Lee Teng-hui Past and Present:
Clinging to Tsai Ing-wen, Distancing Himself from Chang Rong-fa
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
January 10, 2011
Summary: Lee Teng-hui has endorsed Tsai Ing-wen. This shows that Tsai Ing-wen remains a captive of the Taiwan independence movement. Tsai Ing-wen has chosen Lee Teng-hui's path. She has repudiated the 1992 Consensus. She has chosen the path of Taiwan independence. Others however, have chosen Chang Rong-fa's path. They have chosen to support the 1992 Consensus. They have chosen to oppose Taiwan independence.
Full Text Below:
Everyone is wondering how Lee Teng-hui will show his support for Tsai Ing-wen this election season. Will he get down on his knees? Will he appear before the public in a wheelchair? Will he weep openly? Will he appear before the public gaunt and unshaven?
Meanwhile, in Taipei, during a KMT led march on Saturday, EVA Air Chairman Cheng Kuang-yuan made his way through a sea of red, white, and blue Republic of China flags, followed by a dozen or so people holding high Evergreen company banners.
Evergreen CEO Chang Rong-fa, once a staunch supporter of Lee Teng-hui, issued a statement. He expressed unreserved support for the 1992 Consensus. He said "If following the election the victor insists that there is no 1992 Consensus, Taiwan's economy will be in serious trouble." He added even more bluntly, that the so-called "Taiwan consensus" is merely Taiwan independence under another name. He said Taiwan must not declare independence. If it does, the economy will collapse.
Chang Rong-fa now stands in diametric opposition to Tsai Ing-wen and Lee Teng-hui. When Chang Rong-fa said "If following election the victor insists that there is no 1992 Consensus, Taiwan's economy will be in serious trouble," he was talking to Tsai Ing-wen. Lee Teng-hui is currently sick and bed-ridden, Yet he has repeatedly issued statements maintaining that there was never any 1992 Consensus.
Few people are as outspoken as Chang Rong-fa. He bluntly noted that the so-called "Taiwan consensus" is merely Taiwan independence by another name. Tsai Ing-wen is not about to admit that her "Taiwan consensus" is merely Taiwan independence under another name. She will insist instead that her "Taiwan consensus" is merely "the democratic process" under another name. She will insist instead that eventual reunification or one China, different interpretations are also options. But she will not dare to suggest that the DPP's Taiwan independence party platform, its Resolution for a Normal Nation, one nation on each side, or Taiwan independence, are also options. This reveals her embarrassment. As we all know, Tsai Ing-wen's "Taiwan consensus" has only one purpose -- to enable Taiwan independence advocates to reject the 1992 Consensus. The only purpose of Tsai Ing-wen's "Taiwan consensus" is to provide Taiwan independence advocates with rhetorical cover. Its only purpose is to allow her to avoid directly rejecting the 1992 Consensus. This is a fact that Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP cannot deny.
Chang Rong-fa's criticisms are well warranted. As he astutely noted, Tsai Ing-wen refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus because she remains committed to Taiwan independence. But she is afraid to openly acknowledge that she is promoting Taiwan independence. Therefore she is using her "Taiwan consensus" as a smokescreen.
Chang Rong-fa said that "If following the election the victor insists that there is no 1992 Consensus, Taiwan's economy will be in serious trouble." He said that "Taiwan must not seek independence. If it does, the economy will collapse." He was speaking his mind then as well. Most commentators are mealy-mouthed. Chang is markedly different. He punctured Tsai Ing-wen's balloon by pointing out the contradiction of honoring ECFA but simultaneously rejecting the 1992 Consensus.
When Tsai Ing-wen spoke of "Standing behind President Ma are people with money," she was referring to Chang Rong-fa. But Chang Rong-fa is concerned about more than his own businesses. He is concerned about Taiwan as a whole. He said that next to other economies the world over, Taiwan is relatively secure. He emphasized that "A key factor is the Mainland." Only the 1992 Consensus enables Mainland tourists to visit Taiwan and spend money. Only the 1992 consensus enables fruits and vegetables from Taiwan to be exported to the Mainland. In Chang Rong-fa's eyes, the spillover benefits of the ten trillion dollar ECFA production chain, directly or indirectly encompass every industry on Taiwan and all walks of life. So-called "people with money" are definitely not the only ones who benefit. Tsai Ing-wen tried to depict the 1992 Consensus as a "forfeiture of our sovereignty and a humiliation of our nation." She tried to depict it as "sugar-coated poison" or "pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan."
If we use Lee Teng-hui as a reference point. Chang Rong-fa has been steadily drifting away from him. The two men are now poles apart. They have totally parted ways. But Tsai remains inextricably linked with Lee Teng-hui. She finds it impossible to shake off Lee Teng-hui. As a result, all she can do is embrace Lee Teng-hui, cling to Lee Teng-hui, and cling to Taiwan independence. What we see before us is Chang Rong-fa standing behind Ma Ying-jeou, and Lee Teng-hui standing behind Tsai Ing-wen.
This tableau is a microcosm of the presidential election. It represents our options in the presidential election. Chang Rong-fa has supported democracy on Taiwan since the "dang wai" era. Later he unreservedly supported Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian. No one can accuse him of not "seeing the world through Taiwanese eyes." But the world has changed. Our circumstances have changed. Chang Rong-fa obviously has new opinions about Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian. He obviously has new opinions about their policies as well as their character. That is why since 2008 he has been following the same path as Ma Ying-jeou.
Chang Yung-fa advocates adopting a "Taiwan perspective." But he opposes Taiwan independence. As a result, he has parted company with Lee and Chen. As Chang Rong-fa sees it, Tsai Ing-wen's "Taiwan consensus" is merely another euphemism for Taiwan independence.
Chang Rong-fa's perspective is reminiscent of what Chiang Pai-li wrote about a recent editorial. He wrote that Taiwan's political path must be congruent with its economic path. The more one departs from the other, the more swiftly Taiwan will perish.
The 1992 Consensus and one China, different interpretations is just that. It is congruency between Taiwan's political path and its economic path. Repudiation of the 1992 Consensus and advocacy of Taiwan independence, means a lack of congruence between Taiwan's political path and its economic path.
Lee Teng-hui has endorsed Tsai Ing-wen. This shows that Tsai Ing-wen remains a captive of the Taiwan independence movement. Tsai Ing-wen has chosen Lee Teng-hui's path. She has repudiated the 1992 Consensus. She has chosen the path of Taiwan independence. Others however, have chosen Chang Rong-fa's path. They have chosen to support the 1992 Consensus. They have chosen to oppose Taiwan independence.