to North Society and Taiwan Association of University Professors
May 15, 2016 Taipei
All those who recognize the tremendous harm that the Chinese Kuomintang has done to the people of Taiwan, from 2-28 1947 to the recent 2014 sellout of Taiwan’s economic interests to the PRC by President Ma Ying-jeou, rejoice at the triumph of DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen on January 16, 2016. We are glad to see her take office on May 20. This is a triumph of the exercise of sovereignty by the people of Taiwan and their advance towards democracy.
However, all those who affirm the sovereignty of the people of Taiwan and their right to determine their own future must be gravely concerned by the announcement that David Lee, a career officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government Information Office since the early 1980’s, will be appointed the new head of MOFA. MOFA has consistently pursued and enforced a “one China” policy since 1949, even under former DPP President Chen Shui-bian, who did make some effort to change that. The “one China” policy facilitates the PRC’s claims to sovereignty over Taiwan. This appointment in effect announces to the world that Tsai Ing-wen will continue this policy without revision.
This appointment cannot be acceptable to those who support and seek Taiwan’s real self-determination. For organizations such as North Society and Taiwan Association of University Professors to remain silent is to tacitly approve and collude with a “one China” policy. It seems to contradict their own stated ideals.
While it may be recognized that President-elect Tsai Ing-wen faces many international dangers and pressures, such pre-emptive capitulation cannot be countenanced. Taiwan’s society and organizations must raise their own voices and forcefully represent their own popular aspirations for sovereignty, even if it appears to be a rebuke to Tsai Ing-wen.
The DPP has not exerted leadership in this regard for the last twenty years; and it has only ridden to victory now because of the 3-18-2014 student movement. It is not advisable to passively await the decisions of the DPP administration; it will predictably take the least courageous and most conservative position. In fact, international pressures are not so great, and the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Relations has recently resolved that the U.S. will not force Taiwan to recognize Beijing’s claim to rule it. Therefore, the direction must be set and the opportunities seized by those who see hope in the future of Taiwan, whether or not the DPP stands by the principles on which it was founded. We can hope that leadership from farsighted organizations will create a tidal force.
Linda Gail Arrigo_______________________
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