The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will hold what it has described as a "grand debate" late next month, during which party members will discuss whether Taiwan should further liberalize or tighten its policy toward China and also delve deeply into all related subjects over which the general public has expressed concerns, a senior party official said yesterday.
The party's Department of Culture and Information Director Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said that DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun and other top party executives emerged from a recent two-day "consensus-forging session" with a decision to stage a thorough debate on what kind of China policy the ruling party ought to adopt.
Details about the process of the policy debate are still being mapped out by party officials, Tsai noted.
The party plans to hold the debate at a time when President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) recent statements about the new "active management" of cross-strait relations and that he was "seriously considering" abolishing the National Unification Council and guidelines have fanned controversy both at home and in the US.
Tsai did not elaborate on the subjects to be debated, but local businesses are concerned about the prospects of their investments in China, while the public is more worried about jobs, education, health care and social order.
Tsai said the DPP, which has been in power since 2000, will celebrate its 20th anniversary this fall, an occasion for the party to review is policy record and come up with new policy proposals in order, he said, to "regain public confidence and support."
He said that one important priority for the party will be the March by-election in Chiayi City for the legislative seat vacated by an opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker who won the mayoral election for Chiayi city in December last year.
"Winning that seat is critical to boosting the party's morale," Tsai said.