The Constitution is the Republic of China's Operating Manual
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 6, 2012
Frank Hsieh has authored a new book, "The Future: A Different Taiwan."
In it he compares politics on Taiwan to an automobile accident. He says
automobile accidents have two causes. One. The driver. Two. The
automobile. He said the political problems plaguing Taiwan cannot be
resolved merely by changing drivers.
Full Text below:
Frank Hsieh has authored a new book, "The Future: A Different Taiwan." In it he compares politics on Taiwan to an automobile accident. He says automobile accidents have two causes. One. The driver. Two. The automobile. He said the political problems plaguing Taiwan cannot be resolved merely by changing drivers.
Frank Hsieh's new book explores national and constitutional allegiance. He asks whether holding a presidential election every four years can really solve the problems plaguing Taiwan. He provides his own answer. He says democratic elections can no longer cure the long-standing ills plaguing Taiwan. Changing the ruling party merely replaces the person who manipulates the public. It merely replaces the politician who lies and shirks responsibility. It does nothing to heal society's wounds.
We may wish to borrow Frank Hsieh's analogy when exploring the problems plaguing Taiwan. First of all, the Republic of China is an automobile with a unique and problematic design. Worse, everyone who has driven it has objected to its design. Some hae even advocated dismantling it altogether. Taiwan independence advocats have gotten behind the wheel of the Republic of China.But they pretended it was their "Nation of Taiwan." The vehicle was wrecked, and the driver was hospitalized. This gives rise to another problem. The majority of people on Taiwan are now afraid to change drivers.
In fact, modifications to the Republic of China have never ceased. Martial law was lifted. The entire legislature was replaced. The public participated in direct presidential elections. The legislature passed amendments in "response to the requirements for national unity." The government adopted a "1992 consensus" and "one China, different interpretations" strategy. The Republic of China was significantly changed. But regardless how much it was modified, the Republic of China retains the basic structure of the Republic of China. Can this vehicle be successfully driven on the road? That depends on the driver's state of mind. The driver may object to the vehicle he has been entrusted to drive. He may even hate it in his bones. A Taiwan independence advocate may find himself behind the wheel of the Republic of China. In which case a car crash and injuries are highly likely.
Frank Hsieh appears to be addressing Taiwan independence advocates. He resorts to vague, round about, hesitant, even self-contradictory rhetoric, He hopes to establish a "constitutional consensus" within the Green Camp. He wants them to swear allegiance to "Taiwan's Constitution," in other words, the Constitution of the Republic of China. When face to face with (Mainland] China, he wants them to do so under the aegis of the Constitution of the Republic of China. He wants them to do so under the Republic of China's national title and national flag. He wants to begin with "exchanges and dialogue." What Frank Hsieh means is that the Green Camp should first swear allegiance to the Constitution of the Republic of China, to its national title and national flag. He wants it to begin by conducting "exchanges and dialogue" with the public on Taiwan.
Frank Hsieh says the problems bedeviling politics on Taiwan cannot be solved merely by changing drivers. But his real concern is that the public is afraid to change the ruling party, It is afraid to allow the DPP behind the wheel. Therefore if the DPP refuses to change its attitude, it may never be allowed behind the wheel of the Republic of China again. Even if it succeeds. it will merely repeat the same vicious cycle. It will merely go from eager anticipation to severe disillusionment. The DPP refuses to comply with the Constitution of the Republic of China. It refuses to view it as the Republic of China "operating manual." Thefore how can it safely operate the car known as the Republic of China?
The key political problem on Taiwan, is deep-seated disagreement over national and constitutional allegiance. This has led to three serious consequences. One. As Frank Hsieh noted, given deep-seated disagreements over national and constitutional allegiance, how can we define ourselves when negotiating with Beijing? Can we really discard the Republic of China and replace it with a "Republic of Taiwan?" Two. Consider the political struggle is between the Republic of China and the "Nation of Taiwan." One side opposes the Republic of China and everything along with it. The other side opposes "Taiwan independence" and everything along with it. This undermines the national policy debate. On the surface it looks like a public policy debate. But below the surface, it is a life and death struggle over national and constitutional allegiance. This makes rational government impossible. This marginalizes national policy, reducing it to a phony issue. Rational political evolution becomes impossible. The nation and society spin their wheels. Three. This brings us back to Frank Hsieh's concerns. What's the point of quadrennial presidential elections? What is the point of democratic elections? The Blue and Green camps merely manipulate the public. They merely remain trapped in a vicious cycle.
View the matter calmly. The problems encountered by the Republic of China may have originated with the vehicle design. But the bigger issue is the driver. Some drivers utterly refuse to recognize the Republic of China, They operate the Republic of China as if it were a "Nation of Taiwan" instead. How can they possibly avoid wrecking the car? How can they possibly escape bodily injury? Frank Hsieh proposes a "constitutional consensus." Essentially he wants to use the ROC Constitution as the vehicle's operating manual. He wants the driver of the vehicle to assume responsibility, and not run the car off the road.
What Hsieh did not say was that the international community will never recognize a "Nation of Taiwan." A "Nation of Taiwan" can never become the constitutional consensus. Therefore the nation must reaffirm the Constitution of the Republic of China, its national title and its national flag. National and constitutional allegiance must converge. Only then will opposition to the Republic of China not mean opposition to everything. Only then will opposition to Taiwan independence not mean opposition to everything. Every driver of the ROC must view the ROC Constitution as his operating manual. Only then will the public be willing to consider another change in ruling parties. Only then will it be willing to change drivers. Only then will it escape its constitutional dilemma.
The Constitution of the Republic of China is its operating manual. The Republic of China is a sovereign and independent nation. The future of cross-Strait relations will be determined in accordance with the constitutional procedures of the Republic of China, by 23 million citizens.
2012.05.06 03:05 am