Democratic Independence: The Only Hope for Taiwan

There are about twenty-one million people in Taiwan. Four ethnic groups constitute the population: the aborigines, Hakka, Hok-lo and Mainlanders. The ending of Japanese colonial rule in 1945 and the massive Chinese immigration flow in 1949 made fundamental changes in the population composition. Since then, people in Taiwan have lived under the same econo-political system. The economic power, area of arable land, and educated population of Taiwan should promise a quality of standard of living in a modern country. And yet, due to the KMT's colonial mentality, Taiwanese seem to be living in an anarchy, judicially, culturally and psychologically. In the midst of this desolation burgeoned an opposition movement that emerged in 1986 as a dynamic opposition party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Its agenda of building an independent state has gained support in Taiwanese society. The percentage of votes DPP gets in elections increases every time. In the latest legislative election in 1992, DPP candidates wo n about 40 percent of the votes and one-third of the seats. These facts provide evidence that more and more Taiwanese approve of and identify with the cause of Taiwan's independence. That is, more and more Taiwanese would like to be "the masters of their own homeland-Taiwan."

While the ban on newspapers and political parties was lifted and the censorship on freedom of speech and other liberties was loosened in 1987, the forty years under martial law had distorted the social structure in Taiwan so much that it cannot be undone promptly. As a result, the KMT's party-owned business establishment still dominates the economy and the media. An austere and inept educational system keeps stifling the creativity of the youth. Meanwhile, persisting authoritarian rule has quenched the Taiwanese' confidence of and interest in political reforms.

In fact, there is an urgent need for a Taiwanese constitution to serve the people of Taiwan, in place of the Constitution of the Republic of China ratified in China in 1946. Compelled by the students' movement in March, 1990, the KMT under Lee Teng-hui responded to the call for constitutional reform. However, its answer was to mobilize the representatives to the National Assembly (kuo min ta hui), most of them elected forty years ago, to ensure that few changes would be made. As a result, the text of the ROC Constitution was not touched at all and the "temporary measures in war time" were snuck in as amendments. This undertaking clearly violated the Taiwanese' right of making a constitution and overlooked our demand for ethnic harmony, social welfare and other concerns. On August 25 and 26, 1991, the DPP and several social groups and political organizations gathered for People's Constitutional Assembly. Concluding the conference was the "Draft of the Taiwan Constitution" outlining the institutional structur e of government such as a unicameral legislature. It also asserts the fundamental social rights and the right to local self-rule and direct election of the president.

For future development, Taiwan should join the United Nations and other international organizations. But first, we have to break away from the myth of Chinese chauvinism and the unification reverie. Democracy has to be institutionalized and other things normalized for Taiwan to become a civilized and humane country. In this context, the name "Taiwan" will be accepted more easily in the international world. Taiwan can thus engage in international activities under the auspices of equality, liberty, and mutual benefit.

* I. History of Sino-Taiwanese Relations
* II. The Intrinsically Colonial KMT Regime
* III. The KMT Should Take Full Responsibility for Its Diplomatic Failure
* IV. Our Vehement Objection to China's "Basic Guidelines" Regarding Taiwan
* V. Taiwan's Status According to International Law
* VI. Crisis Engendered by The Economic Activities across the Straits
* VII. Democratic Independence: The Only Hope for Taiwan
* VIII. Taiwan Is Qualified for Membership of The International Community
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