Sunflower Countercurrent: Reasonable Questions, Wrong Answers
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 19, 2015
Executive Summary: The Sunflower Student Movement reflects popular discontent and concerns over national policy. That is understandable. But problems such as generational deprivation, economic depression, globalization, and cross-Strait policy, cannot be addressed by resort to Taiwan independence. Surely Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP are still able to distinquish between truth and falsehood, between safety and danger. They must not follow the crowd, and persist in self-deception.
Full Text Below:
The Sunflower Student Movement exposed an undercurrent of intense anger among Taiwan youth. Alas, these youths have proposed the wrong answers for the right questions.
The Sunflower Student Movement was a reflection of social discontent. This is understandable. One. This generation feels deprived, as a result of social inequality, high prices, low wages, poor education, and job shortages. Two. This generation is concerned about cross-Strait relations, including the distribution of economic benefits, violations of legal process, the weakening of Taiwan centrism, cross-Strait power imbalances, and the prospect of Taiwan being swallowed up by the Mainland. Such concerns are understandable and reasonable.
Unfortunately the answers Sunflower Student Movement leaders have offered for these problems are the wrong ones. One. They fail to understand the distinction between revolution and democracy. Key players in the Sunflower Student Movement concede that they made revolutionary demands, and called for the government to be overthrown. But they hardly had grounds to occupy the Legislative Yuan. By doing so, they forfeited any democratic legitimacy. Two. They fail to understand the distinction between Taiwan independence and Taiwan interests. First they demanded a "line item consideration of STA regulations". They then rejected the STA altogether. The hidden agenda behind their opposition to the MTA and FPEZs was Taiwan independence. But does Taiwan independence actually equate with Taiwan interests? Do Taiwan interests equate with Taiwan independence? Three. They fail to understand the distinction between Taiwan independence and economic policy. The Sunflower Student Movement is attempting to solve economic problems through Taiwan independence. They have mistakenly attributed Taiwan's economic problems to closer cross-Strait relations. Therefore they demand the suppression of cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges, and question globalization. But can Taiwan independence really solve Taiwan's economic problems? Won't Taiwan independence make Taiwan even more marginalized and economically isolated?
Here is something especially worth pondering. Many older generation DPP leaders now suggest forsaking Taiwan independence altogether. They have even urged freezing the Taiwan independence party platform. and revising the text of the "Resolution on the Republic of China". Yet this current generation of Sunflower Student Movement leaders have generated a new wave of Taiwan independence consciousness. Betrand Russell said that every individual's political awareness begins with the Stone Age. Over the past 30 years green camp elders have exhausted Taiwan independence. They have come to understand the futility of Taiwan independence. They have begun revising their stand on Taiwan independence. They have even begun jettisoning Taiwan independence. Now however, Sunflower Student Movement Taiwan independence “newbies” have dragged Taiwan independence thought back to the Stone Age. The DPP has become a captive of the Sunflower Student Movement. Is has been taken hostage by this resurgence of Taiwan independence. This shocking countercurrent has set the movement back three decades.
Tsai Ing-wen recently committed two fallacies. One. She said that “for the younger generation, Taiwan independence is a natural ingredient". But this new generation Taiwan independence thinking is merely the product of protracted viewing of the world in green camp/DPP fun house mirrors. It is the result of distortions to Taiwan history and Republic of China history. It is the result of decades of indoctrination. It is not natural, but artificial. For example, Taiwan independence zealots claim that "The Republic of China is a foreign regime". What is the ratio of “natural” and “artificial” behind that claim? Two. Tsai Ing-wen said that if the DPP wins by a large enough margin, [Mainland] China will change to accommodate the DPP. In fact, Xi Jinping recently said that if the 1992 consensus is destroyed "The foundation will be undermined and the ground will shake". The Sunflower Student Movement's Stone Age Taiwan independence thinking is the product of its inexperience and naivete. Tsai Ing-wen's assertion that "Taiwan independence is a natural ingredient” and that “[Mainland] China will change to accommodate the DPP" are sheer folly. Over the past three decades. Taiwan independence zealots have learned painful lessons about the state of the world and the state of the nation. Do they actually intend to turn the clock back 30 years, merely to pander to the Sunflower Student Movement?
In fact, Taiwan independence is not a “natural ingredient". It is largely an artificial construct. Otherwise the DPP would never have proposed that the Taiwan independence party platform be frozen. Taiwan must deal with external factors such as the challenges of globalization and the threat of "the ground shaking". It is hardly assured that the Mainland will “change to accommodate the DPP ". This matter calls for a wise and rational response.
Tsai Ing-wen rejoices because she thinks "Taiwan independence is a natural ingredients" of the Sunflower Student Movement. But in reality, the DPP should be more worried about these newly-minted Taiwan independence zealots, replete with Stone Age political mindsets. Tsai Ing-wen assumes that "[Mainland] China will change to accommodate the DPP". But in reality the DPP should be worried that the "ground will shake". Tsai Ing-wen's two aforementioned fallacies make no distinction between reality and falsehood, between safety and danger. For someone with her mindset to return to power, is dangerous indeed.
Tsai Ing-wen sees Taiwan independence as a natural ingredient. This is tantamount to saying that she can only accept it and cannot change it. This amounts to fastening a Taiwan independence leash around her own neck. This is ostrich head in the sand behaviour. Taiwan independence could precipitate political and economic disaster. Tsai Ing-wen must bear political responsibility in the event she returns to power. Tsai Ing-wen is publicly pandering to Taiwan independence zealots. But she cannot govern the nation by means of Taiwan independence. If these contradictions precipitate catastrophe, upon Tsai Ing-wen, upon the DPP, and upon all Taiwan, who will apologize then?
The Sunflower Student Movement reflects popular discontent and concerns over national policy. That is understandable. But problems such as generational deprivation, economic depression, globalization, and cross-Strait policy, cannot be addressed by resort to Taiwan independence. Taiwan independence zealots may delight in the Sunflower Student Movement's primitive violence. They may believe they have found a Taiwan independence based solution for the economic and political problems confronting Taiwan. But they fail to realize these are mere relics of the Stone Age. Surely Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP are still able to distinquish between truth and falsehood, between safety and danger. They must not follow the crowd, and persist in self-deception.