Ma’s ‘mainland’ call is a ‘throwback,’ FAPA says

‘NEW REALITY’::President Ma’s ‘semantic game’ of how to refer to China is detrimental to Taiwan’s future as a free and democratic nation, the group’s leader said

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in Washington

Thu, Feb 10, 2011 - Page 3

The Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) has reacted with “surprise and indignation” at President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) call for Taiwanese people to refer to China as “mainland China” or “the other side.”

FAPA president Bob Yang (楊英育) said: “To me, this is a throwback to the bad old days of the Civil War between the Chinese Nationalists of [former Republic of China (ROC) leader] Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and the communists of [former Chinese leader] Mao Zedong (毛澤東).”

“The Ma government should realize that the ‘Republic of China’ lost its legitimacy more than 30 years ago, and that the new -reality is that the People’s -Republic of China [PRC] represents China, and that Taiwan is a free and democratic country separate from China,” he added.

Ma made his call at a tea party with leading government and legislative officials on Monday.

Presidential Office Spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said that the use of “mainland” or “the other side” would avoid confusion, adding that: “The declaration was made in accordance with the Republic of China Constitution. Only by doing so can we uphold national sovereignty and protect Taiwan’s dignity.”

However, FAPA — one of the most active of Taiwanese--American groups — does not agree.

“In order for Taiwan to -preserve its democracy, it needs to strengthen its ties with the international community and everyone in the international community refers to Taiwan as ‘Taiwan.’ The time for anachronistic ‘ROC’ fictions is over,” Yang said.

A written statement, distributed by FAPA’s Washington office, said that Ma’s latest suggestion came on the heels of efforts by both the PRC and the Ma administration to lock Taiwan into the “1992 consensus,” which FAPA described as “a fiction conjured up by former Ma government official Su Chi (蘇起), who said that in 1992 the two sides agreed to ‘one China,’ but that each side could have its own interpretation.”

The FAPA statement read: “The problem with this ‘consensus’ is that the PRC never agreed that each side could have its own interpretation, while former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) — who served as president from 1988 through 2000 — has stated that such a consensus never existed in the first place.”

“It would behoove the Ma government to come back to reality and accept that China is China and Taiwan is Taiwan,” Yang said. “Playing his semantic games is detrimental to Taiwan and its future as a free and democratic nation.”