Tsai Ing-wen’s ‘Taiwan consensus’

By Joe Hhung

Tsai Ing-wen, chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is very good at borrowing technical terms to create a bunch of gobbledygook to suit her political purposes. A latest borrowing is “natural ingredients.” She said at her party’s national congress on July 20 that Taiwan’s independence has already become natural ingredients of the young generation as well as the consensus of all the people of Taiwan. That’s the reason she gave for deciding to cancel the scheduled debate on whether the party should freeze its Taiwan independence platform. Natural ingredients (天然成分), as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are “ingredients extracted directly from plant or animal products as opposed to being produced synthetically.” They certainly are not the young people’s ingredients extracted directly from plant or animal products they have so far eaten. Nor are they synthetically produced. What Ms. Tsai meant to say is Taiwan independence comes natural to the youth. Or to be more exact, they don’t have to be taught. Politicians never call a spade a spade. They have to talk gibberish to confuse not very clear-thinking voters to win support. Fortunate for these office seekers but unfortunate for the nation, the clear-thinking people are a small minority. That’s why the latter would say elections are free but the people have to pay after politicians are elected. Ms. Tsai, who has a master of law degree from Cornell and a London School of Economics Ph.D. in law, has turned politician after the DPP was voted out of power in 2008. She became its chairperson in 1912, and started to twaddle.

When Dr. Tsai was running for president against President Ma Ying-jeou in 2012, she aired a Taiwan consensus to counter the Kuomintang’s “Consensus of 1992,” a tacit modus vivendi under which both Taipei and Beijing are agreed that there is but one China, whose connotations can be separately enunciated. Ma made good use of the agreement to greatly improve relations between Taiwan and China Over the past six years. A good example of her gobbledygook, Tsai’s Taiwan consensus is one in the making. More than two years ago, she said she would, if she were elected, try to reach a consensus on the future of Taiwan, albeit in 1999, her party adopted a Resolution on the Future of Taiwan to help Chen Shui-bian get elected president in 2000. It declares Taiwan already is an independent, sovereign country and there is no need for another declaration of independence and its future shall be decided by the 23 million people of Taiwan. On the side, the party also proclaimed “Taiwan is an independent state, whose current official title is the Republic of China.” Her rigmarole now is that Taiwan independence is accepted heart and soul by the younger generation and all the people of Taiwan are agreed that Taiwan is or should be independent. In two years’ time, she turned her Taiwan consensus of 2012 into one in reality without attempting to reach it as she promised in the run-up to the presidential election she lost. As a result, she pronounced at the party congress the debate on the freezing of the Taiwan independence platform was unnecessary. She referred the case to her hand-picked new party executive council for study to deep-freeze the freezing of the Taiwan independence doctrine.