Friday, January 27, 2006

Chen's words ahead of the DPP conference

Taiwan News has remarks from Chen praising Lin Yi-hsiung and Chairman Yu Shyi-kai, and discussing the past.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday called on new Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Yu Shyi-kun (游錫?) to uphold the core value of "Taiwan identity" and organize a wide-ranging policy debate in the governing party in preparation for a second "Economic Development Advisory Conference."



The president recalled that Yu had been the chairman of the historic meeting of September 28, 1986 at Taipei's Grand Hotel in which the DPP was founded in defiance of KMT martial law prohibitions.

Chen related that the DPP has developed through recurrent challenges and trials without the benefit of "party assets" or funds from the National Treasury.

Instead, Chen related, "the only bedrock" for the DPP was the support and expectations of the Taiwan people and the DPP's adoption of "the correct road" of "Taiwan consciousness" and identity.

Chen warned that it would be meaningless for the DPP to exist or administer the country if the party "departed from the people" or "turned its back on 'Taiwan consciousness."


Chen expressed special gratitude for the criticisms offered by former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄), who announced his decision to leave the governing party Monday, praised Lin's sacrifices and contributions to Taiwan's democratic movement and urged Yu and other DPP leaders to do their best to persuade Lin to remain in the party "and struggle together with us."

The president sharply criticized the former KMT for having "suppressed our country's beautiful name of 'Taiwan'" and "ruthlessly attacking" any thing that reflected Taiwan native culture, literature, art and language.

Chen said this decades-long suppression had "created today's divisions over Taiwan national identity and ethnic tensions and mistrust," adding that "this is the greatest crisis and challenge facing Taiwan."

The president affirmed that "Taiwan is our country" and that Taiwan's sovereignty belongs to the 23 million Taiwan people and does not belong to the People's Republic of China" and that "only the 23 million people of Taiwan have the right to decide the future of Taiwan."

Chen stated that this position had become "the mainstream concept among the Taiwan people regarding Taiwan's sovereignty," even though not everyone agrees.

The president stated that "a certain leader of another political party," referring to KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), had openly expressed that "unification" is his party's ultimate goal.

This speech gets back to what Arrigo was talking about with "hagiography." Chen revisits the party's roots, but differentiates them from the pro-democracy and pro-independence past -- although Lin Yi-hsiung was one of the leaders of the old tangwai movement, whom Chen actually helped defend -- Chen does not locate the past in the movement of the late 1970s, but in 1986, when the DPP was born.

I'm also glad that he laid the ethnic tension problem squarely where it belongs: at the doorstep of the KMT. This too is indirectly a reply to Lin Yi-hsiung's resignation remarks that lament the divided nation, pointed out that the DPP has to play the hand it has been dealt, and that the nation's fractured ethnic consciousness is the result of deliberate policy choices made by the KMT.

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