Cross-Strait Policy Must Comply with the ROC Constitution
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
January 12, 2011
When the Ma administration enunciated its cross-Strait policy, it stressed that "Taiwan's future must be determined by 23 million people." This sounds eerily reminiscent of the DPP's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future." It could be considered plagiarism, and may well be unconstitutional.
Green Camp rhetoric has undergone a four stage evolution. Stage One. During the 1950s, it championed "democratic self-determination," demanded a "public referendum," and proclaimed that "Taiwan's future should be decided collectively by the Taiwanese people." Stage Two. The 1991 "Taiwan Independence Party Platform" demanded "an independent nation and the authoring of a new constitution." Stage Three. The 1999 "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" argued that "Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation. According to the current constitution, it is referred to as the Republic of China." It argued that "any changes to the status quo regarding independence, must be determined by the Taiwanese people via referendum." Stage Four. In 2007, it trotted out its "Resolution for a Normal Nation" and called for the "swift rectification of names."
Amidst these four stages, "democratic self-determination" has remained a consistent theme. The "Taiwan Independence Party Platform" called for the founding of a "Republic of Taiwan." The "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" adopted a "backdoor listing" strategy. It called for a "unified referendum." The Resolution on Taiwan's Future stipulated that any declaration of "independent status" would require a referendum. The "Resolution for a Normal Nation" again called for the "rectification of names." These four different stages of Green Camp rhetoric have been merged into DPP policy positions. This has resulted in a strange phenomenon, namely "four simultaneous stages, with chickens and rabbits in the same cage." What's more, a Fifth Stage will be soon be added -- the "Platform for the Coming Decade." But "democratic determinism" has remained its consistent theme, namely, "Taiwan's future must be determined collectively by the Taiwanese people."
The Ma administration appears to be copying the DPP's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future." But if we look closely. we realize the DPP's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" is moving closer to "Republic of China" reasoning. In 1999, for the sake of Chen Shui-bian's presidential campaign, the DPP is began promoting its "New Centrist Path." Hence the "Resolution on Taiwan's Future." In 1998 this newspaper proposed a "referendum on unification." We departed from the notion that only a declaration of independence required a referendum. The DPP meanwhile, is still calling for "four simultaneous stages, with chickens and rabbits in the same cage." Therefore, its main thrust remains "Taiwan independence" and "backdoor listing."
When the Ma administration and the DPP simultaneously proclaim that "Taiwan's future must be decided by 23 million people," people will naturally demand that certain distinctions be made. For the Democratic Progressive Party, 23 million people is all it takes to overthrow the Republic of China and found a separate "Nation of Taiwan." But for the KMT and the Ma administration, this is not the case. Freedom of expression is protected by the constitution. Therefore private individuals may advocate independence. But the Ma administration clearly does not consider Taiwan independence an option. If it did, the KMT and the Ma administration would be no different from the DPP on such issues as "Taiwan independence," an "independent Taiwan," the "two-states theory," "one country on each side," and "backdoor listing." The negative press the KMT received recently was clearly self-generated.
When the Ma administration addresses cross-Strait policy, it often proclaims its allegiance to the "framework of the ROC Constitution." But can one proclaim that "Taiwan's future must be determined collectively by 23 million people," while simultaneously proclaiming that "cross-Strait policy must comply with the ROC Constitution?" The KMT and the Ma administration must reaffirm their allegiance to the "Republic of China." They must also uphold the spirit of "democratic self-determination." They must distinguish themselves from the DPP. They must go beyond the DPP. Only then can they avoid charges that they are "violatiing the constitution."
As mentioned earlier, Green Camp assertions that "Taiwan's future must be determined by 23 million people" has its origins in the DPP's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future," in Taiwan independence ideology, and "backdoor listing." By contrast, "the future of cross-Strait relations must comply with the ROC Constitution," is predicated upon the Republic of China and "One China, Different Interpretations." The emphasis is on "future cross-Strait relations," complying with "the Republic of China Constitution, democratic processes, and the rule of law."
The term "complying with the Republic of China Constitution" has two meanings. One. The cross-Strait status quo. All processes must of course comply with the ROC Constitution. Whoever is in office must rise to office in accordance with constitutional processes. Opposition parties must provide checks and balances, in accordance with constitutional processes. In other words, cross-Strait policy is the result of constitutional processes, including elections, majority rule, ruling party changes, democracy, and the rule of law. In 2000, the DPP won the right to rule by just such means. So did the KMT In 2008. Two. Amendments in the preamble of the Constitution stipulate that "in order to meet the needs of the nation prior to reunification," the constitution will allows for "one China, different interpretations" and "divided rule." If one day this "prior to reunification" constitution is amended, it must of course be amended in accordance with constitutional processes.
The argument that "cross-Strait policy must comply with ROC constitutional processes," is more compelling than the argument that "Taiwan's future must be determined collectively by 23 million people." The "One China Constitution," the "1992 Consensus," "One China, Different Interpretations," "No [immediate] reunification, no independence, and no use of force," "Putting Taiwan first, and benefitting the people," are all mutually reinforcing policies. These are the basis for Taipei's cross-Strait policy. They are guidelines for cross-Strait relations that Beijing should accept and cannot refuse to accept.
The direction and content of existing cross-Strait policy for the 23 million people on Taiwan, was formulated in accordance with the Republic of China Constitution, democracy, and the rule of law. The same rules must of course apply to future cross-Strait policy.
2011.01.12 02:49 am