Declaration of Freedom or Tao Te Ching?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 29, 2013
Summary: The "Free Person's Declaration" is a mutation of the Taiwan independence virus. Is there a market for it? Do the leaders of the watch really not know? Or are they merely pretending not to know? To take this path, they must repudiate three things: the "nation of Taiwan," the Republic of China, and the People 's Republic of China. Is this really the way out for the DPP?
Full Text below:
A group called "Taiwan Democracy Watch" has issued a "Free Person's Declaration." It is proposing a "Charter of Human Rights" to reframe Taiwan's relations with Mainland China. During a seminar, watch member Professor Yao Renduo said the DPP is caught in a dilemma. It is unable to offer an alternative regarding cross-Strait relations comparable to the 1992 Consensus.
He was blunt. He said the Taiwan independence movement has lost the support of mainstream society. Most people feel the era of Taiwan independence is over.
Taiwan Democracy Watch is comprised mainly of younger generation Green Camp academics. Among them are some thoughtful individuals. The Free Person's Declaration attempts to establish a "new link between Taiwan and [Mainland] China." But Yao Renduo said the Declaration contains loopholes and blind spots. Its authors should engage in self-examination and clear up the confusion as soon as possible.
Yao said the DPP is unable to offer an alternative on cross-Strait relations that can compete head to head with the 1992 Consensus. He hit the nail on the head. But why? The "One China, different Interpretations" aspect of the 1992 Consensus includes the genus "one China," as well as the differentia, "different interpretations." The DPP's Taiwan independence rhetoric repudiates the genus "one China." It even refuses to recognize the Republic of China. It refuses to recognize anything Chinese. It refuses to recognize "different interpretations." Yao said a declaration of Taiwan independence and the founding of a nation of Taiwan cannot replace "one China, different interpretations." This is the root of the DPP's cross-Strait dilemma.
The Free Person's Declaration attempts to resolve this dilemma. It moves away from a declaration of Taiwan independence, the founding of a nation of Taiwan, and a clash over national sovereignty. It moves towards a civil society-based cross-Strait "Charter of Human Rights." Its main thrust is that genuine sovereignty should be rooted in human rights, in the "sovereignty of people." Therefore the People's Republic of China cannot be regarded as a truly sovereign nation. According to watch members, the Republic of China contains discrepancies regarding Taiwan's sovereignty and the political framework of the ROC. The Constitution of the Republic of China was not authored through the democratic process by the people on Taiwan. Therefore neither the Republic of China nor the People's Republic of China meet the conditions for sovereignty. The two countries' constitutions lack legitimacy. Watch members argue that neither the Republic of China nor the People's Republic of China is a truly sovereign state.
This repudiates "one China, different interpretations," by arguing that neither side is a sovereign state. It repudiates the Republic of China, by drawing distinctions between "Taiwan's sovereignty" and the political framwork of the Republic of China. It argues that the Constitution of the Republic of China was not authored by the people of Taiwan in accordance with democratic procedures. It argues that the relationship between people on the two sides cannot be summed up as "the Chinese people." To watch members, the relationship is more akin to concern for the suffering of people in Southeast Asia. Watch members wonder how much of the Republic of China is left in the Republic of China. Can it still be regarded as the Republic of China?
The "Free Person's Declaration" is perhaps a surreal "Tao Te Ching" that transcends politics. It invokes "human rights" in order to deny both the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China the status of sovereign nations. It invokes "civil society, freedom, human rights, democracy, social equality, and justice" and its "Charter of Human Rights." It cites them to justify the the establishment of a cross-Strait community by peaceful means. But ECFA was not signed by civil society in accordance with the watch members' "Charter of Human Rights." It was the result of across the board cross-Strait interaction. How could it have been implemented without sovereignty, without countries, and without governments?
Taiwan independence and the founding of a nation of Taiwan no longer have any takers. The authors of the "Free Person's Declaration" have apparently concluded that the Taiwan independence movement will not be able to found a "nation of Taiwan." They argue that neither the Republic of China nor the People's Republic of China are true sovereign states. They argue that cross-Strait relations can be reduced to people to people relations. They want to use their "Charter of Human Rights" to establish cross-Strait links. The two sides should of course share a common strategy in upholding human rights. But this cannot be done by repudiating national sovereignty. Instead one must begin by improving the quality of national sovereignty, and by reducing confrontation over cross-Strait sovereignty.
Why is the DPP unable to find a substitute for the 1992 Consensus? The most important reason is that it repudiates the Republic of China. Do the authors of the "Free Person's Declaration" really believe that the Republic of China is not a sovereign state? Do they recognize only "Taiwan's sovereignty?" They are unable to found a "nation of Taiwan." Taiwan independence no longer has any takers. They refuse to accept the Republic of China. They insist it is not a sovereign state. Therefore when they interactd with the other side, they are essentially saying that they are nothing, that they are non-entities. How can they possibly resolve the DPP's cross-strait dilemma?
The "Free Person's Declaration" is a mutation of the Taiwan independence virus. Is there a market for it? Do the leaders of the watch really not know? Or are they merely pretending not to know? To take this path, they must repudiate three things: the "nation of Taiwan," the Republic of China, and the People 's Republic of China. Is this really the way out for the DPP?
2013.04.29 02:55 am