DPP China Affairs Committee: Defective Organization, Defective Justification
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 10, 2013
Summary: Five years ago, in 2008, Chen Yunlin visited Taiwan for the first time, as ARATS chairman. The DPP launched no-holds barred street demonstrations. Today, by contrast, the two sides are about to establish representative offices. The DPP merely grumbles about "not undermining our sovereignty." By and large, it appears to have resigned itself to the situation.
Full Text below:
Outgoing ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin is visiting Taiwan. The two sides are in the process of establishing representative offices. Yesterday the DPP's "China Affairs Committee" held its first meeting.
Five years ago, in 2008, Chen Yunlin visited Taiwan for the first time, as ARATS chairman. The DPP launched no-holds barred street demonstrations. Today, by contrast, the two sides are about to establish representative offices. The DPP merely grumbles about "not undermining our sovereignty." By and large, it appears to have resigned itself to the situation.
It was in this sort of atmosphere that the DPP China Affairs Committee became operational.
Consider the committee's organizational structure. The committee consists of a convener and eight "party prince" level committee members. Consider the committee's rhetorical justification. During the meeting it announced a "Taiwan's Agenda for China." Both the organizational structure and rhetorical justifications outlined in the party's "agenda" suggest considerable room for improvement.
Consider the committee's organizational structure. Yu Shyi-kun and Frank Hsieh initially said they would not participate. Now Yu Shyi-kun has announced the establishment of an "Anti-One China, Defend Sovereignty Connection." Frank Hsieh has accepted the committee seat "reserved" for him. But he also announced that he would be chairing a cross-strait forum, to be held in Hong Kong in June. This means that these two factions within the China Affairs Committee are expanding their struggle, both inside and outside the committee. The committee's organizational structure means that the China Affairs Committee may develop in any one of three different directions. One. Taiwan independence hardliners and reformers may clash head on, tearing the DPP apart. Two. The two factions may settle into a "balance of terror." The DPP's cross-Strait policy may as a consequence, wind up chasing its tail. Three. The two factions may unite, and lead the DPP toward reform. We look forward to the third possibility.
Tsai Ing-wen wants to broaden China Affairs Committee participation. She wants to include Green Camp county and municipal leaders and younger generation leaders. She wants to introduce election considerations and younger generation thinking into the debate. Taiwan independence hardliners insist that "Taiwan independence is not about market appeal, but about responsibility." She is attempting to dilute their influence. Su Tseng-chang has endorsed Tsai Ing-wen's proposal. He intends to ask legislators, opinion leaders, and civic leaders to join the committee. This will dilute the influence of Taiwan independence hardliners on the China Affairs Committee via "intra-party democracy," thereby expediting reform. This also coincides with Su Tseng-chang's interests in 2016. Su is probably reluctant to draw fire from Taiwan independence hardliners by taking the lead in reform.
Consider the committee's rhetorical jusification. Its very name, "China Affairs Committee," speaks volumes. It practically shouts "Taiwan, China, one country on each side." But this path has proven to be a dead end. Is this what Su Tseng-chang meant when he spoke of a "new frame of reference?" The committee's "agenda" is still based on "Taiwan, China, one country on each side." It dictates a "Taiwan-centric agenda outside the framework of China."
The committee's "agenda" proclaims that "I am Taiwanese. My country is not the People's Republic of China." The word is it intentionally quoted Frank Hsieh. The implication was that "Even Frank Hsieh holds this position!" But the "Taiwan, China, one country on each side" framework has a problem. The problem is not "My country is not the People's Republic of China." The problem is what the DPP means by "my country?" Does it mean a "Nation of Taiwan," as in "Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country?" Does it mean the "Republic of China," as in "The Republic of China is a sovereign and independent country?" Does it mean a "backdoor listed Taiwan," as in "Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country. It is currently referred to as the Republic of China?" Can the DPP even tell us what it means by "my country?" The committee's "agenda" flip flops between a "Nation of Taiwan," the "Republic of China," and a "backdoor listed Taiwan under the name of the Republic of China." The committee's "agenda" fails to make any of this clear. Therefore how can it even begin to talk about "Taiwan's Agenda for China?"
For example, the "agenda" mentions that "over 80% of the public has no desire to reunify." But what does that 80% advocate? Does it advocate "one China, different interpretations?" Does it advocate "maintaining the status quo" under the premise of "no [immediate] reunification and no independence?" Does it advocate "Taiwan independence and the founding of a new nation," under the premise of "Taiwan, China, one country on each side?" The entire "agenda" invokes the rhetoric of a "Taiwan Dream" in a mealy-mouthed and evasive manner. How can it possibly live up to the name of something so ambitious and impractical as "Taiwan's Agenda for China?"
The "agenda" advocates "cross-Strait harmony and frictionless exchanges." Then it blames "stagnant wage growth" on the KMT-CCP 1992 Consensus. Stagnant wage growth is due to many complex internal and external factors. The DPP knows this. In recent years, cross-strait economic and trade exchanges have relied heavily on the 1992 Consensus. Without it, Taiwan's economic situation would be far worse. This is a watershed moment for DPP cross-Strait policy reform. Yet the "agenda" openly denounces the 1992 Consensus. This can only be described as bizarre. Is this what Su Tseng-chang meant when he spoke of "opening up new cross-Strait interactions?"
That was then, this is now. Organizationally, the DPP China Affairs Committee should broaden participation, making it a truly democratic entity. Rhetorically, the committee should reaffirm that "The Republic of China is a sovereign and independent country. Its core values are democracy. Its core interests are on Taiwan. Its long-range challenge is to resolve the problems faced by Chinese people the world over."
Chen Yunlin is currently visiting Taiwan. Does the DPP still remember the "agenda" it carried out on the streets of Taipei five years ago?
2013.05.10 03:26 am