The Taiwanese National Party (TNP) yesterday announced its formation in Taipei, becoming the only political party in the nation to list a referendum on self-determination and the creation of a new country as its objectives.
Huang Hua (黃華), who served four jail terms for a total of 23 years for his involvement in Taiwan’s independence movement during the Martial Law era, was voted chairman of the party. Huang served as an adviser to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
“No one will give you an independent country as a gift. You have to earn it and that’s why we are establishing this party today,” Huang said.
About 100 independence supporters, most of them seniors, have registered as the party’s founding members. Among them, more than a dozen are retired or active university professors who used to be actively associated with the Taiwan Independence Party, otherwise known as the Taiwan Nation Party, which has lost momentum in recent years.
The party chose its founding day to remember the Taiwanese People’s Party, the first political party established by Taiwanese on July 10, 1927, during the Japanese colonial era.
The new party aims to promote Taiwanese nationalism by what it called the “Taiwan nationalism movement 2.0,” with the ultimate goal of “expelling the Chinese and safeguarding Taiwan” and the mid-term goal of holding a national referendum under international observance on Feb. 28, 2014, to determine Taiwan’s independence.
“Chinese” were defined by the party as “people who were born in or have lived in Taiwan for an extended period, but who identify [themselves] as Chinese,” Ted Lau (劉重義), mastermind of the party’s political philosophy, said in a keynote speech.
The first phase of the Taiwan nationalism movement ended last year in failure, Liu said, adding that a brand new “2.0” era would consist of actions as well as promotion and mobilization through the Internet and social media.
The TNP intends to duplicate the experience of Estonia, a former Soviet Republic that declared independence in 1991, by enlisting Taiwanese who favor the establishment of a new country, before holding a national referendum.
Liu said the party also tried to pattern itself after the Sinn Fein, a political party in Northern Ireland that supports the establishment of a new Irish Republic, and functions as part of a trinity organization, with the Taiwanese National Congress and the Taiwan Guardian Team making up the other two organizations.
“However, I think Taiwan has a mature society and mechanism, so the Taiwan Guardian Team will not be a military organization like the Irish Republican Army. It will be a grassroots organization that works for local communities instead,” Liu said.
“The road to Taiwan independence has been and will be a long and winding road,” political commentator Paul Lin (林保華), a Chinese who obtained Republic of China citizenship, said before giving the TNP his blessing.
The TNP said it would endorse Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in the presidential election in January, adding that it planned to nominate candidates for the legislative election.