Anxious not to displease its masters in Beijing, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has for many years adopted a robust stance against Taiwanese independence and frequently attacked the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for promoting sovereignty. As the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) purge of the nation’s artists, celebrities and entertainers continues apace, a loophole in the KMT’s cross-strait policy has been exposed that the party cannot afford to ignore: the Republic of China (ROC) and Taiwanese independence are one and the same.
The media have reported that Taiwanese actress Janine Chang (張鈞甯) is the latest victim of the purge after her master’s degree thesis, titled “The legal issues regarding management of entertainers’ agents in our nation,” was dug up by Internet users and examined with a fine-tooth comb.
The thesis refers to Taiwan variously as “our nation” (wo guo, 我國) and the “ROC” (Zhonghua Minguo, 中華民國). Chinese Internet users have seized this as supposed evidence that Chang supports Taiwanese independence. They are now attempting to destroy her career, although Chang has said she has “no view on independence.”
The vexatious attack on Chang indicates an intensification of the polarization of the unification versus independence debate; anything short of unification now equates to independence. In the eyes of Chinese, any text or expression other than the People’s Republic of China (PRC) means Taiwanese independence, regardless of whether the term used is the “Republic of China” or the “Republic of Taiwan.”
Given the changing of the goalposts, this raises a question: Will the KMT still dare continue to advocate for the ROC? Since the ROC means Taiwanese independence, will the KMT come over to the side of justice and righteousness, dispense with its unrealistic “China dream” and get behind Taiwanese sovereignty?
Taiwan is a liberal democracy with an independent and sovereign populace, territory and system of government; it is evidently a different country from China. After World War II, Japan merely renounced “all right, title and claim” to Taiwan and the Penghu archipelago. The only reason that Taiwan was founded by the former government of China is that it was asked to administer it under the Allied powers’ system of trusteeship.
According to the ROC Constitution, the ROC is the legitimate government of China and this is precisely why Taiwan faces the “united front” threat from China and why the nation’s status remains unsettled to this day. It is also why Taiwan needs to normalize its status.
Since every term except the PRC now means Taiwanese independence, the KMT might as well ditch its anti-independence stance as well as its support for the so-called “1992 consensus,” which long ago was exposed as a “united front” mechanism. Taiwanese should put aside their differences and work together to achieve independence, either by revising the Constitution or by creating a new one.
Pan Kuan was a participant in the Sunflower movement.
Translated by Edward Jones
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