Mon, Oct 04, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP resolution attempts to resolve ethnic tensions

ACTION The DPP's Resolution on Ethnic Diversity and National Unity is a good first step in addressing ethnic divisions after the presidential election, analysts say

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The passing of the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Resolution on Ethnic Diversity and National Unity last week not only showed the party's awareness of escalating ethnic tension after the presidential election, it also revealed the party's ambition to change into a political party that Mainlanders can embrace, analysts said.

"The DPP devoted a large portion of this resolution to explain that the oppression brought by the alien regime should not be attributed to Chinese immigrants, which aims to alleviate the insecurity of Mainlanders who have to face the reality that Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) won the presidential election," said Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences at Academia Sinica.

Obviously, Hsu said, the DPP was alert to the social upheaval and ethic tension that emerged after the March 20 presidential election was a reaction of supporters of People First Party (PFP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) -- two parties mainly supported by Mainlanders and their offspring.

"As a ruling party, the DPP has to respond to these problems and find a cure for them," said Hsu, a longtime strategist and advisor to the DPP.

Hsu said that the resolution might not alleviate the Mainlander insecurity over losing power in a such a short period of time, but for the DPP, "it could become a defense when facing the pan-blue camp's accusations that the DPP is in the business of sabotaging ethnic harmony," Hsu said.

Lee Yung-chih (李永熾), a history professor at National Taiwan University and an expert in Japanese and Taiwanese history, said the DPP's resolution signaled an important departure point for the party's evolution.

Lee said the so-called ethnic conflict was a false problem exaggerated by the KMT which wants to blur the issue of national identity.

"I think ethnic tension can be solved if the people of Taiwan can reach a consensus on the nation's status," Lee said.

However, singling out a clause of the resolution which states "identification with the Republic of China (ROC) and identification with Taiwan should be mutually compatible," Lee said he suspected electioneering was at play.

"I think it was a strategy that the DPP adopted to temporarily get rid of the thorny problem of national identification, since it is now the ruling party," Lee said.

Lee also said the identification with the ROC and identification with Taiwan are two totally different concepts representing different historical understandings. DPP Deputy Secretary-General Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) said the DPP has opted not to make a decision over whether to seek out and punish those who were involved in the violent repression of Taiwanese people under the old KMT regime.

"DPP members had intense discussions about the issues regarding loyalty [to Taiwan] when drawing up the resolution," Chung said.

Chung also said the DPP eventually made some compromises and put emotions aside in order to finish the resolution.

"Because we knew clearly that such issues wouldn't reach a satisfactory conclusion for every ethnic group, we couldn't let things remain unchanged," Chung said.

To see the full text of the resolution, check out the Taipei Times Web site at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/edit/archives/2004/10/02/2003205267.

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