While former premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) landmark visit to China is laudable, a line needs to be drawn under cross-strait exchanges so that democracy and freedom in Taiwan can be safeguarded, a democracy advocacy group said yesterday.
“Democratic and constitutional principles should be upheld in the exchanges between the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群), president of Taiwan Democracy Watch, an alliance of academics, told a press conference.
Interactions between the DPP and the CCP should never involve politics and neither political parties nor politicians have the right to engage in political negotiations with Beijing without the authorization of the public, the group said in a statement.
The group asked if Hsieh’s comments, including his “one Constitution, two interpretations” initiative and appeal for both sides of the strait to work out political differences, reflected the beginning of future political talks.
“Regardless of how brilliant your proposals may be, you did not have a popular mandate to engage in such talks,” the group said of Hsieh’s interactions with Chinese officials.
Another concern was the perception that “Beijing certification” was a ticket to presidential electoral success, Taiwan Democracy Watch said, adding that the DPP should not strive to attain Beijing’s recognition of its China policy nor bow down to the “one China” principle in order to return to power.
It is imperative for the DPP to conduct dialogue, not only with the CCP, but also with Chinese civil society, Hsu said, adding that it was important that the DPP obtain a true consensus among Taiwanese on democracy and freedom, Hsu said.
“I didn’t hear Hsieh mention anything about Taiwan’s democratic values, freedoms or human rights while in China,” Hsu said.
Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強), a lawyer and Taiwan Democracy Watch board member, said he had three “serious reminders” for China, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the DPP.
Lai called for Beijing not to set any political preconditions on conducting exchanges with the DPP and warned the KMT — which he said always collaborated with China to contain the DPP — that the DPP’s refusal to recognize the “1992 consensus” would be a “bargaining chip” for both Taiwan and the KMT and would also be beneficial to democratic development in Taiwan.
If the DPP agreed that political issues are the most difficult in the cross-strait dialogue, then “why is the DPP choosing to deal with it now?” Lai asked.
The reason the DPP cannot break through the 45 percent support barrier in national elections is because of its “KMT-ization,” rather than its China policy, said Chu Ping-tzu (祝平次), a professor at National Tsing Hua University and a Taiwan Democracy Watch board member.
“A DPP which does not safeguard democratic principles would not be able to lead this country, even if it returned to power,” Chu said.