Sat, Jun 05, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Activists, academics pan decision on referendum

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Activists and academics yesterday criticized the Referendum Review Committee for its decision to block a Taiwan Solidarity Union proposal to hold a referendum on whether the government should sign an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China.

“I am very angry that only a little more than a dozen people at the Referendum Review Committee could vote down a referendum petition endorsed by tens of thousands of people,” Taiwan Thinktank chief executive director Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) told a news conference in Taipei.

“[The Referendum Review Committee] has blocked direct democracy in Taiwan, it has denied the people of their basic right to make a decision for themselves,” she said. “We are angry, and we condemn the committee.”

She called the Referendum Review Committee a “monster,” and said it doesn’t make sense that the public — which is supposed to be sovereign — can only vote on something “when the committee says it’s OK to vote.”

Academia Sinica’s assistant research fellow of law, Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), said that the most ridiculous part about the design of the referendum system in Taiwan is that a referendum is a way for the public to show its dissatisfaction with the government and the parliamentary system.

“But the referendum system in this country gives the government — the target of public dissatisfaction — the power to decide whether the people can cast their votes on certain subjects,” Huang said.

Paul Lin (林保華), a political analyst and researcher who specializes in Chinese Communist Party (CCP) history, alleged that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is forming an alliance with China against the Taiwanese, and warned the Taiwanese public to be aware of this.

“Twenty-one years ago, the CCP turned down the Chinese people’s demand for reform with tanks, and last [Thursday] night, Ma’s government turned down the Taiwanese people’s right to referendum — a mechanism that the CCP is most afraid of,” Lin said.

Because the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government negotiated the ECFA with China, “Ma continuously promotes a good image of China, while China keeps promising benefits toward Taiwan,” he said.

“Well, once the ECFA is signed, you will see that all these promises are empty,” Lin said.

On that day, the public will find out that the CCP, not the Taiwanese people, is Ma’s real boss, Lin said.

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