At yesterday’s opening ceremony for his Taiwan New Constitution Foundation, Taiwanese independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) said that a new constitution is needed to give Taiwanese a sense of nationhood.
The “status quo” in Taiwan’s relationship with China is disadvantageous to Taiwan, Koo said, adding that through the foundation, he would promote the drafting of a new constitution.
National Taiwan University honorary professor of law Lee Hung-hsi (李鴻禧) likened the Republic of China Constitution to Taiwanese folk monster Moxina (魔神仔), which legend says dwells in the wilderness and causes trouble and confusion for people who come near.
The Constitution is meaningless, but causes all sorts of problems for Taiwan, he said.
Several prominent Taiwanese independence supporters attended the opening ceremony, including former premier William Lai (賴清德), Taiwan New Century Foundation chairman Chen Lung-chu (陳隆志), Taiwan Forever Association president Jerry Cheng (鄭文龍), New Power Party Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), Social Democratic Party convener Fan Yun (范雲) and Taiwan Radical Wings Chairman Chen Yi-chi (陳奕齊).
The idea of drafting a new constitution tailored for Taiwan has been publicly discussed for more than a decade, Koo said.
Taiwan’s relationship with China and other countries is unstable, but at the US’ behest, presidents have been compelled to maintain the “status quo,” which has limited the nation’s participation in the international community, he said.
Taiwan is qualified to join the UN, but is prevented from doing so by the “status quo,” and only had to leave the international organization because Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) refused to participate alongside Beijing, he added.
Nevertheless, Taiwan has made outstanding achievements and contributions worldwide, Koo said, adding that a new constitution should be drafted so that the nation can formally participate in international organizations.
“China’s actions toward Taiwan are increasingly unreasonable and without consensus, which is causing change in Taiwanese society,” he said, adding that the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) losses in the nine-in-one elections on Nov. 24 last year were due to its failure to address public dissatisfaction with the “status quo.”
Despite the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, Washington’s main focus has always been its relationship with China, Koo said, adding that Japan has had the same priority.
“Taiwan is progressing every day. What is the meaning of [the US telling Taiwan to] maintain the ‘status quo?’” he said.
The DPP has long advocated for the formulation of a new constitution, Lai said, citing former Presidential Office adviser Peng Ming-min’s (彭明敏) platform when he ran for president in 1996.
Then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in 2004 called for a referendum on the issue of a new constitution and other parties have since then appealed for a new constitution, he said.
“Unfortunately, advocacy remains stuck at the point of advocacy, opinions remain simply opinions. The issue has not developed to the next step,” Lai said.
“Seeing the Taiwan New Constitution Foundation being formally established today, I personally respect Koo Kwang-ming greatly for his willingness to put his time and money into it,” he added.
A new constitution tailor-made for Taiwan is needed, because the current one was written in China and not with Taiwan in mind, Lai said, adding that Chinese values represented by the Constitution often conflict with modern Taiwanese values.
Although the Constitution was amended in 1996, a number of problems have emerged since then that have not been addressed, he said.
Taiwan must solve the issue of being an unrecognized nation, but this cannot be solved by one party alone, Lai said, adding that the nation’s political parties have not formed a culture that prioritizes national interests.
A new constitution could bring Taiwanese together, without which the nation cannot progress, cannot overcome failure in the international community and cannot face China, he said.
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