Thu, Apr 11, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Lai talks independence, reforms in online broadcast

LIVESTREAM:Taiwan does not need to declare independence, as it already has all the trappings of a sovereign nation, former premier William Lai told Holger Chen

By Chiu Shu-yu, Chen Hsin-yu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Former premier William Lai, left, looks on as Internet celebrity Holger Chen talks during a livestream hosted by Chen on Tuesday.

Screen grab from the Internet

Former premier William Lai (賴清德), who has registered as a candidate for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential primary, in a livestream hosted by Internet celebrity Holger Chen (陳之漢) on Tuesday talked about the economy, reforms, nuclear energy and the primary.

Lai defined the DPP’s idea of an “independent Taiwan” as “Taiwan being an independent country named the Republic of China [ROC],” adding that there is no need to declare independence, as Taiwan fits every criterion of a sovereign nation.

Former presidents Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son, Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), supported taking back China for the ROC, Lai said, adding that if in the post-Chiang era their disciples were to accept unification, the ROC would cease to exist.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) New Year’s address was “tough” on national sovereignty issues and it is up to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to match her stance, Chen said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) “five points” are pressuring the pan-blue camp to sign a peace accord, “but any such accord would be fake,” Lai said, adding that had a peace accord been useful, Tibet would not be in its current state.

He was referring to the 1951 Seventeen-Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, which promised religious freedom and autonomy for Tibetans.

“Taiwan should not become a second Hong Kong or Tibet,” Lai said.

He said he is running in the primary because pan-green camp supporters are worried that losing next year’s presidential election — along with fewer seats in the legislature — would be detrimental to the promotion of democratic values and the preservation of the nation’s sovereignty.

Responding to the issue of whether to grant a special pardon to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Lai called for judiciary reforms so that everyone can have a fair and just trial, adding that the public should consider the case with more leniency.

Holger Chen said that soldiers, police officers and firefighters should have a pension program different from that for office workers due to the dangerous nature of their professions, and criticized the government’s decision to reduce the military budget, as well as pensions and benefits for retired police and military officers.

Lai said that reforming the pension fund for civil servants, military personnel and public-school teachers was necessary, as it was facing imminent insolvency.

The reductions would ensure the fund’s survival, Lai said, adding that without the reforms, civil servants, military personnel and public-school teachers would have no pensions.

Commenting on promoting non-partisan politics, Lai praised a collaboration between the pan-green and pan-blue camps.

Holger Chen said that police should be given greater authority.

Protesters from the China Unification Promotion Party often stage protests at the gym he runs, Holger Chen said, adding that such gang-like behavior should not be protected just because they operate under the guise of a political party.

Lai said that amendments last year to the Organized Crime Prevention Act (組織犯罪防制條例) provide greater leeway for police to crack down on gang-related activities.

Following the interview, Holger Chen was asked by reporters whether he supported Tsai or Lai, to which he said it would depend on their policies and stance on Taiwanese sovereignty.

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