Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday launched an online forum that aims to catalyze rational discussion of public policies and social issues as a prelude to the official establishment of her foundation today.
Tsai launched the “Thinking Taiwan Forum” Web site, www.thinkingtaiwan.com, before the establishment of her Thinking Taiwan Foundation, her first major move after losing in the January presidential election.
“A lot of people have asked me about my next step after the presidential election, and I have always answered that I would think deeply about Taiwan,” Tsai wrote in her opening statement for the online forum.
Tsai plans to initiate a comprehensive deliberation on crucial national issues, because “we have learned over the past few years that the government does not necessarily do that for us,” she wrote.
“If there is no one to do that for the public, we must do it for ourselves. First we think about it, and then we roll up our sleeves and do what needs to be done,” wrote Tsai, who many supporters expect to make another run for president in 2016.
The forum, which will publish guest columns on a daily basis and advocates rational and intellectual discussion that transcends political ideology, is to focus on six topics — democracy and governance, the economy, international affairs, China, education and culture, and people.
Two topics — the economy and democracy — stand out among the many issues that require deliberation, Tsai said.
It is important for Taiwan to find a new solution to economic development and to highlight fairness and justice without sacrificing economic growth, she said.
Equally important is a consensus that puts an end to persistent domestic political division, while rebuilding people’s trust in the judiciary.
Taiwan must contemplate its relations with China, a country with territorial ambitions on Taiwan, and should not blindly accept its growing dependence on China, she said.
“A new perspective of China — how the world perceives China; how Taiwanese people look at the Chinese government and its people; and what the situation is for Taiwanese businesspeople in China — should be the guiding principle for Taiwan’s understanding of China,” Tsai said.
“It may be naive to attempt to initiate serious discussion at this time, but I’m willing to give it a shot,” Tsai said, adding that she is optimistic that “a thirst for rational discussion does exist in Taiwan.”
Based on the Latin motto of Sapere aude, which means “dare to know,” stemming from the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century, the forum intends to construct a platform for people to explore all social issues, Thinking Taiwan Foundation executive director Lin Chuan (林全) told reporters on Saturday.
“Society will not change before a consensus is established and the forum is trying to do just that — by changing conventional perposectives,” Lin said.
The forum will invite writers and professionals from Taiwan, among them director Wu Nien-jen (吳念真), writer Hsiao Yeh (小野) and economist Ma Kai (馬凱), as well as dignitaries from Hong Kong and China, forum chief editor Cheryl Lai (賴秀如) said.
“We would like to make this forum not only an online platform to discuss public policy, but also a media in a broad sense,” Lai said, adding that the forum would not be a platform only for intellectuals as the Web site plans to increase civic involvement in the future.