The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will not revise the “Taiwan independence clause” in its party charter, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said while reiterating that Taiwan’s democracy will remain a beacon of hope for the people of Hong Kong and China.
Su made the remarks in response to a question from a Chinese student during a question-and-answer session after his talk on the future responsibilities of the DPP at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies on Friday.
The comment also marked the first straight-forward response from Su regarding the party’s “Taiwan independence clause” after recent debate on the clause within the party in which DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) suggested that the clause be frozen because it had already done its part in the party’s history.
The Chinese student in the audience said that from his understanding, Taiwan was a sovereign nation and he asked whether there was a possibility that the DPP could amend its “Taiwan independence clause” to promote democracy in all the regions of the “greater zhonghua culture” (大中華文化).
Stating that the party would not amend the clause, Su said that the most important thing for Taiwan, as a sovereign country, is to develop itself, rather than shouting pro-independence slogans.
“It’s akin to shouting: ‘I am a male’ when I already am, or wondering if I am a male simply because others do not think so,” Su said. “The most important thing is to have confidence in ourselves.”
In his talk, Su emphasized that “if Taiwan can establish a democracy, so can you” in reference to China, and cited the many Taiwanese who had gone abroad in the Martial Law period to experience democracy in its many forms.
He said many Chinese are today doing the same, namely going abroad, and “we believe that they can successfully take what they learn abroad back to China.”
Su said China may not like Taiwan’s style of democracy and may be put off due to the constant fights in the Legislative Yuan.
However, he added: “You [China] can invent a better democracy and we will respect that. At least we [Taiwan] are not like some one-party countries where the second-most powerful person suddenly disappears, and we don’t know if he’s been killed by machine guns or eaten by dogs, or where the richest man suddenly has all his property taken. Such a thing would not happen in Taiwan.”
“Taiwan stands on the front lines of China’s expansion, and Taiwan is in essence ‘the canary in the coal mine’ and can serve as an example to other countries that may have some disputes with China,” he added.
“We also understand that democratic Taiwan, although small, has become a source of hope for Chinese and Hong Kong democrats and we have responsibilities to them, too,” he said. “We stand ready to defend our democracy, and we will not give in. Here I would like to copy Winston Churchill, who said in October 1941: ‘Never give in, never, never, never.’”