Alexa

Hsieh pledges to promote ethnic harmony

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) signed a pledge yesterday to respect ethnic harmony and refrain from making or supporting any actions or statements that could spark ethnic antagonism in the current election campaign.
Hsieh signed the three-point pledge yesterday at his "Taiwan Renovation" headquarters in the presence of Taiwan Peacetime Foundation Executive Director Chien Hsi-chieh, the pledge's initiator, and other civic reform leaders.
The pledge commits the DPP candidate to acting as a "high-quality politician" and requires him to "enhance citizenship consciousness under the premise of respect for ethnic pluralism," to "uphold a spirit of excellence and to neither provoke ethnic antagonism nor support statements or actions that undermine ethnic harmony," and to "issue high quality political views and take the initiative to promote understanding among ethnic groups and realize universal social justice."
Chien stated that during the past 13 years the use of "provocative" election rhetoric has "stirred up ethnic tensions and social anxiety."
Chien, a former DPP lawmaker, cited the controversy over the renaming of the former Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, during which he said led to "conflicts" with ethnic groups with different identities and historical memories" and related that "one candidate has said he will restore the former name if elected," referring to Kuomintang presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
"All of these actions covertly if not overtly stir up ethnic antagonisms and we hope that candidates can instead focus on presenting their policy views for comparison by voters," Chien said.
"We hope this time that presidential candidate Hsieh can fulfill his promise and conduct a quality campaign to encourage ethnic harmony and, if elected, use positive methods to affirm Taiwan's rich immigrant and pluralistic culture and properly handle ethnic differences," Chien said, adding that the DPP candidate had responded "immediately and the fastest" to the request by the civic reform representatives for a meeting.
After signing the statement, Hsieh stated that "given Taiwan's antagonistic political climate, I feel this pledge is very significant" and said that he had "never provoked ethnic tensions" during 10 election campaigns during his 26 years of political life.
"My political faith is that Taiwan is a community of destiny in which it does not matter where you are from and that although we may have different pasts, we share a similar future and a common destiny," the DPP candidate stated.
Hsieh added that the DPP had approved in September 2004 a resolution on ethnic pluralism in a unitary state which affirmed that both "Taiwan identity" and "Republic of China identity are both parts of our national identity and should be mutually respected and should not be mutually excluded" and declared that "we should promote a positive Taiwan-centric consciousness that respects and cherishes difference."
A spokesman for the peace foundation stated that Ma had also agreed to sign the pledge today afternoon at his campaign headquarters in Taipei City.