Newspaper article China Post

Is Taiwan Independence Marketable?

Newspaper article China Post

Is Taiwan Independence Marketable?

Article excerpt

Taiwan Democracy Watch, an association of scholars organized in Taipei in 2008, held a "Free Man Declaration" forum last Tuesday.Dr. Yao Jen-to, a Tsing Hua University professor and a former aide to Tsai Ing-wen, Democratic Progressive Party standard bearer in the presidential election of 2012, made comments that have created a buzz. Professor Yao, who gained fame as a primary speechwriter for Tsai's presidential campaign and wrote her concession speech, admitted that there is no market for Taiwan independence in Taiwan any more.

He said Taiwan independence is no longer a marketable ideology that can win votes in presidential elections. "The days when we could persuade most of the people to believe Taiwan can be independent are over," he pointed out, adding "whether those days may or may not return is uncertain, but it's very unlikely in the next one or two presidential elections." His comments have drawn criticism from the opposition party and its peripheral groups, in particular from staunch Taiwan independence supporters. Taiwan Society said in a press release that sovereignty and independence are beliefs and values, and not products that can be sold on the market, while Frank Hsieh, a former premier who ran for president unsuccessfully in 2008, said the Taiwan independence movement still has its market share. But most opposition lawmakers have refrained from blasting Yao. Legislator Huang Wei-cher said Yao is entitled to his opinion.

Tsai recalled that Yao and her other aides had floated different opinions and observations during her presidential campaign, and pointed out, "However, everyone believes that Taiwan is already an independent country. That's the bottom line."

Yao said he did no speak for Tsai and his comments "should not be used as a tool to intensify inter-party rivalry and intra-party debates." "Professor Yao has his right to voice his opinion," opined Yu Shyi-kun, a former premier. Koo Kwang-ming, a godfather of the Taiwan Independence movement and a former senior advisor to President Chen Shui-bian, rebutted the idea that Taiwan independence could no longer win votes in elections, saying Taiwan's de facto independence has been widely accepted among people in Taiwan and even among some Chinese in the People's Republic of China. But he does no longer pursue independence of Taiwan. "Taiwan is a fully independent, sovereign state, and there is no problem of its being not independent," he pointed out. "What we have to pursue," he added, "is to normalize the country." Why give up his life-long pursuit?

"Because my head has made progress, and I've become wiser," said the independence fighter who is going on 87. All of these scholars and politicians are right. Taiwan independence certainly isn't a product that can be sold on the market. …

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