Members and supporters of the Taiwan National Party (TNP) have called for more street protests and civil disobedience against the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government, as they gathered for an assembly meeting in Taipei on Saturday.
TNP leaders and advisers outlined a number of working plans and goals to accomplish in the coming years, including the formation of a “Taiwan National Congress,” which they said would be “true representatives of the people,” and setting up a “Taiwan Protection Squad” to maintain civil laws and order.
A new set of advisers, along with an executive committee and evaluation committee, were also elected.
At the conclusion of the assembly, Tsai Chin-lung (蔡金龍), a legal expert, was chosen as party chairman, taking over the post from interim TNP chairman Kao Chin-lang (高金郎), an independence activist and former political prisoner during the White Terror era.
Formed in 2011 by veterans of the Taiwanese nationalist movement, TNP is a small party that belongs to the “deep-green” end of the political spectrum.
The party’s first chairman was Huang Hua (黃華), who served four jail terms for a total of 23 years for his involvement in the independence movement during the Martial Law era.
Despite being a small party, the new TNP leaders said they would break the current lock the DPP has on the “deep-green” voters and would field candidates in the “seven-in-one” elections next year.
Ted Lau (劉重義), TNP’s chief adviser and a native of Greater Tainan, presented the party platform assessment and strategy during the assembly.
Lau, a doctorate in mathematics from Ohio State University who taught at George Mason University in Washington, called for TNP supporters and affiliated activist groups to organize more civil disobedience and street protests.
“The time is ripe for an Arab Spring-style ‘Jasmine Revolution’ in this country,” he said. “Taiwanese are fed up with the incompetence of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the corruption of KMT. The government has badly handled the economy, as business elites conspire together with bureaucrats to steal from the poor to line their own pockets.”
Lau said that public levels of dissatisfaction and anger had kept rising, leading to several large-scale protests in recent months that saw the joining of forces through social media of students, young people, the middle class, farmers and labor groups to form a movement of massive civil disobedience.
The mathematics professor called this the “Taiwan Nationalist Movement 2.0” for the Internet era, as the previous “Taiwan Nationalist Movement 1.0” of the past two decades had failed.
The 1.0 version failed due to the DPP going astray by abandoning its founding principles, abdicating the goal of Taiwanese independence and betraying its supporters by recognizing the political structure of the Republic of China as the legitimate government of the Taiwanese people, Lau said.
He called on the TNP and affiliated groups to organize even larger demonstrations, to continue the “occupy government buildings” movement led by the Taiwan Rural Front and other organizations, which culminated with a mass sit-in on the grounds of the Ministry of the Interior on Aug. 18 and Aug. 19.
“We should aim for a turnout of at least 20,000 people. If we can get this number of people to join in and keep up civil disobedience for one week, or two weeks, then we can paralyze this government. It will be a ‘people’s revolution,’ a popular uprising to overthrow the KMT government, then we can establish a new nation that can be true representatives of the wishes and aspirations of the Taiwanese people,” Lau said.
“Taiwanese should take lessons from the people of Ireland, and the experience of the Baltic states [under the Soviet Union], to learn how they won independence by standing up against their colonial rulers, and how they organized their revolutionary actions and nation-building process,” he said.