Does Taiwan Independence Still Have a Market?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 7, 2013
Summary: Consider Taiwan independence from an ideological perspective. One can
understand its emotional appeal. One may even sympathize those who yearn
for it. But decades of hard reality have shown that Taiwan independence
is infeasible as a survival strategy. Therefore Taiwan independence
ideology is now merely for Green Camp "domestic consumption." This is
hardly surprising. The political usefulness of Taiwan independence
ideology has steadily declined. This much is evident. Given the degree
of decline, one can conclude that Taiwan independence ideology, at the
international, cross-Strait, and domestic level, is expired goods. It
should be taken off the shelves and returned to the manufacturer.
Full Text below:
Does Taiwan independence still have a market? That depends on one's interpretation.
Frank Hsieh says, "The DPP's cross-Strait policy has been a failure." Yao Jen-to says, "The time when the majority of the public can be persuaded that Taiwan independence is possible is over." This suggests that "Taiwan independence no longer has a market." But Yao Chia-wen, Yu Shyi-kun, Annette Lu and others have established an "Anti-One China Uphold Sovereignty Connection." They specifically cite Frank Hsieh's "Different Constitutional Interpretations" as the thing they oppose. This suggests that for some, "Taiwan independence does indeed have a market."
The political marketplace is dynamic. It experiences ups and downs. It undergoes growth and decline. The market for Taiwan independence has not completely dried up. In 1991, over 20 years ago, the DPP enacted its "Taiwan independence Party Platform." Since then the market for Taiwan independence has undergone major changes. The market has sharply declined. This much is obvious. Taiwan independence can be viewed from two perspectives. One, the content of Taiwan independence ideology, and two, its political usefulness.
First consider the content of Taiwan independence ideology, and the changes it has undergone as it has declined. One. The DPP's "Taiwan Independence Party Platform" called for the "establishment of a sovereign and independent Republic of Taiwan." This has vanished from the political marketplace. The Chen Shui-bian administration ruled for eight years. During that time it pandered to Taiwan independence sentiments with such gimmicks as the "rectification of names" and "normalization." But these were phony issues, which have since become dead issues. One by one, such demands have vanished from the political marketplace. Two. The content of Taiwan independence ideology has changed. It has declined. It has changed to "support for Taiwan's primacy." It has changed to "Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country. Its current name is the Republic of China" This formulation is known as "backdoor listing." Frank Hsieh advocates "different Constitutional interpretations." Yao Jen-to advocates changing "the founding of a nation" to "the establishment of diplomatic relations." In fact, both are forms of "backdoor listing." Both can be regarded as a "variant of Taiwan independence." This shows that the content of Taiwan independence ideology has changed. It has declined.
Now take the political usefulness of Taiwan independence ideology. Its political usefulness has changed as it declined. The political usefulness of Taiwan independence ideology can be divided into three types, or three stages. One. Taiwan independence ideology was useful as a means of opposing the Republic of China. For instance, the DPP used to refuse to publicly swear allegiance in front of the portrait of Sun Yat-sen. They characterized the Republic of China as a "foreign regime." Taiwan independence is no longer as politically useful as it once was in this way. During the 2012 presidential election, Tsai Ing-wen conceded that the "Republic of China was not a foreign regime." Two. Taiwan independence was useful in opposing the People's Republic of China or in supporting "de-Sinicization." But it is rapidly becoming less useful in this matter. For example, during the 2012 general election the DPP unconditionally accepted ECFA, which it had previously denounced as "pandering to [Mainland] China, selling out Taiwan, forfeiting sovereignty and humiliating the nation." Nevertheless it lost the election over the 1992 Consensus and "one China, different interpretations." Today Yao Jen-to has pointed out the DPP's cross-Strait dilemma. It is unable to offer a viable alternative to the 1992 Consensus. Also, Taiwan independence opposes the People's Republic of China. During the Cold War, there may have been a few buyers in the international political marketplace. But this is currently undergoing rapid change. Three. Taiwan independence ideology is politically useful in a third way, as an instrument for infighting within the DPP. As we can see, The political usefulness of Taiwan independence ideology has sharply declined. It is now nothing more than a justification for Yu Hsi-kun's "Anti-one China, Defend Sovereignty Connection." It is nothing more than fodder by which Yu Hsi-kun can blast Frank Hsieh's "different constitutional interpretations." It has become a political football tossed back and forth between Tsai Ing-wen and Su Tseng-chang in the run-up to the 2016 general election. It has become a pretext by which Green Camp Taiwan independence advocates can accuse Yao Jen-to of being "pro-unification" and a "traitor to Taiwan." It has even become fodder within the Green Camp for infighting between "pro-Chen" and "anti-Chen" factions.
Consider the changes in the content of Taiwan independence ideology. Consider its decline. The content has changed, from "Taiwan independence and the founding of a new nation" to "backdoor listing." Examples include Frank Hsieh, Yao Jen-to and other "Taiwan independence advocates." They wish to maintain "Taiwan's primacy," They realize they must invoke the Constitution of the Republic of China, and champion "different constitutional interpretations." They realize they must build upon the political framework of the Republic of China. They realize they must advocate something akin to the "Free Person's Declaration." They realize they have no alternative. But "backdoor listing" does not get to the root of the problem. The real solution in what this newspaper advocates, the "Glass Theory." Taiwan is the water. The Republic of China is the glass. As long as the glass remains, the water is contained within it. Once the glass is shattered, the water spills out and is lost.
The political usefulness of Taiwan independence has changed. It has declined. The political usefulness of "Taiwan independence" in the market of international politics and domestic politics has changed. It has declined. Frank Hsieh says "Taiwan independence is directed against the KMT. It is not directed against the Chinese Communist Party." Today Yao Jen-to thinks "Taiwan independence" cannot replace the 1992 consensus. This means Taiwan independence ideology is no longer effective against the KMT. The political usefulness of Taiwan independence ideology has declined. It is now something that works only against Green Camp rivals inside the DPP. It has become nothing more than fodder for vicious infighting over ideological paths and political offices. Henceforth Taiwan independence ideology will merely be a pretext which DPP insiders invoke while battling each other, jockeying for position, and selling the public a bill of goods. Taiwan It provides the DPP with fodder for intraparty infighting. But does Taiwan independence ideology still have any market at the international, cross-Strait, and domestic levels?
Consider Taiwan independence from an ideological perspective. One can understand its emotional appeal. One may even sympathize those who yearn for it. But decades of hard reality have shown that Taiwan independence is infeasible as a survival strategy. Therefore Taiwan independence ideology is now merely for Green Camp "domestic consumption." This is hardly surprising. The political usefulness of Taiwan independence ideology has steadily declined. This much is evident. Given the degree of decline, one can conclude that Taiwan independence ideology, at the international, cross-Strait, and domestic level, is expired goods. It should be taken off the shelves and returned to the manufacturer.
若將台獨當作一種意識形態來看，其在精神或感情上的內蘊是可以同情與理解的；但是，經過幾十年來的現實驗證，台獨卻絕無可能做為台灣的生存戰略（strategy of survival）。因此，台獨漸漸只剩下綠營的「內需市場」，也就不足為怪。今從台獨一路滑坡而明顯表現在內涵及功能上的變化、退化及異化來看，應可斷言：台獨在國際、兩岸及台灣內部皆已是理應退貨下市的過期商品。