Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Initiators of independence clause hail Tsai’s decision

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Initiators of the controversial proposal to freeze the Taiwan independence clause in the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) charter yesterday said that DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) reserving the proposal for future discussion was a “wise decision.”

“[Tsai’s handling of the proposal] was good for the party... I respect her move. It was a wise decision,” former DPP legislator Chen Zau-nan (陳昭南), who drafted the proposal with former DPP legislator Julian Kuo (郭正亮), told a radio interview hosted by Clara Chou (周玉蔻).

Citing time constraints, Tsai on Sunday sent all the proposals in the national party congress regarding the DPP’s China policy, including the widely discussed independence clause, to the party’s Central Executive Committee for future discussion.

The move drew brief protests from several members, but Chen was not one of them.

Prior to the party congress, Tsai said that the value that recognizes Taiwan’s identity and its independence is a “natural ingredient” embedded in the young generation and could not be frozen.

Chen described Tsai’s move as a “small victory” for the proposal, which has drawn a mixed reaction among DPP members, as well as several protests organized by independence supporters, because the chairperson did not unilaterally kill the proposition.

Chen said he had proposed to abolish the clause 14 years ago because Taiwan was already independent and sovereign, adding that the proposal was an attempt to “have the DPP face reality.”

Keeping the clause would only benefit the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) because it would be able to use it against the DPP, which “keeps saying that Taiwan is already independent, while on the other hand is seeking independence,” Chen said.

Kuo, who also attended the interview, urged DPP members not to misunderstand the proposal as an attempt to persuade the DPP to abandon its independence ideals, saying that the initiative has been more of an attempt to convince Washington of the DPP’s ability to deal with cross-strait relations rather than appealing to Beijing.

It would not be difficult for Tsai to put the proposal aside in the party congress, but she understood what it meant and made the decision to send it to the committee for thorough discussion, Kuo said.

Several independence advocates have said that it would be almost impossible for the proposal to be passed, with former DPP legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) saying that freezing the clause when the support rate for independence has surged in recent years “simply does not make sense.”