Twofish's Blog

November 7, 2006

One country, two constitutions – Thinking about the post-Chen era

Filed under: china, politics, taiwan — twofish @ 4:45 am

Chen Shui-Bian is now hanging by a thread.  If one of the four DPP heavyweights (Annette Lu, Frank Hsieh, Su Cheng-chang, or Yu Shih-kun) comes out against him, he is finished.  At this point, I don’t have any major opinion about what should be done, that’s up to the DPP, but I’m just appalled at how incompetent Chen Shui-Bian has been.  He had numerous chances to get his head out of the noose over the last five months, and he’s just wasted all of them.  The one thing that I’m glad about is that no one has been killed by his political incompetence, which is what could have happened had people acted just slightly differently triggering a Mainland/Taiwan war.

One thing that has been important is that this has killed one of the main arguments for Taiwan separatism.  You have a large middle in Taiwan that isn’t that emotionally attached to separatism, but is interested in clean government.  The DPP argument is that the corruption that the KMT had was due to lack of identification with Taiwan, and that if you had people in power who thought of themselves as Taiwanese-only that they would be less corrupt.  This is now demonstrably false.

But I’m not gloating.  What will happen is that the greens will get out of power, the blues will come into power, and then a decade from now, the pendulum will shift.  I do have some sympathy for the anguish that the greens are going through right now.  I’ve been there before.  I’ll be there again.  One of the things that happens when you have a mature democracy is that elections aren’t “winner take all contests.”  The blues will take power and eventually be corrupted by it.  The greens will get out of power and regroup.  You lose an election, but history doesn’t end, and life goes on.

But with two years until 2008, I think its time to think about what a KMT government will look like.  When you are new to power you only have a few years before people get sick of you, and its necessary to come up with a program.  The problem with trying to come up with a program is that if you have any real power, you can’t think out loud without someone screaming at you.  But since I have no real power, I can say whatever is on my mind.

One idea that I’d like to propose to stabilize Mainland-Taiwan relations is “one country, two constitutions” which would be to come up with different interpretations so that both the 1947 ROC Constitution and the 1982 PRC Constitution can be considered to be the governing law of all of China.  Ideally, this interpretation wouldn’t require any legislative action.  It would just be a way of looking at the current situation, but one which would provide a “common language” for at least discussing what is going on, and what happens next.  Curiously, I think that it was precisely to prevent all of this that Chen came up with the idea of rewriting the ROC Constitution, but now that it is pretty firmly established that the ROC Constitution is the governing law of Taiwan, we can use that as the basis for figuring out what to do next.

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