Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A195-W96



Release Date: April 8, 2006



Topic: Taiwan President Chen Shui-Bian's Farce in "Abolishing" and "Ceasing" the Function of' the Taiwan Unification Council" -- by Wei Jingsheng

标题:台湾总统陈水扁的“废统”和“终统”闹剧 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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Taiwan President Chen Shui-Bian's Farce in "Abolishing" and "Ceasing" the Function of' the Taiwan Unification Council"

-- by Wei Jingsheng



Recently, one of the major issues that the international community has been most focused on is the game of semantics Taiwan President Chen Shui-Bian has been playing regarding moving from "abolishing" the Taiwan Unification Council to having it "cease to function."  It made the international community break out in a cold sweat and made the American government strike an unusual tone in exerting pressure on Chen.  In the end, Chen had to retreat back to his original stated position of having the Council "cease to function" and had to formally recall his words on "abolishing the National Unification Council and the Guidelines for National Unification."  Even now this matter hasn't ended, and the waves stirred up by this incident have yet to die down, and continue to ferment under the surface. 


Before this happened, no one paid attention to the Guidelines for National Unification and the National Unification Council, and some people had no idea what it was at all.  The Guidelines for National Unification were formed around the KMT (Nationalist Party) stopped using martial law to suppress rebellion and when they were worried about losing their last position on a unified China.  They were also worried that, due to political realities, they would be forced into moving towards legal Taiwan independence.  It is a document of guidelines passed in the Lee Teng-Hui Era that guide the Republic of China (ROC) government.  It's a national program of action that matches with the current ROC constitution's principles on a one China.  From the Lee Teng-Hui Era to today's Democratic Progressive Party government, those in charge have been from parties or factions that advocate Taiwan independence.  Thus, the Guidelines for National Unification and the National Unification Council, which was to promote and monitor unification, have already ceased to function.  The council's annual expenses are less than $100 US, which amounts to just the expenses for storing documents in filing cabinets.  The words they say now about the council "ceasing to function" or "temporarily stopping to function" is just useless chatter.  In reality, from the beginning when the law was passed it had ceased functioning, and was just there to put up a front.  It didn't bring about any actions, and no one paid it any heed.


It was exactly under this circumstance that a not-so-forthright Taiwanese "urgent independence faction" -  called the political fundamentalist faction by some - was given an excellent stage prop to use.  They launched a Don Quijote- style attack against these for-show-only Guidelines on National Unification in what seemed like a joke.  But why did it end up not being a joke?  Why did it create such an uproar?  This is the interesting political aspect of it.  It's like that old saying: In the military, no words are spoken in jest.  It spoke a simple truth: even if politicians joke, their words have underlying meanings, not counting, of course, what is said at home after drinks.


Let's take an example.  Ever since the ROC established a modern, national system of justice, the "Imperial Jade Seal" that was passed down between emperors during Qing Dynasty to signify a change in rule is now but an antique, a plaything.  Yet people still don't dare to treat it just as a plaything.  This is because if it were to fall in the hands of fundamentalists that wish to stir up a movement to bring back an autocratic monarchy, and if these fundamentalists had a certain amount of influence, it wouldn't just be kidding around.  Perhaps they would cook up some incident and maybe there really would be a new emperor.  In troubled times, anything can occur.  These Guidelines are that "Imperial Jade Seal" and a constant worry in the hearts of the Taiwan independence faction.  Therefore, tap-dancing around "abolishing" the council and guidelines isn't just a Don Quijote-like tactic; the move can win a lot of support and can excite and stimulate more people.  It might even cause even more serious incidents.  Thus, they played up this "abolishment" with vigor, alarming the international political community.


Chen Shui-Bian's approaches were different during the play and thus correctly proved the predictions of many discerning individuals; they know that he had already designed a path of retreat.  This is because what he abolished is something already ineffective, but that remains effective in law.  If the outside world's reaction wasn't too strong, Chen could pretend to be a tough guy and help remove a hidden danger in the way of Taiwanese independence.  He could make a big stride towards Taiwanese independence, take credit to look like a great hero, and increase his trustworthiness.  He could extricate himself from his current predicament, in which he faces attacks from the urgent independence faction within his own party.  It might even be as some have predicted in which Chen sits in the second "Taiwanese independence godfather" armchair.  It was said that the first chair would undoubtedly belong to Lee Teng-Hui.  Such political positions and the respect and reputation that come along with them is what many politicians and scholars seek.  Abolishing the council and guidelines might earn Chen this kind of fame in his life and posthumously as well.


I imagine that Chen and his advisors predicted that the move to abolish the council and guidelines would bring about a fairly strong opposition.  The first to oppose it would be Beijing, but Taiwan independence folks aren't afraid of Beijing's reaction.  This is because they firmly believe that America will absolutely protect Taiwan's safety; this is the main pillar of the theory for Taiwan's independence.  Since they are so absolute with it, sometimes they have no choice but to listen to Americans' orders.  The second to oppose it is, of course, the American government.  It sounds like they weren't too stern, and the wording they used was still that used to give advice to a friend.  But the implications behind the words were extremely serious.  Thus, Chen Shui-Bian immediately shown off his second scheme and changed the "abolish" wording to "cease to function."  The English wording was vague, and he repeatedly played around with the words, to the point that the American spokesman got annoyed, and said to a reporter, "I don't want to always have to explain the Taiwanese wording of yesterday."  They really went overboard in their game.     


So this incident that looks like a joke but, in reality, is very serious.  Moreover, it's something that relates to our Chinese people.  In order to improve his approval rating, Chen wants to start a movement to abolish national constitutional guidelines formulated in the Lee Teng-Hui Era that are aimed at having the Chinese nation eventually unite.  These Guidelines on National Unification and the "National Unification Council," have been shelved for years, but they haven't been formally abolished.  Yet the Taiwanese independence political faction always feels uncomfortable about these and worries that they could be a hidden danger.  Thus, abolishing them isn't a joke, and is a major step towards legal Taiwanese independence.  As a result of abolishing the Council and the Guidelines, they immediately faced strong opposition from Mainland China, America, Europe, and other governments.  Chen had no choice but to revert to having the Council and Guidelines "cease to function" and to use word games to get through the ordeal.


The Mainland Chinese government's strong reaction to the move is quite easy to understand.  Regardless if it's really an issue or not, as long as Taiwan uses Taiwanese independence wording, Beijing will inevitably react.  This has become common practice, so no one thinks anything of it when they hear it.  Yet America and Europe's strong reactions should bring about more doubts.  Why is this?  I'd like to talk with all of you about my views for your reference.


There were two sides to what was said.  One side is that the Taiwanese independence movement having the need to be able to, at any time, take measures to move closer to legal Taiwanese independence.  The other side is that Mainland China's military has been rapidly developing in the past few years, and is indeed acting in a manner that assumes that there will inevitably be a war in the Taiwan strait, a war between China and Japan, and a war between China and America.  It's not just that they have more and more ample military preparations; they've also stirred up pro-war emotions to a level closer and closer to the desired level.  The danger of war between the Taiwan Strait is truly nearing us.  Most estimates posit that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), due to its internal instability and intensifying social conflicts, has a very strong motivation to launch a war in order to improve its governing authoritativeness.  Moreover, the CCP does have a historical tradition of using war for such ends.  The only reason it hasn't launched a war against Taiwan or South Korea is the existence of the United States.  This is also the true reason why Chen dares to take risks.  


But the "American reason" is not a fixed factor.  China and America are coming to understand one another more and more, and both are quite clear on the other side's military strength, political bottom lines, economic interests, and other such policy-determining factors.  Under most circumstances, this joint knowledge is a common way in which to avoid war, but it has provided the CCP with opportunities.  The Sino-U.S. situation is basically as such: regardless of how much the CCP brags about its modern equipped military weapons, under normal circumstances only its ground force is a match for its American counterparts, as neither its navy nor its air force can compete with the American forces.  Thus, under normal circumstances the CCP won't launch a war in the Taiwan straits and bring about its own failure.


Moreover, with no proper reason, launch a war and bring about inevitable isolation from the international community.  These are unfavorable factors for the CCP.  But in the last few years, Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been constantly been breaking its bottom line of Taiwanese independence and has made everyone nervous.  Gradually, more and more people view them as troublemakers.  That is, the position of isolation is gradually shifting to Taiwan, and international public opinion is becoming less and less favorable to Taiwan.


From a military perspective, America's current primary objective is resolving problems in the Middle East.  The oil there is America's economy and lifeblood.  Of course it's more important to them than Taiwan's independence.  Thus, America's basic policy towards East Asian affairs has been to maintain the status quo.  Since maintaining the status quo is respecting reality, it is a very beneficial policy to East Asian nations.  The only group that has the motivation to damage the status quo is the CCP.  But, under both political pressure and pressure from international public opinion, the CCP has always exercised restraint.  The only one that would suffer losses from damaging the status quo is Taiwan.  This is because regardless of the outcome of a war, Taiwan's economic prosperity and actual position of independence would never return.


Then why would Taiwan come out and damage the status quo?  No one can understand it and thinks they're crazy.  Moreover, not only does America have to convince China to abandon its war plans, it also has to convince this immature little brother not to make meaningless provocations at such an inopportune moment.  Their worry is not a disrespect towards the Taiwanese president, but a sense of the true danger of Chen's policy of dragging America into the water.  Thus, the Americans stressed on many occasions that the Taiwan Relations Act does not stipulate that America must be dragged into the water and thus warned Chen not to play with fire.


If the moment were different, perhaps America would not worry about losing control of the situation in East Asia.  But since most of the American military is held up in the Middle East, if the CCP invades Taiwan, it forces the Japanese and U.S. allied forces to counterattack on Taiwan's behalf.  It could be that America lacks the military strength to do this.  This could damage the stability of the entire Asia-Pacific region and could bring about an even larger-scale era of war.  From this perspective, Chen should indeed cease his risky behavior.



(Written in March, 2006.  Partially broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.  The Wei Jingsheng Foundation is responsible for the accuracy of this version of the English translation.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A195-W96



Release Date: April 8, 2006



Topic: Taiwan President Chen Shui-Bian's Farce in "Abolishing" and "Ceasing" the Function of' the Taiwan Unification Council" -- by Wei Jingsheng

标题:台湾总统陈水扁的“废统”和“终统”闹剧 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)









-- 魏京生









打个比方说吧。由于民国以后的现代国家法统的建立,清朝的所谓"传国玉玺"如今也就是个古董,是个玩物而已。但大家还是不敢拿它当作仅仅是个玩物。因为如果落到某个煽动恢复帝制的教主手里,再假如这个教主又有了一定的势力,就不是闹着玩儿的了。就会搞出点儿事端来,甚至可能又出现个新皇帝也说不定。乱世出什么都有可能。这个"国统纲领"就是这么一块"传国玉玺",所以也就是台湾独派的一块不大不小的心病。所以 ,玩弄"废统"的把戏就不是唐吉珂德,就会获得很多人的拥护,就会让更多人心情激动乃至亢奋。甚至会引发更严重的事端。所以这一轮"废统"闹得轰轰烈烈,惊动了全球的政治关注。






这是一件看似搞笑,但实际很严重的事件。而且是和咱们中国人有关的事件。这"废统"和"终统"的闹剧是陈水扁为了挽回支持度下降的趋势,要发起的一场运动 -- 废除李登辉时代制定的,旨在最终达到国家统一的,准宪法式的国家行动纲领。这个叫做"国统纲领"的文件和旨在推动纲领的"国统会"早已被搁置多年,但没有正式废除。台独政治派别就总会感觉不舒服,感觉到这是个隐患。所以废除它就不是玩笑,而是向"法理台独"迈出的一大步。结果立即遭受到大陆,美国和欧洲等各国的强烈反对。他只好退回到"终止使用"并玩文字游戏蒙混过关。
























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