‘Freezing’ independence clause not enough: China

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Jul 22, 2014 - Page 3

Bejing yesterday dismissed a proposal by members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to soften the party’s stance on Taiwanese independence, saying it did not go far enough.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said the only right choice for the DPP that is in line with public opinion is to abandon its pro--independence position advocating the concept of one country on each side of the Taiwan Strait.

Ma was asked about the issue after a proposal by some DPP members to “freeze” the Taiwan independence clause in the party’s charter to boost the DPP’s chances in the next presidential election was briefly discussed at the DPP’s national convention on Sunday.

The proposal’s advocates argued that the independence clause, which calls for declaring a “Republic of Taiwan,” was superseded by the Resolution on Taiwan’s Future (台灣前途決議文) adopted eight years later in 1999.

The resolution sees Taiwan as already being a sovereign and independent country, with any change in the “status quo” to be decided by Taiwanese, and it also rejects the “one China principle.”

Although the resolution is seen as being more flexible than the independence clause, Ma said that even attempts within the DPP to conduct relations with China based on the resolution “will not work.”

The proposal to drop the independence clause gained little ground at the DPP convention on Sunday, with DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who presided over the proceedings, deciding to refer it to the party’s central executive committee.

Although no substantive action was taken on the proposal, Tsai made her position known on the eve of the convention.

She said in a statement that sticking to the values of Taiwan’s sovereignty and independence has become an “inherent part” of the younger generation and questioned why the party’s Taiwan independence clause should be frozen or abolished.

That statement was criticized yesterday by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who rejected what he said was Tsai’s attempt to “draw a parallel between the younger generation’s values related to individualism and the pursuit of Taiwanese independence.”

Hau, who is also vice chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), commended “many friends within the DPP” for advocating the freezing of the Taiwan independence clause, and said he hoped they would take further action.

Hau is considered one of the KMT’s most conciliatory politicians in dealing with the opposition parties.