The Withering Away of the State vs. the Resolution on Human Rights in the Taiwan Strait
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 27, 2013
Summary: The Beijing authorities have asked the DPP whether it dares to forswear calls for de jure Taiwan independence. Actually, it should ask the DPP whether it dares to reaffirm the Republic of China. Does the DPP really wish to use "cross-Strait civil society exchanges" as its counter-argument? Does it really wish to offer a fantastical response to a real question? Isn't it being just a tad unrealistic?
Full Text below:
The DPP is attempting to establish a new rhetorical framework for cross-Strait political relations. Apparently it favors the "Resolution on Human Rights in the Taiwan Strait," proposed by Pan Green academics from "Taiwan Democracy Watch." The DPP's "China Affairs Committee" has made reference to "Taiwan's China Agenda." During its recent All Peoples Conference it made reference to a Resolution on Human Rights in the Taiwan Strait. These documents complement each other.
These three documents have certain key phrases in common. The first is "human rights.' The second is "civil society." Their primary purpose is to persuade fundamentalists within the party to agree to open communications with the Mainland. It is to reduce political resistance from within the party. These documents argue that exchanges promote democracy and human rights on the Mainland. They argue that "civil society" is the participant in these exchanges. The Democratic Progressive Party purports to be throwing open the doors of communication. Yet it resorts to these sorts of mealy-mouthed obfuscations. They merely reveal the deep-seated contradictions within the party.
The Resolution on Human Rights in the Taiwan Strait, was originally entitled the Resolution on Human Rights in China. It originally contained the passage, "If our government intends to reach any political agreements with China [sic], then the people in China must first implement universal suffrage and democratic government." But this passage is missing in the "Taiwan Strait" version. Why the change? The question is intriguing. The "Free Person's Declaration" should be examined on the basis of its original wording.
The Declaration argues that "Until the regime in China [sic] has democratized, the two parties should not conduct any consultations with political implications." It even argued that "China is a one party state. Therefore it has no real "people's sovereignty." Therefore it is not a "fully independent nation." This is a fantastical variant on "withering away of the state" rhetoric. It is a pretext to deny that China is an independent state and to reject political consultations with the opposite shore. The Declaration purports to be an argument championing communication. But it has determined that "China is not a fully independent state." So how does the Declaration intend to interpret the 18 agreements the two sides have signed and implemented, including ECFA? Were these agreements with the opposite shore not signed with a government not established by means of universal suffrage? Were these agreements signed instead by the two sides' civil societies?
These three documents no longer call for "Taiwan independence and the founding of a new nation." The China Agenda and Resolution on Human Rights in the Taiwan Strait do not mention the "Republic of China." The Declaration mentions the "Republic of China." But it asserts that the ROC is not a fully independent state. This is surprising. The Declaration argues that the "constitutional government implemented by the public on Taiwan" and the constitutional framework of the" ROC " allow for confrontation, compromise, and divisions." If that is the case, then how did the Republic of China, allegedly not a fully independent state magically become "Taiwan, a sovereign and independent state?" The Republic of China is allegedly not a fully independent state. Yet Taiwan somehow qualifies as a sovereign and independent state. Is this political reality, or political dogma?
The "withering away of the state" rhetoric originated with the Communist Manifesto of 1848. Yet today, in the 21st century, it has found a home in the thinking of the Democratic Progressive Party. Is this not surprising? These three documents denigrate or flat out repudidate both the PRC and the ROC. Yet they purport to champion cross-Strait exchanges. They argue that the framework for such exchanges is civil society. This "withering away of the state" rhetoric amounts to talking to oneself. How can it possibly provide a framework for cross-Strait strategic relations?
The People's Republic of China is not a democracy. But its state and its government are real enough. Otherwise, consider nations such as North Korea. One need only argue that they are nations that fail to embody "popular sovereignty." One can then ignore the need for conflict resolution with them. The assertion that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country is essentially a phony proposition that can only be heard among citizens of the Republic of China, a truly sovereign and independent state.
The term "Republic of Taiwan" has vanished from the three documents. The DPP must turn back. It must come to grips with the fact that the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China exist. How can the DPP deny that the two exist? How can it attempt to invoke civil society to argue that both states are dead, or to deconstruct the two sides' political systems? Beijing would ridicule such an argument. Such an argument would undermine the Republic of China's cross-Strait status. It would provide even less support for their pipe dream of Taiwan as a sovereign and independent state. In fact, if one wishes to advocate human rights in the Taiwan Strait, one would be on firmer footing championing the Republic of China, which has in fact implemented them.
The DPP's Taiwan independence path was originally Taiwan independence and the founding of a new nation. It called for opposition to the People's Republic of China, which claimed to represent all of China. It amounted to a confrontation between one state and another. Who knew the DPP would suddenly perform a total about face? It now no longer mentions the "Republic of Taiwan." It now argues that the People's Republic of China is not a sovereign state because it lacks universal suffrage and democracy. It even alleges that the Republic of China is not a fully independent nation. Yet, somehow it has concluded that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent state. In one fell swoop, it has concluded that cross-Strait relations are "people to people," and "civil society to civil society" based. What does this underscore, if not the failure of the Taiwan independence movement's confrontation between states rhetoric? It is now attempting to substitute an ostrich head in the sand "withering away of the state" rhetoric in its place.
The Beijing authorities have asked the DPP whether it dares to forswear calls for de jure Taiwan independence. Actually, it should ask the DPP whether it dares to reaffirm the Republic of China. Does the DPP really wish to use "cross-Strait civil society exchanges" as its counter-argument? Does it really wish to offer a fantastical response to a real question? Isn't it being just a tad unrealistic?
2013.05.27 01:48 am