Recommendations for amendments to the Constitution and plans for public hearings to solicit input from across society were presented at the legislature in Taipei yesterday by lawmakers from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and other parties.
DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) outlined several main recommendations, including changes to define the nation’s territory and existing national boundaries in Article 4 of the Constitution, and to amend a call for “national unification” in the Preamble to the Additional Articles of the Constitution, which was added in 2005.
Chen and Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應), who also attended, are members of the DPP’s Taiwan Normal Country Promotion Association, which is headed by Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃).
The DPP lawmakers proposed abolishing references to the nation as a “province,” and adding provisions to require that the nation be referred to as Taiwan in foreign affairs, when joining international organizations and when conducting humanitarian aid abroad.
When asked about removing references to “national unification” from the Constitution, Chen said that the wording was a holdover from the Chinese Civil War, the arrival of the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government and its troops from China, and the imposition of martial law in Taiwan.
Martial law was lifted in 1987.
“With martial law having ended as Taiwan transitioned into a democracy, the aim of ‘national unification’ is history,” Chen said, “Taiwan must not remain burdened by that history by the constitutional framework. The call for ‘national unification’ is no longer fitting in the political and social realities of today.”
DPP legislators Yu Tian (余天), Huang Hsiu-fang (黃秀芳), Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀), Chuang Ching-cheng (莊競程) and Chen Hsiu-pao (陳秀?) also signed the draft proposal and attended the news briefing, along with New Power Party (NPP) caucus whip Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智), who said that other NPP legislators, including Claire Wang (王婉諭) and Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華), also backed the proposal.
Independent Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) and Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) were also named as signatories on the DPP association’s proposal.
Four public hearings have been planned for next month, at which people from across society would be able to voice their opinions on possible amendments to the Constitution, Yu said.
The public hearings would focus on four themes: “Upgrading digital information and governance innovation,” “balanced national land development,” “deepening democracy through pragmatic constitutional amendments” and “using the name Taiwan to link up with the world,” he said.
Amending the Constitution to fix references to the “nation’s territory” and “existing national boundaries” is necessary, because a claim to all of China by the former KMT government is obsolete, Chen Ou-po said.
No nation agrees with such claims by Taiwan, because the People’s Republic of China is the internationally recognized legitimate government of China, he said.
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