The Republic of China: A Force for Cohesion
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 9, 2014
Summary: The Republic of China has become a banner increasingly able to
inspire the public. Its significance must be broadened and deepened. It
must be made more forward-looking, developmentally oriented,
future-oriented, rather than narrow, self-demeaning, and inflexible. The
ROC has powerful justifications for its existence. The "National
Unification Guidelines" includes such justifications and principles. It
also includes a comprehensive process. It deserves greater
consideration. It deserves to be updated and enriched.
Full Text Below:
Taiwan independence can become a form of religious faith. Opposition to Taiwan independence, on the other hand, cannot become a religious faith. In which case, how should non-Taiwan independence forces formulate their ideals and generate cohesion?
Chen Chang-wen, an attorney at law, wrote an editorial for the China Times. In a clear and straightforward manner he said, "Taiwan independence is a religious faith. But opposition to Taiwan independence cannot become a form of religious faith. Instead, it is a repudiation of faith, one that lacks a firm center." Chen Chang-wen thinks that "Such a repudiation of faith is rooted in fear. Fear will only make people flee. It cannot inspire them to embrace something from within themselves." This is the key reason why non-Taiwan independence forces on Taiwan gradually began losing their idealism and momentum beginning in 2008. This is the key reason why Taiwan independence has gotten stronger day by day.
The Sunflower Student Movement forced Ma Ying-jeou to promote party reforms. Many people are wondering just what are the KMT's ideals and beliefs? Chen Chang-wen argued that opposition to Taiwan independence cannot become a form of religious faith. Jaw Shao-kang said "The raison d'etre for the KMT cannot be merely to oppose Taiwan independence, or enable cynical politicians to fulfill their person ambitions. If the KMT cannot come to that realization, then it has lost touch with its ideals. How then can it appeal to the people and touch people's hearts?" Jaw said, "The KMT must reclaim its ideals. Only ideals can attract young people. Only ideals can give the party hope."
Taiwan independence for some people is indeed a kind of religious faith. It does indeed wield a certain kind of power over them. This "ideal" may look pretty on the outside. But that is an illusion. It will eventually lead to destruction. It lacks a solid foundation. It lacks a real future. The question is, apart from opposition to Taiwan-independence, what choice does Taiwan have? Which political party, the KMT, the PFP, or the New Party, has offered such a choice?
Ma Ying-jeou has proposed and practiced a policy of "no re-unification, no Taiwan independence, and no use of force." This may be the way he positions Taiwan during the next two years. After 2008, brushfires broke out repeatedly in the Taiwan Strait. Cross-Strait tensions increased. "No reunification, no Taiwan independence, no use of force" was a position that most people could depend on for the time being. It represented the preservation of the status quo. It meant that the orderly lives of ordinary people would not be disrupted. But it was hardly a bold position. It could hardly inspire people, and lead them forward. As Chen Chang-wen said, It had a powerful odor of "passivity and longing for safety."
Consider the current international and cross-strait situation. "No reunification, no Taiwan independence, no use of force" is already lagging behind. It cannot unite the people. It cannot lead Taiwan. Taiwan intelligentsia must do more than merely oppose Taiwan independence. They must offer a new practical vision not divorced from reality. A new political vision cannot emerge out of nowhere. It must have a solid foundation, rooted in reality. This solid foundation is the Republic of China.
The Republic of China has a multitude of virtues. It boasts legitimacy, practicality, development potential, and attractiveness.
One. After undergoing democratic transition on Taiwan, the Republic of China ceased being a "foreign regime" or "government in exile." After democratic reforms and numerous elections, the ROC has been thoroughly updated. It boasts a solid foundation that can ensure stability and prosperity for Taiwan.
Two. The Republic of China is a practical option. It offers a stark contrast to the reckless adventurism of Taiwan independence. Even mainstream Green Camp leaders have shifted in the direction of the Republic of China. The Republic of China has become the practical option in Blue vs. Green and reunification vs. independence controversies. It has become the common denominator in the minds of the people.
Three. The Mainland authorities once perceived the ROC as "past history." But with the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, the Mainland authorities are increasingly willing to recognize the Republic of China. The Mainland constitution has ironically become a pillar of strength for cross-Strait relations.
Four. The banner of the republic remains a valuable asset in the development of cross-strait peace, and a valuable legacy for the Republic of China. This may be the result of historical nostalgia, of the Republic of China's rich and diverse culture, of the vitality of its civil society, or of memories of the era's constitutional thought. Whatever the reason, it continues to hold considerable appeal for the people on the Mainland,
For a long time the Mainland authorities repudiated the ROC, or at least avoided acknowledging its existence. But more and more, Mainland scholars are "emancipating their thinking" about Taiwan. National Society of Taiwan Studies Executive Vice President and Secretary General Zhou Zhihuai said "When it comes to reasonable arrangements, (in cross-strait political relations) more imaginative solutions can be found." Peking University Taiwan Research Institute president Li Yihu said we should adopt a "keep what we have unchanged, whatever is added can be reformed" approach. What the two sides have is declarations that their own sovereignty includes the other's constitution. In other words, "one China, two constitutions," means that "one China" and "two constitutions" can coexist.
This means the ROC's "one China framework" is not "past tense." On the contrary, it offers new opportunities and vitality. It can become a stabilizing and constructive force in cross-Strait relations. It can inspire people and bolster their political convictions.
The Republic of China has become a banner increasingly able to inspire the public. Its significance must be broadened and deepened. It must be made more forward-looking, developmentally oriented, future-oriented, rather than narrow, self-demeaning, and inflexible. The ROC has powerful justifications for its existence. The "National Unification Guidelines" includes such justifications and principles. It also includes a comprehensive process. It deserves greater consideration. It deserves to be updated and enriched.
2014年05月09日 04:09 中國時報 編輯部