In an open letter to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday that this year would be a cruel one for the party, but expressed hope that “in 2009 the DPP will become a party that surprises everyone.”
Tsai started the letter by recounting the various events the party went through in the past year: its defeats in the legislative election last January and the presidential election in March; former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) press conference on Aug. 14 in which he apologized for failing to fully declare his past campaign funds and wiring them overseas; and the launch of the “siege” on Nov. 6 to protest against Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin’s (陳雲林) visit.
“My responsibility is to reform and improve the party. The future of Taiwan is in danger and the DPP must be strong and stand by the people to overcome all the difficulties,” Tsai said in the letter, which was posted on the DPP’s official Web site, as well as on Tsai’s blog.
The party must be able to respond to most people’s expectations by taking a lead role in social progress, she said.
“The DPP’s social responsibility is very clear,” Tsai said.
“If Taiwanese society is divided under the administration of Ma [Ying-jeou, 馬英九], the party should play a role in bringing together public opinion; if the government is conservative and authoritative, we should represent freedom and democracy,” she said.
“If the government is pro-big enterprise, we should speak for the middle class, laborers and farmers; if Ma’s cross-strait policies lean toward China too much, the party should protect Taiwanese sovereignty and consolidate Taiwanese identity in civil society,” she said.
Tsai announced that after the Lunar New Year holiday the party would co-host a “2009 Taiwan Civil National Affairs Conference” with the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) to integrate public opinion on national affairs.
The DPP will also hold a national unemployment conference to integrate the voices of the unemployed and urge the government to ensure their rights.
Commenting on the letter, DPP caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) said yesterday he believed the DPP would be better this year because the party had gradually recovered from the scandal over Chen’s alleged money-laundering and because Tsai was listening to the real voice of the public, which Lai said was a good direction for the DPP.
Meanwhile, in a statement by TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) yesterday, Huang said Chinese President Hu Jintao’s (胡錦濤) speech on Dec. 31 calling for closer ties between China and Taiwan was one of China’s old tricks, aimed at unifying the two countries through cultural and economic integration.
By launching the “three big links” and the opening of Taiwanese universities to Chinese students, Ma’s administration had completely accepted Beijing’s policies toward Taiwan as well as adopted China’s “one China” principle, Huang said.
Huang said Ma should stop fooling himself by continuing to adhere to the so-called “1992 consensus,” which Huang said China would never respect.
During Hu’s speech on Wednesday, he said that the promotion of peaceful development of cross-strait relations should be conducted under the principle of “one China.”