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Mar 12, 2009

Anti-secession law

As the fourth anniversary of the of China's anti-secession law approaches, and as speculation mounts about what Ma will (or will not) say on that date, I opted to reread some of the documents from that time.

First, take a look at some of the clauses in the official English version of the law:

Article 2 There is only one China in the world. Both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. China's sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division. Safeguarding China's sovereignty and territorial integrity is the common obligation of all Chinese people, the Taiwan compatriots included.

Article 3 The Taiwan question is one that is left over from China's civil war of the late 1940s....

Article 4 Accomplishing the great task of reunifying the motherland is the sacred duty of all Chinese people, the Taiwan compatriots included.

The DPP government's response at that time, translated by me:

The Republic of China is a sovereign and independent country, and the country's sovereignty belongs to the 23 million people of Taiwan. Any change in Taiwan's future [status] can only be decided by the 23 million people of Taiwan. This is the current social consensus on national sovereignty in Taiwanese
society, and is the common conviction of both the ruling and opposition parties. Recent surveys demonstrate that over 90% of Taiwanese people uphold this principle. Although China has again stated that it will "place its hope in the Taiwanese people," the Anti-secession law in fact completely goes against Taiwanese public opinion. A march survey demonstrates that 93.4% of people do not support the Chinese passing this law as an excuse to use force against Taiwan, and the Legislative Yuan passed a bi-partisan resolution on March 4thcalling on the Beijing authorities to reconsider its actions.
Now I've been tending to dismiss recent DPP claims that Ma is selling out Taiwan's sovereignty, mostly because I believe the DPP are neglecting real problems in favor of rants about what seems like an unlikely hypothetical end result -- that Ma wants to sell out an island that he can already run. I've felt this argument will leave behind middle voters and is probably not true -- while I trust Ma wants Taiwan to unify with China eventually, I also trust he doesn't see it happening in his own lifetime.

But when I reread the DPP statement from that time, it strikes me that the DPP's argument would be infinitely stronger if they nailed Ma on the second half of the statement I highlighted: that sovereignty belongs to Taiwan's 23 million people. Ma agrees the ROC is a sovereign, independent country, but has never stated who that sovereignty belongs to, and tactically denies it belongs to Taiwanese people with his "one China, two interpretations" policy. And the DPP needs to hammer that home, since Ma will be forced to respond with silence, instead of shrilly yelling about how Ma is selling us out.

6 comments:

Carlos said...

Just to be clear, it's secession, not succession.

阿牛 said...

Ugh, thanks, what a truly embarrassing typo.

STOP Ma said...

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Just to be clear, PandaMa is not the one running this country. ;>)
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阿牛 said...

I agree, but it's simplistic to think of him as a puppet as well, I think.

Robert R. said...

I prefer to think of him as the pretty face to say "soothing" things to the populace while the others do the opposite in the back room...

Thomas said...

I think it is more precise to think of him as a very important figurehead.