Tsai Ing-wen: A Gopher Yet to Stick Her Head Out of the Hole
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
January 17, 2011
Taiwan independence elements have blasted Frank Hsieh's "One Constitution, Different Interpretations." They have hammered Frank Hsieh over the head. In doing so, they have simultaneously issued Tsai Ing-wen a warning. This intense reaction from Taiwan independence elements means they have drawn a line in the sand regarding the DPP's 2012 presidential campaign cross-Strait policy platform.
Party elders have dismissed Frank Hsieh's "One Constitution, Different Interpretations" as "word games." In fact, Frank Hsieh's rhetoric is merely a restatement of the DPP's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future." For example, it recognizes the ROC Constitution. It affirms that changing the status quo requires a referendum and must accord with the constitution.. These cover essentially the same ground as the Resolution on Taiwan's Future. As for Frank Hsieh's opposition to the "One-China Principle," that is merely an extension of the Resolution on Taiwan's Future. The resolution states, "According to the current constitution, the name of the nation is the Republic of China." This means that in the future the name might not be the Republic of China, and that the DPP might found an independent "Nation of Taiwan." In other words, Frank Hsieh's merely made another argument for "backdoor listing," not so different from the Resolution on Taiwan's Future. The Resolution on Taiwan's Future was already a word game. Frank Hsieh's One Constitution, Different Interpretations is merely a "word game within a word game." The DPP supports the Resolution on Taiwan's Future. So why are Taiwan independence elements reacting so strongly to Frank Hsieh's One Constitution, Different Interpreations?
Frank Hsieh is chopping the constitution into two halves, Internally, he recognizes the ROC Constitution. Externally, he calls for One Constitution, Different Interpretations. Taiwan independence elements are reacting only against One China, Different Interpretations. They consider One China, Different Interpretations word games. They also oppose Frank Hsieh explicitly recognizing the ROC Constitution. Taiwan independence elements feel that recognizing the Republic of China makes it difficult to repudiate the One China Constitution. This shows us that Taiwan independence elements have always opposed the backdoor listing strategy adopted in the Resolution on Taiwan's Future. Taiwan independence elements advocate the "Rectification of Names." Therefore how can they possibly advocate recognition of the Republic of China Constitution? Frank Hsieh was merely the first gopher to stick his head out of the hole. That's why he got hammered. The treatment he received of course sent Tsai Ing-wen a stern warning.
The prospects for Tsai Ing-wen are bullish. Taiwan independence elements are simultaneously hopeful and wary. They are taking a number of measures. The first is to resolutely oppose the 1992 Consensus and One China, Different Interpretations. That is why they oppose the One China Constitution and the Constitution of the Republic of China. Next, they oppose choosing a presidential candidate by polling the entire population. These are all measures intended to restrain Tsai Ing-wen, whom they consider "very un-DPP like." What happened to Frank Hsieh today was intended as an object lesson for Tsai Ing-wen.
Taiwan independence elements support Annette Lu. They of course have no illusions about Annette Lu's election prospects. They are doing so merely to contain Tsai Ing-wen, They want Tsai to pay attention to the views of "party members." Annette Lu is chummy with Taiwan independence elements. But she doesn't really think Tsai Ing-wen can get away with repudiating the August 1, 1992 resolution of the National Unification Council. The resolution stipulates that both sides adhere to the One China Principle, but each side interprets One China differently. This reveals the chaos within the DPP regarding its power arrangements and ideological direction. Annette Lu sees it, Tsai Ing-wen sees it too. Tsai Ing-wen finds herself squarely on the horns of a dilemma.
Taiwan independence elements hammered Frank Hsieh over the head. Their bottom line is opposition to the 1992 Consensus and One China, Different Interpretations. They oppose explicit recognition of the Republic of China and the Constitution of the Republic of China. They, unlike Frank Hsieh, are unwilling to play wordgames with the Republic of China and the One China Constitution. Cross-Strait policy will be an issue during the 2012 presidential election. The DPP is likely to fulfill Chen Shui-bian's prophecy. He warned Tsai Ing-wen that if she "opposed the 1992 Consensus, then she cannot perpetuate the policies of the previous adminstration after she is elected." In other words, if Tsai Ing-wen opposes the 1992 Consensus, she has no reason to support or maintain the 1992 Consensus, since it is the foundation and prerequisite for all cross-Strait relations, including ECFA. What will Tsai Ing-wen do? Will she accept the demands laid down by Taiwan independence elements when she enters the presidential race? Or will she proclaim "Five Noes" after she is elected president?
Frank Hsieh hoped to generate a climate of opposition to the 1992 Consensus within the party. He thought he could use ambiguous word games to lead the party out of its dilemma. Who knew Taiwan independence elements did not appreciate his slippery rhetoric. They hammered him over the head. He is now seeing stars. Tsai Ing-wen witnessed the results of Frank Hsieh's unsucessful trial balloon. Will she be able to play any wordgames with her "Platform for the Coming Decade?"