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Former President:Taiwan’s leaders should implement Taiwanese identity
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-06-21 01:13 AM
Former President Lee Teng-hui sharply criticized President Ma Ying-jeou Wednesday during a visit to Green Island, saying that when it comes to human rights, the only legal system Ma recognizes is Chinese imperial ideology. Lee said the biggest problem in Ma’s approach is that he needs to figure out who he really is.

Lee toured the Human Rights Park on Green Island, returning to a site where he unveiled a Human Rights Monument in 1999. He spent time with each of four invited political victims at the very place where they were incarcerated, pausing several times as he read the inscriptions on the monument,

Lee pointed out to reporters that Ma Ying-jeou has apologized to the victims of political persecution but added that the president does not really seem to understand how much the victims suffered. He said that he was reluctant to come out and criticize the incumbent president, but he would say to him, "You must figure out what kind of a person you are, that’s where this whole problem comes from."

Lee said, "I am Taiwanese, right? Nothing complicated about that. But if you ask [Ma] who he is, he doesn’t want to talk about it… His way of thinking, his lifestyle, five thousand years of Chinese culture, it’s all the way the Chinese emperors thought, that’s the only kind of ​​legal thinking he is capable of. There’s no way he can put the people first, or the national way of life.”

Lee Teng-hui said that Taiwan has been through six different regimes during its four hundred years of history, and if you ask Taiwanese "Who are you", they cannot say. He stressed the need for a Taiwan identity which is not based on nationalism but rather a new era in Taiwan. He said Taiwan’s leaders need to implement a Taiwanese identity that will be worthy of the sacrifices that the people of Taiwan have made.

Lee noted that when President Ma awarded the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon to former Control Yuan President Wang Tso-yung a few days ago, members of Wang's family complained that Lee had not conferred the award on Wang. Lee said that "The most important thing is to be sincere, " and stressed that his decision not to present the award to Wang was "strictly according to the rules".

Lee said that he intends to attend a nonpartisan event organized by former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh to pay tribute to five martyrs of the Taiyuan Incident. He said his participation will be on a social basis, noting that the martyrs deserved to be honored. He added, however, that he was not very clear about the details of the Taiyuan event itself, thus he will attend but believes that it is better not to say too much in advance.

On Thursday Lee attended a reception with businessmen in the Lu-yeh Plain near Taitung City. Asked his opinion on current plans for Taiwan and China to set up representative offices in each other’s territory, Lee replied that the two sides already are communicating with each other through the offices of the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait. Lee said the only problem in using these two platforms is that it needs to be made clear that communications between the two sides are being conducted on the basis of a state-to-state relationship.

Lee stressed that the SEF and ARATS have served the two sides well in providing communications with the other side, but that “if you want to set up an office, it should be based on a relationship between countries.” Asked whether he believed that setting up cross-strait mutual offices does not reflect a state-to-state relationship, Lee said, "Otherwise, what is the relationship? It’s a relationship between two peoples."

Lee said that legal experts all over the world have been stumped at how to describe Taiwan's legal status, so he came up with the term “special state to state relations”, the first time such a phrase had ever been used in the international community. Lee repeated his often-stated belief that Taiwan should first understand clearly what it is and strive to maintain its autonomy, and then exert its best efforts to reach formal statehood.

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