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Ma's concessions risk our future

Ma's concessions risk our future

Many pundits believe that the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party suffered landslide defeats in the January 12 legislative and March 22 presidential polls due to its excessive stress on the questions of Taiwan national identity and relative neglect of the economy.
The election results appeared to show that most Taiwan citizens desired a practical and pragmatic approach to pull our politics and economy out of the morass of cutthroat partisan politics and international confrontation and elected Kuomintang nominee Ma Ying-jeou as president to allow him to exercise "professional, competent and pragmatic" leadership and promote cross-strait peace and economic vitality under the framework of "one China, separate expressions."
Unfortunately, beginning with the arbitrary declaration in his May 20 inaugural address that "the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to the Chinese nation," Ma departed from his mandate and has shown that the KMT is even more rigidly "ideological" than his predecessor was accused of being.
Besides singing a duet on the claim that "the people on both sides of the Strait belong to the Chinese nation," KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung, acting as Ma's proxy, avoided making any mention of the "Republic of China" in his meeting last month with People's Republic of China State Chairman and ruling Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao and referred to Ma only as "Taipei's Mister Ma."
Wu's failure to mention Ma's definition of the so-called "Consensus of 1992" as "one China, separate expressions" left the door open for the PRC Ambassador to the United States to stress in an interview with the Washington Times Friday that the "Consensus of 1992" is identical with the "one China principle."
As everyone should know, Beijing's "one China principle" states definitively that "Taiwan is part of the PRC," a formula that leaves no room for "separate expressions."
Ma's regime is so intent on eradicating the notion of Taiwan sovereignty that the foreign ministry last week ordered all of its diplomats and staff to sign an agreement to refrain from referring to Taiwan as "Taiwan" and instead, in line with the "1992 Consensus," use the "Republic of China" in all embassies and representative offices and to refer to the PRC as "mainland China."
Although withdrawn in the face of public criticism, this command ironically contrasted to Wu's failure to mention the ROC where a "separate expression" is most needed, namely in Beijing itself.
Clear message
Ma's administration seems to believe they are adopting a "soft" non-ideological approach with "flexibility and pragmatism" that will bring more benefits to Taiwan.
But what Ma is actually doing is "setting aside" the sovereignty of Taiwan in an approach that is "inflexible and unrealistic" and which is driven by the KMT's hoary ideology of "great Chinese nationalism."
Ma's statement that "the people on both sides of the Strait belong to the Chinese nation," has delivered a clear message to the Taiwanese people that, regardless of the mainstream Taiwan-centric identity, their new government considers Taiwan to be part of "China" and to have no intrinsic identity except as an instrument to "link up with China."
Ma seems intent on making unilateral concessions of Taiwan's sovereignty so that Beijing may kindly bestow Taiwan some survival space, presumably under the lasting "complete governance" of the CCP's "elder brother" China-centric party.
However, this weak-kneed mentality will only bring "100 disadvantages and no benefits" to Taiwan.
Internally, Taiwan will lose precious time and space to consolidate its national development, which is entwined and mutually dependent with the concept of a citizen based Taiwan national identity fostered under both Lee Teng-hui and the former DPP government.
The KMT's evident attempt to supplant the historically and democratically-grounded citizen-based concept of Taiwan identity with a vague attachment to a "great Chinese nation" lacks any clear vision of what kind of society the 23 million people on Taiwan should build and what our distinct place in the world community should be.
Just as in the martial law period, the KMT's arbitrary imposition of "Chinese" identity will spark a backlash from Taiwan citizens who do not see themselves as "belonging to the Chinese nation."
Externally, since the KMT has sent a misleading message that Taiwan has retreated from fighting for its own rights and interests, other countries will have little reason to speak out for Taiwan's international space or oppose its informal or even formal annexation by the PRC and will gradually bow to Beijing's insistence that Taipei's agreement to "Consensus of 1992" or "the one China principle" turns cross-strait disputes into "domestic issues" for "one China."
Clearly, the Taiwan people cannot expect the "Chinese Nationalist Party" to defend Taiwan's collective interests and security in dealings with Beijing or in international society.
At this critical time, the DPP must stand up to develop new strategies together with other Taiwan-centric civic groups and citizens to defend Taiwan's existing democratic statehood and the fundamental human right our 23 million people to democratic self-determination in all available international forums.


Updated : 2021-07-26 12:41 GMT+08:00