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Mar 23, 2010

Translation: DPP needs idealistic platform

Below is an editorial published by the Liberty Times on March 21st about the DPP's ideal party platform. My own ideas have been laid out before. Honestly, I think the author's mistaken; the DPP will obviously keep a core independence vision, but this will not win new votes. Any new DPP platform must, as the DPP apparently plans to do, take a much more comprehensive look at Taiwan's political, economic, environmental and social situation.

Cao seems to seriously confuse Taiwanese support for continued de facto independence as an outright endorsement of plans such as a new constitution. This is simply not the case, and the DPP will never get elected on the TSU platform of yesteryear, which revolved around the theme of rectifying the country's name and writing a new constitution (正名制憲). I might like these ideas in theory, but they will not get you elected.

Frankly, should the leaks about the coming platform worry Cao Chang-ching be true, I'd consider it a very good step forward and a good sign of a DPP that's growing into a party again capable of governing, instead of being a party that's just good at shouting slogans about unnecessary and impossible goals that have no resonance with the wider electorate.

Either way, enjoy!

DPP needs idealistic platform

by Cao Chang-ching (曹長青)

The pan-greens are optimistic about their chances in the upcoming mayoral elections following their string of victories in legislative special elections. This has resulted in some intense jockeying within the party.

But whether we are discussing the upcoming five mayoral elections or the 2012 presidential elections, the most important thing for the pan-green movement is not to gain power, but to use power gained to promote the cause of making Taiwan a normal independent state. As the core of the pan-green movement, the DPP's upcoming party congress (to be held in August), will likely be the site of an to launch a "ten year platform," press reports say. The platform is expected to expound "a comprehensive plan for the country's future" and a "vision for the coming decade."

Since their loss last presidential election, DPP heavyweights have failed to spell out a clear plan for handling the problems related to Taiwan's future and status. In the current situation, the DPP's plan to bring forward a clear platform is a responsible move, in respect to both voters and country.

National Identity is Key

The key question is, what will be the contents of the political platform? What important rhetorical points and understanding will be applied regarding Taiwan's future? Although no one has yet seen a draft of the platform, certain points shown to the press by the DPP Policy Committee's deputy executive director are a bit worrying.

The reason they are worrying is that this platform does not make the status of Taiwan its central theme, but rather focuses on "changes in the world's situation; the interaction of Taiwan and China; globalization and economic trends & the evolution of economic and trade relations with Taiwan and China; technological development; energy prices and ideas for the reduction of carbon emissions ; water scarcity and food autonomy; climate changes' coming effects on Taiwan's fragile soil; the aging population and health care changes; and the government's financial discipline & the undermining of the social insurance system due to the possibility of bankruptcy."

Frankly speaking, a KMT political platform could include all of these same elements. It creates no clear contrast with the current Ma administration. The problems that Taiwan faces today do not just include globalization, unemployment, economic development and democratic politics, all of which are problems countries around the world face.

More unique to Taiwan is the question of its status and future as a country, a problem that revolves around three issues. The first is Taiwan's relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.On this we should be very clear: Taiwan has never been a part of the PRC, and Taiwan is a sovereign independent state. We should make all efforts to resist China's attempts to promote unification, or any attempt at annexing Taiwan.

The second issue is Taiwan's relationship with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). We must resolutely resist the KMT's "two sides of the strait, one China" policy or any other actions which aim to sell Taiwan.

The third issue is the relationship between Taiwan's future and its people. The DPP ought to make a clear promise that should the party return to power, they would be promoting the normalization of Taiwan as a country, including the efforts to write a new constitution (excluding archaic language related to territory, and clearly stating the limiting of that territory to Taiwan, Penghu, Jinmen and Matsu); the adopting of a new national anthem (we must ditch references to the three people's principles and
loyalty to the KMT); and the adaptation of a better national referendum law. We must cast aside the "Republic of China" hat that the KMT forced on Taiwan through violent means, and recognize reality. We must apply to join the United Nations under the name of Taiwan. And so on.

The DPP must respect public opinion

Some people will ask: while the KMT remains so strong, can these goals be realized? Do these goals lack realism or practical value? Regardless of how these questions are answered, the starting point ought to be that platform ought to place highest priority on the will of the people, regardless of how idealistic it is, if the party hopes to make strides. These objectives are not castles in the sky, but concrete goals that increasing numbers of Taiwan people strongly desire. Whether under the Chen Shui-bian administration or the Ma Ying-jeou administration, a variety of polls reflect these trends:

A TVBS Poll conducted 30 days after President Ma Ying-jeou took office showed 65% of people support Taiwanese independence, while only 19% were in favor of unification. Sixty-eight precent considered themselves Taiwanese, and only 4% would call themselves Chinese people.

One year after Ma Ying-jeou took office, a Global Visons poll revealed 49% of people supported "eventual independence" while a mere 16% supported "eventual unification," and a solid 69% opposed eventual unification. In July last year, the same magazine's poll showed 82% support for each side of the Taiwan strait now being a separate, sovereign state.

Early last year, a poll by the monthly magazine "Wealth" showed two thirds of the Taiwan people are unwilling to make concessions on sovereignty to China for political or economic benefits; 59% of people worry that Taiwan's economy is too dependent on China, and 55% of people think China is Taiwans' largest enemy militarily.

These polls were not conducted by pan-green media, so their results may be taken to reflect reality and not a pro-DPP political point of view. Today, the question is not whether the DPP ought to present an idealistic platform before the people; rather, the question is whether the party will follow public opinion, subject itself to public opinion, and be in accordance with the wishes of the people on the way forward.

Why Chen Ming-wen won [omitted]

Mar 4, 2010

Ma: Politics w/ China is for my second next term

Which is what "Ma won't touch political topics in his first term" is code for.

By political topics, they mean a peace treaty and possibly military confidence building measures. Everything else, regardless of how it might affect political and security equations, doesn't count as political to them.