Comments from a former aide of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) that Taiwan’s independence is no longer a marketable ideology among voters has created a buzz.
National Tsing Hua University professor Yao Jen-to (姚人多), who gained fame as one of the primary speechwriters for Tsai’s presidential campaign and the author of her concession speech, made the comments at a forum on Monday.
Yao, 43, yesterday said that the comments were his own and that he did not speak for Tsai, adding that one’s political observation “should not be used as a tool to intensify interparty competition and intraparty debates.”
Yao’s comments have drawn criticism from the DPP and its peripheral groups, in particular from staunch Taiwan independence supporters.
Former presidential adviser Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) rebutted the idea that Taiwan independence could no longer “win votes” in elections, saying that Taiwan’s de facto independence has been widely accepted among Taiwanese and even some Chinese.
The Taiwan Society said in a press release that sovereignty and independence are beliefs and values, and not products that can be sold on the market.
DPP members said that Yao spoke for himself, and the party has always embraced different opinions and debates.
In response to media queries, Tsai said her aides had floated different opinions and observations during the presidential campaign.
“However, everyone believes that Taiwan is already an independent country ... That’s the bottom line,” Tsai said.
Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said the Taiwan independence movement “still has its market share,” and “it was not an all-or-nothing thing.”
Both former premier Yu Shyi-kun and DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said that Yao was entitled to voice his opinions.