Tsai accuses President Ma of heavy-handed rule

By Rich Chang and Peng Hsien-chun  /  Staff reporters

Tue, May 15, 2012 - Page 1

In an open letter published yesterday, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) questioned President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) ability to lead the country.

Tsai said she had three questions for Ma on cross-strait relations: “Is Taiwan a nation? Are Taiwan and China the same nation? And is ‘one country, two areas’ (一國二區) a core principle for future cross-strait policy?”

“Beijing will pay close attention to Ma’s inauguration address on May 20, hoping he says ‘Taiwan and the Mainland belong to one China’ — the so-called ‘Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] and Chinese Communist Party consensus,’” Tsai said.

Ma’s “one country, two areas” proposal violates the Constitution — the country’s supreme legal statute — which exists to protect Taiwan, the homeland and its people’s basic rights, Tsai wrote.

The Republic of China is a sovereign country and the mention of “one country, two areas” in the constitutional structure is to regulate the rights and obligations of Taiwanese and Chinese, not to regulate relations between Taiwan and China, she said.

Tsai asked Ma to stop jeopardizing Taiwan’s national status through his misinterpretation of the Constitution.

On the issues of easing US beef imports, an insistence on raising fuel and electricity prices as well as levying a tax on capital gains, Tsai said the policymaking processes and their implementation suffered from a lack of democratic communication and “rational persuasiveness,” which caused “great social grievance” and which was forcing the public to take to the streets.

Tsai urged Ma to respond to public anxieties, think about a full Cabinet reshuffle, choose a premier with a good reputation and resist external pressures.

Tsai added that the government was a mess and said the Executive Yuan had been stripped of its rights with most ministers taking their orders directly from the Presidential Office.

Ma would do what he wants in his second term because he faces no electoral pressure, she wrote. As a result, Ma could abuse his powers and lead Taiwan back into an authoritarian era, she said.

In response to the letter, and similar criticism by Tsai in a recent radio interview, the ­Presidential Office said Ma’s policies were based on the principle of “prioritizing Taiwan and benefiting the people.”

Ma’s office issued the statement yesterday morning, following a series of negative appraisals by Tsai of what she said is Ma’s one-man policymaking process and his disputed proposal of “one country, two areas.”

The government has operated within the framework of the Constitution and remains open to different voices from all sectors of society, it said, adding that Ma would continue to listen to and respond to public opinion.

As for Ma’s “one country, two areas” formula, it reiterated that the design of “Taiwan and Mainland [sic] areas” as stipulated in the Constitution and the Act Governing the Relations between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) had remained the same since former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) was in office.

It said Tsai should know that Ma has not worked against the Constitution given her background and length of service as former Mainland Affairs Council chairperson and former vice premier.

Translation by Stacy Hsu, staff writer