China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 10, 2016
Executive Summary: Today is the birthday of the Republic of China. It is also the anniversary of its third change in ruling parties. Everyone including President Tsai Ying-wen, Kuomintang Chairman Hung Hsiu-chu, and civil service and military personnel, are prepared to celebrate the national birthday, by the numbers. The general public is also celebrating the National Day holiday. But many wonder how many more celebrations of the Double Ten National Holiday the future holds.
Full Text Below:
Today is the birthday of the Republic of China. It is also the anniversary of its third change in ruling parties. Everyone including President Tsai Ying-wen, Kuomintang Chairman Hung Hsiu-chu, and civil service and military personnel, are prepared to celebrate the national birthday, by the numbers. The general public is also celebrating the National Day holiday. But many wonder how many more celebrations of the Double Ten National Holiday the future holds.
For the Republic of China, birthdays are indeed increasingly harder to celebrate. Internally the Democratic Progressive Party advocates the establishment of a "sovereign and independent Republic of Taiwan". Externally, the People's Republic of China, which divided the Republic of China in two 66 years ago, is emerging as the world's second-largest economy. It is attempting to keep pace with the United States and lead the world. The Chinese Communist Party, which leads the People's Republic of China, is willing to engage with the Chinese Nationalist Party, but it refuses to recognize the Republic of China. This has increasingly shrunk Taiwan's international breathing space. Today, when everyone is preoccupied with whether Ma Ying-jeou and Chen Shui-bian will attend the National Day celebration, it may be worth considering how Sun Yat-sen would feel if he could be here.
These are dark times for the Republic of China. Both the green camp and the red camp seek to end the Republic of China. Alas, they have found that the dimmer the light of the Republic of China shines, the more turbulent cross-Strait relations become, and with it, the gloomier the future of Taiwan. In a tempest tossed Republic of China, interaction between the two sides and the three parties is paradoxically essential to the survival of Taiwan and the Republic of China. The continued existence of the Republic of China is conducive to the stability of the two sides, as well as Taiwan.
Consider the subtle relationship between the three parties and the Republic of China. We need not discuss the KMT. For the Kuomintang, the Republic of China is inviolate. We can instead analyze the necessity and importance of the Republic of China to the Chinese Communist Party and the Democratic Progressive Party.
First consider the perspective of the Chinese Communist Party. In "1911, Sun Yat-sen led the Xinhai Revolution, abolished the feudal monarchy, and founded the Republic of China." Unless one is reminded specifically of the fact, one might assume this passage is the preamble to the Republic of China Constitution. In fact, it is the preamble to the People's Republic of China Constitution. It clearly explains the origin of China's legal system. Mr. Sun Yatsen founded the Republic of China. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China considers Sun Yat-sen's Xinhai Revolution the source of modern China's legal system. It merely added, "But the historic duty of the Chinese people to defeat imperialism and feudalism remains incomplete".
The constitutional basis is not hard to find. The People's Republic of China, founded in 1949, may be a new government, but it is not a new nation. The nation is China. China has existed for many millennia. The Republic of China is modern China. It is the original entity, the main body. The Chinese Communist Party created a split in this original entity, this main body. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China considers this split the result of an historical duty to "oppose imperialism and feudalism".
The Mainland has called for peaceful reunification for nearly half a century. It has gradually realized that its own long-term rejection of the Republic of China has been the Taiwan independence movement's biggest booster. But the existing political consciousness has plunged it into a dilemma. It is unwilling to recognize the Republic of China, but it cannot deny the danger of refusing to recognize the Republic of China.
Both sides of the Strait hope to maintain peace and prosperity. The relative strengths of the two sides has changed. Rational consideration suggests that peace and prosperity are conducive to peaceful reunification. The Mainland side must face the fact that when the Republic of China shrinks or disappears, the vacuum will not be filled by the People's Republic of China, but by the Republic of Taiwan. In other words, leave aside the Republic of China for the moment. For the Mainland side, cross-Strait relations would be even more dangerous and move even farther from the Mainland's "great cause of reunification".
Now consider the DPP perspective. In Tsai Ing-wen's inaugural address, she declared that "I have the responsibility to defend the sovereignty and territory of the Republic of China, in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of China". But most of the time Tsai Ing-wen is unwilling to use the term " Republic of China". Her cultural and educational policy is quite clear. It is to sever all connections to Chinese culture and Chinese history. She has reiterated that she would "respect the constitutional system of the Republic of China". But in her letter to her DPP comrades, she explained that she was doing so grudgingly, because she was "fettered by the constitutional framework".
Tsai Ying-wen's position is self-contradictory. The Republic of China that Tsai Ing-wen defends is not the Republic of China founded in 1911. It is the Republic of China that emerged after 1949. It is a Republic of China that has been emptied of its legal significance. Furthermore, Tsai's defense of the Republic of China treats the ROC as the temporary shell of a hermit crab, as a form of backdoor listing. It temporarily accepts the "Republic of China" to protect its advocacy of Taiwan independence, which it will never abandon.
This sort of of unwilling, expedient, deceitful approach toward the Republic of China, has made the future of the Republic of China uncertain. It has provoked chaos and confrontation on Taiwan. People are gradually seeing through the deception. A Republic of China emptied of its legal significance is merely a movie prop. It is increasingly useless and unable to play a protective role.
Views about cross-Strait relations on Taiwan are confused. The two sides of the Strait must squarely confront history and the big picture. They must accept the concept of a "Complete Republic of China".