Grand justice nominee Hsu Chih-hsiung (許志雄) said that Taiwan and China are sovereign states, while the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution, which was formulated in China, is out of touch with Taiwanese society.
“Taiwan is a sovereign country, which no one can dispute. The People’s Republic of China [PRC] is also a country, on which we all agree,” Hsu said in response to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ko Chih-en’s (柯志恩) question at a legislative review of the grand justice nominees on how Hsu, a supporter of the “two-nation theory,” understood the cross-strait relationship.
“Both [Taiwan and China] are countries. It is up to the 23 million Taiwanese to decide the nation’s direction,” Hsu said.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
The ROC title has different meanings, as it is Taiwan’s official name, while it means the PRC in the UN charter as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Hsu said.
Taiwan’s territory includes Taiwan proper and the islands of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, but not China, Hsu said in response to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lo Chih-cheng’s (羅致政) question about the Constitution’s definition of the nation’s territory.
“It is meaningless that the Constitution stipulates that the territory of the ROC [is defined] according to its existing national boundaries,” he said in reply to a similar question by New Power Party Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐).
“Taiwan is a nation, but not a normal one, because the nation’s official name, the ROC, is something that China no longer uses. The term [ROC] is not appropriate to [Taiwan’s] identity and is confusing for other countries,” Hsu said.
“The Constitution was drawn up in China and not tailormade for Taiwan. We need a constitution that is appropriate,” he said.
Asked whether he is willing to sing the national anthem, Hsu said he could not “act against his conscience,” as the first line of the national anthem — from the Three Principles of the People — speaks of a problematic political idea.
Quoting Hsu’s criticism of the Constitution as “foreign,” “unrealistic,” “rootless” and “haphazard,” KMT Legislator Chang Li-shan (張麗善) asked whether Hsu would stand up for the Constitution.
Hsu said that one could transition between roles, and as a grand justice he would protect the Constitution in accordance with the idea of constitutionalism.
When asked whether President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) High-Level Policy Coordination Meetings could interfere with the ideal of separation of powers, Hsu said it is not unconstitutional that Tsai chairs the meetings with the Cabinet and lawmakers, because it is the president’s role to harmonize the executive and legislative branches.
Any decision reached during the meetings cannot gain legal status without executive and legislative approval, he said.
Hsu said that lustration — exposing officials affiliated with authoritarian regimes engaged in the persecution of innocent people — is needed in a post-authoritarian era to carry out transitional justice, but it is regrettable that the nation sees little of it.
The Act Governing the Handling of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例) is necessary legislation that can facilitate transitional justice by stripping the KMT of assets it illicitly acquired during its totalitarian rule, Hsu said.
In response to questions from DPP Legislator Kolas Yotaka, Hsu said he supports the idea of legislating Aboriginal autonomy in the Constitution and is not against the idea of establishing a “nation-to-nation” relationship with Aboriginal entities.
Hsu said he opposes the death penalty, because the deprivation of life could be unconstitutional, adding that he did not speak for other grand justices and it takes a collective decision by grand justices to reach a constitutional interpretation.
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