Apple Daily: DPP flip-flopping on independence platform freeze
Central News Agency
2014-07-21 05:30 PM
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) failed to reach a consensus at its national congress Sunday over a proposal to freeze the Taiwan independence clause in its charter, leading chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen to direct the matter to the party's Central Executive Committee for discussion. Those in the party who support putting aside the independence clause say doing so is necessary to handle ties with China, but this is a false issue. It has been years since the DPP last brought forth any substantive discourse or activities promoting independence, meaning that it has in effect already frozen the policy platform. Ties between the DPP and China's Communist Party have warmed, but it has nothing to do with the DPP's stance on independence. Instead, the Communist Party is courting the opposition because support for the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou and his party, the Kuomintang (KMT), has slipped. Even as one faction in the DPP aims to suspend the independence platform as quickly as possible, it is clear that doing so would not be enough to placate China, which wants nothing less than the Beijing-wary party to embrace the "one China" principle and categorically oppose Taiwanese independence. It is just as naive to assume that moving away from independence would help the DPP siphon away supporters of the KMT and attract independent voters. People vote for the KMT and affiliated parties not because of its cross-strait policy but because of tradition, habit, organizational structure and common interests. The DPP's Tsai was right to say that identifying with Taiwan and its sovereignty and autonomy has become inherent in younger Taiwanese, a stance that could not be blocked by the party even if it wanted to do so. Currently, the pragmatic approach to the Taiwan independence clause would be to keep it intact under the principles of not abolishing, amending, renouncing, opposing or even discussing or acting on it. That would allow the DPP to avoid provoking China, put the United State feel at ease over more relaxed cross-strait ties, maintain the party's ideals and principles, and meet the expectations of a majority of people in Taiwan. A recent public poll showed that a record high 60.4 percent of respondents identified themselves as Taiwanese -- and not Chinese -- with 92 percent of those aged 20-29 calling themselves only Taiwanese. Only 4.8 percent of respondents considered themselves Chinese. (Editorial abstract -- July 21, 2014) (By Evelyn Kao)
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