By William Fang, Special to The China Post
Lo Chih-chiang, the presidential spokesman, on Feb. 8 quoted President Ma Ying-jeou as demanding, in a Chinese Lunar New Year talk, that government officials not call the other side of the Taiwan Strait “China,” instead it should be referred to as “mainland China” or the “mainland.” Doing so complies with the Constitution of the Republic of China (R.O.C.) to buttress the R.O.C.’s sovereignty, Lo quoted Ma as saying. True, according to the Constitution, the R.O.C. is still the only legitimate government of the whole China. Even the so-called “1992 consensus” accepted by both sides of the Strait allows Taiwan to make such an interpretation. But, for quite some time, almost all parties in Taiwan, including the media, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and officials of the Ma administration, have intentionally or unintentionally called the other side of the Taiwan Straits “China.” At the same time, the name of Taiwan has appeared on the cover of the latest edition of the R.O.C. passport. These practices, without doubt, have, in one way or another, violated the stipulations of the Constitution concerning the territory and sovereignty of the R.O.C. In other words, they are tantamount to committing a crime of high treason. Of course, there is an understandable and compelling background behind such developments. For one thing, all major nations in the world have formally recognized Beijing as the “sole representative of China.” For another, the policy of calling the other side of the Taiwan Strait “China” was formed under the eight years of the DPP administration in an attempt to separate Taiwan’s “independent” existence from Beijing’s control. For whatever reasons, at least officials of the Ma administration, which claims to firmly embrace the R.O.C. Constitution, should persist in not calling the People’s Republic of China (PRC) “China” because it is unconstitutional. It is reported that Ma’s aforesaid talk was also intended to respond to a controversial statement made last December by Lai Hsing-yuan, the chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council, that the future of Taiwan shall be determined by the 23 million people on the island.
Some scholars charged that Lai acted unconstitutionally by promoting the notion of “one China, one Taiwan.” Knowledgeable people would ask: What’s wrong with Lai’s remark? Is this supposed to reflect the popular sentiment of all people in Taiwan, so much so that local politicians, including President Ma, have taken delight in highlighting this point in public repeatedly in recent years? Is it true that in a modern democracy everything, including the Constitution, is ultimately decided by all citizens? It is a well-known fact that Lai is the only current government official that never hesitates to mention the full official title of the R.O.C. in public. For this she deserves high commendation. Ma should do the same or even more because it is his duty and responsibility as the supreme leader of the R.O.C.