Hu Yaobang (胡耀邦) in 1989. And there were more than 400 professors who signed the petition urging the government to recognize the student movement as a patriotic movement,” he said.
The issue of whether Beijing would change its no-contact policy toward the DPP has again come to the forefront amid Lai’s first visit to China on Friday.
Separately yesterday, Beijing reiterated its opposition to Taiwanese independence, but said that it welcomes exchanges with people from all quarters of Taiwan — provided they support advancing cross-strait ties.
The Chinese government maintains a “clear and consistent” policy toward the DPP and stands firmly against Taiwanese independence, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Fan Liqing (范麗青) said when asked about whether Beijing has begun to engage with the DPP.
“We welcome anyone as long as he or she favors, supports and participates in the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, no matter what he or she has advocated in the past,” she said.
Additional reporting by CNA
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient