Is There Such a Thing as "Non-Utopian Taiwan Independence?"
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 31, 2009
Lin Cho-shui is known as the "master theoretician of the Taiwan independence movement." Lin recently coined a new term, "utopian Taiwan independence."
Lin Cho-shui once called Chen Shui-bian a traitor to Taiwan independence, because the type of Taiwan independence Ah-Bian advocated was "radical Taiwan independence," "rash Taiwan independence," and "populist nationalism." Lin Cho-shui said he advocated "measured Taiwan independence," and "moderate Taiwan independence." The problem is, Lin Cho-shui is very clear about what Chen Shui-bian's "aggressive Taiwan independence" is. But he has never been terribly clear about the principles and details of his own "measured Taiwan independence."
Lin's newly minted term, "utopian Taiwan independence" has the same problem. Lin says there are two kinds of "utopian Taiwan independence." The first is faith in the "Taiwan's Undetermined Status Theory." The second is faith in a "tripartite alliance between Taiwan independence, Tibetan independence, and Xinjiang independence." Lin Cho-shui considers both kinds of Taiwan independence utopian dreams that will come to naught. But he has yet to explain what he considers "non-utopian Taiwan independence," and whether any form of Taiwan independence can be considered non-utopian?
After 20 odd years of intense three way struggles between Taipei, Washington, and Beijing, the definition of Taiwan independence has been distilled down to "de jure Taiwan independence." In other words, the "rectification of names and the authoring of a new constitution" equals Taiwan independence. Any failure to rectify names and eliminate the Republic of China amounts to a failure to achieve Taiwan independence. If one looks at the big picture, domestically and internationally, those who advocate the "rectification of names and the authoring of a new constitution" are engaged in "utopian Taiwan independence." But on the other hand, can any form of "measured Taiwan independence" or "moderate Taiwan independence" which does not demand the "rectification of names and the authoring of a new constitution" honestly be considered "Taiwan Independence?"
Trong Chai accused Ma Ying-jeou of treason. His charge demonstrates the plight of the Taiwan independence movement. Trong Chai is a Deep Green Taiwan independence extremist. He repudiates outright the legitimacy of the Republic of China. If he is accusing Ma Ying-jeou of betraying the Republic of China, then Trong Chai himself is a traitor. Trong Chai is a champion of "utopian Taiwan independence." He is also a champion of a "virtual Republic of China." He is unable to achieve Taiwan independence, but at the same time his actions are throttling the Republic of China.
In fact the big picture, domestically and internationally has ensured that "utopian Taiwan independence" will remain just that, utopian. Today, according to Lin Cho-shui, the Taiwan independence movement has been reduced to the role of lackeys for the Tibetan and Xinjiang independence movements, How sad is that?
The DPP's arguments for Taiwan independence are embodied in three major documents. Their "Taiwan Independence Party Platform" calls for the founding of a new and independent nation. Their "Resolution for a Normal Nation" calls for the early rectification of names of the authoring of a new constitution. It may be classified as "aggressive Taiwan independence." Their "Resolution on the Nation's Future" argues that "Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation. Its current name is the Republic of China." This is Lin Cho-shui's last refuge for "measured Taiwan independence." But if "aggressive Taiwan independence" is utopian, then the implication that "Taiwan is currently known as the Republic of China. But in the future will no longer be known as the Republic of China" is also utopian. The practical effect of such arguments is that Taiwan independence cannot be achieved, but neither can the Republic of China be reaffirmed. This is a realistic depiction of Taiwan today.
The DPP must decide whether it wishes to participate in Taiwan's political and economic development under the name the "Republic of China" or the "Nation of Taiwan." The bigger picture suggests there is no longer any real difference between utopian Taiwan independence and non-utopian Taiwan independence, between radical Taiwan independence and non-radical Taiwan independence. The Republic of China is the Republic of China. Taiwan independence is Taiwan independence. If the DPP fails to establish a clear benchmark, it will remain trapped in a quagmire. It will not be able to achieve Taiwan independence, nor will it be able to reaffirm the Republic of China. Consider the Dalai Lama and Rebiyah Kadeer. Here the thinking of the Republic of China differs from the thinking of the Taiwan independence movement. The Republic of China and the Taiwan independence movement have very different benchmarks by which they deal with ECFA. They have very different ways of dealing with Chen Shui-bian's corruption trial, with relations between ethnic groups, with relations with Washington and Tokyo, and with relations with Beijing across the Taiwan Strait. These all require consistent standards. The public on Taiwan will trust the DPP only if it believes the DPP is operating under the premise that our nation is the Republic of China, and not some non-existent "Nation of Taiwan." Only then will it receive the trust and support of mainstream society. The Democratic Progressive Party has long relied on supporters of Taiwan independence to win Republic of China political office. The record shows this approach is a self-contradictory dead end. Chen Shui-bian's eight years in office was a fiasco. Does the DPP intend to keep believing in utopia?
As noted earlier, any scenario not involving the "rectification of names and the authoring of new constitution" is not "de jure Taiwan independence." It is not Taiwan independence, period. On the other hand, if the DPP ceases championing the "rectification of names and the authoring of a new constitution," it is swinging from one form of utopianism to another form of utopianism. In which case, why not amend its three major Taiwan independence documents, and reaffirm the Republic of China? As a UDN editorial noted earlier, the DPP must not treat the Republic of China as a "backdoor listing." It must grant it full recognition and invest its energy into ensuring its well-being and prosperity.
Otherwise, can the DPP really tell the public that there is such a thing as "non-utopian Taiwan independence?"