Green Governance? First Tell Us How You Stand on the Republic of China Constitution
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 4, 2013
Summary: In order to wage a successful 2016 election campaign, the DPP is struggling to change its image. It is establishing new provisions against involvement in organized crime. It is rewording its "China [sic] policy." But as we have pointed out, if the party refuses to sever its links to Chen Shui-bian's corruption, or if it persists in defining Taiwan as "not part of China," their efforts will be in vain. If the DPP hopes to become a party the people can trust to rule, it must tell us, in no uncertain terms, how it stands on the Republic of China Constitution.
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In order to wage a successful 2016 election campaign, the DPP is struggling to change its image. It is establishing new provisions against involvement in organized crime. It is rewording its "China [sic] policy." But as we have pointed out, if the party refuses to sever its links to Chen Shui-bian's corruption, or if it persists in defining Taiwan as "not part of China," their efforts will be in vain. If the DPP hopes to become a party the people can trust to rule, it must tell us, in no uncertain terms, how it stands on the Republic of China Constitution.
Ever since the DPP was founded in 1986, it has remained a "dang wai" (outside the party) entity that purports to "struggle for the realization of democracy and constitutional rule." The party's attitude toward the constitution however, is hypocritical. First it expressed public support. Later it shrilly repudiated it. Still later, it stooped to cynically exploiting it even as it angrily denounced it. Eventually, it tried to destroy it. Its flip-flops have left the public unable to trust the DPP's lip service to the Republic of China Constitution, and even to constitutional rule per se.
At first, the DPP relentlessly attacked the way the KMT dealt with the Constitution. In its Party Constitution it proclaimed that, "For the past three or four decades, the Legislative Yuan has never held a comprehensive re-election. Instead, the KMT has imposed long-term martial law. The Temporary Provisions have nullified the constitution, and utterly undermined the principle of constitutional rule." The DPP concluded that "A nation governed by the rule of law must adhere to its constitution." "National emergency powers must not be permitted to undermine the constitutional framework."
But this show of "loyal opposition within the constitutional system" lasted a mere five years. In 1991, the DPP passed its "Taiwan Independence Party Platform." It denounced the "five part constitutional framework of the Republic of China" as a "white elephant." It advocated "the authoring of a new constitution in accordance with Taiwan's sovereignty, in order to establish an independent state." Ever since then its goal has been to overthrow the constitution.
In May 1999, the DPP, facing a presidential election, hoped to soften its Taiwan independence stance. It passed its "Resolution on Taiwan's Future." It proclaimed that, "Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation. Currently it is referred to as the Republic of China, in accordance with the Constitution... Any changes affecting its independent status, must be decided by a popular referendum." This resolution openly proclaimed that Taiwan was an independent nation, and that it held sovereignty only over Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu. It reworded the "proactive Taiwan independence referendum," turning it into a "reactive referendum against reunification." This strategy for Taiwan independence involves "first backdoor list, then stall for time." The party shifted its focus to indoctrinating the public with "cultural Taiwan independence" attitudes internally, while stalling for time with the Mainland authorities on the other side of the Strait. To avoid touching the third rail of de jure independence, the DPP temporarily stopped demanding a new constitution. But the only part of the "Constitution of the Republic of China" the DPP recognized was the name of the nation. The DPP treated the Constitution as temporary scaffolding to be discarded later.
In 2000, Chen Shui-bian was elected president. During the next eight years, Ah-Bian exploited constitutional loopholes to expand his personal power and to sow political chaos. He relentlessly demeaned and undermined the constitution. Just before the 1990 "National Conference," Ah-Bian denounced the constitution as a "Rube Goldberg contraption." Ten years later, during his presidential inauguration, he swore to "uphold the Constitution." But he had no intention of upholding this constitution. He exploited the Additional Articles, which granted the president the power to appoint officials and impose regulations. He used them to line his own pockets. He never missed an opportunity to slander the constitution as a "Rube Goldberg contraption."
Finally, in 2007, Chen Shui-bian spearheaded the DPP's "Resolution for a Normal Nation." He maintained that "Taiwan is an independent and sovereign state." He maintained that "Taiwan is still using the unsuitable ROC constitutional framework... resulting in an abnornal constitutional framework." He decided to "promote the rectification of names and the authoring of a new constitution." He reverted to the "original intent" of the "Taiwan independence Party Platform."
Alas, the Chen Dynasty engaged in monstrous corruption. Public outrage boiled over. The "Rectification of Names Campaign" fell on its face. Ah-Bian strategist Chiu Yi-jen recently publicly declared that, "We were forced to accept this constitution. But we were not sincere in our acceptance of this constitution." He confessed that even when it participated in the amending of the constitution, the DPP "did not completely accept the constitution." "The constitution was something we were forced to accept." No wonder during the "97 constitutional reform," Chiu Yi-jen admitted that there was an "arrangement to switch tracks." But later, when the DPP came to power, apart from the short-lived Tang Fei cabinet, Ah-Bian invariably maintained a minority government. Today, it is clear the DPP's endless promises to uphold the constitution and its amendments were nothing more than strategies to seize power. In their heart of hearts, they feel no loyalty to anything other than Taiwan independence, political power, and personal enrichment.
British philosopher David Hume spoke of "the assumption that every man is a knave." He argued that the design of any system for constitutional rule must assume that every politician is a knave. Chen Shui-bian and his family are living proof that Hume's assumption was not a theoretical proposition, but an ugly reality. During previous constitutional amendment processes, everyone lacked the requisite vigilance. This enabled knaves to exploit loopholes in the constitution, and almost destroy the Republic of China Constitution.
Today, as the Ma administration's prestige hits rock bottom, the DPP rubs its hands and licks its lips. It looks forward to a comeback three years from now. Frank Hsieh acknowledged that "We made many commitments to the constitution, but not one that we fulfilled." Other party princes have yet to make the same admission. Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang has merely reverted to the position stated in the DPP's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future." In other words, he intends to continue abusing the ROC constitution, using it as a means of "backdoor listing."
We hope Frank Hsieh was speaking the truth. We hope the DPP will choose to do the right thing. We are waiting to see.
社論－民進黨何去何從 系列3 綠色執政？先說清對中華民國憲法態度
正如本系列社論首篇所言，民進黨在一九八六年建黨之初，仍延續黨外主流，宣稱「 為實現民主憲政而奮鬥 」。但是，該黨對於憲法的態度前後不一：先公開擁護，後來公然否定，再惡化為一邊利用、一邊羞辱，最後積極毀憲。這種變化，使人民無法信賴其對憲法和憲政的誠意。