Following a fierce campaign battle over the past six or seven months, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) performance was less than ideal, as it was defeated in the presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 11.
The young generation of party members now have the responsibility to face the concerns of the next generation.
To do so, we must review the party’s political direction and cross-strait policy to determine whether it is capable of aligning itself with public opinion and taking Taiwanese forward.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) upheld its policy of protecting Taiwan against China while campaigning, but what exactly was the KMT’s discourse?
In the past, young KMT members repeatedly urged the party leadership and KMT Central Standing Committee to review its policy on the “1992 consensus” — the view that there is “one China, with each side having its own interpretation [of what China is],” which has been used by the party as a magical “political talisman.”
The older generation’s only response to these calls was to recall the glory of 1992 cross-strait negotiations and share stories of the situation during the talks.
While the KMT was unwilling to face up to the reality of today’s situation, People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), when campaigning for president, said that even if the pan-blue camp expressed its opposition to Beijing’s “one country, two systems” formula loudly and resolutely, the three-decade old “1992 consensus” is outdated and unworkable.
However, the KMT is holding on hard to the “1992 consensus” as if it were as precious as an ancestral tablet, and has absolutely no intention of discussing whether the position is still legitimate.
The DPP, on the other hand, has been able to gradually conceal its pro-Taiwanese independence party platform and adjust its political position by saying that it is protecting Taiwan against China, while leaning toward the political center by using the national title “Republic of China, Taiwan.”
This raises the question of whether the KMT has the courage to adjust its discourse just as the DPP has done.
The KMT’s position used to be that it was fighting communism, as the Chinese Communist Party’s rule caused hardship for Chinese. Faced with China’s growing national strength and international clout, this is a position that will be difficult to maintain.
As China is the world’s second-largest economy, the KMT’s continued insistence that it will retake the Chinese mainland and unify China is nothing but an unrealistic joke.
It is our obligation to face up to the next generation.
If the KMT really wants to continue to exist over the next 20 or 40 years, it must look inward and try to determine whether the party and its cross-strait policy will be able to develop in step with public opinion.
Allen Tien is chairman of the KMT Youth League.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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