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DPP confuses law with policy to further own ends

Both Taiwanese and mainland Chinese businesses were targeted during the recent riots in Vietnam, despite the fact that the rioters were largely reacting to a territorial dispute between their country and mainland China. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) attributed this phenomenon to the “confusion” created by the Ma administration's one China policy.

More often than not, politics in Taiwan boil down to one issue — cross-strait relations. Considering her position as a lawmaker, one would think that Hsiao has already familiarized herself with the Constitution of the R.O.C., the text from which her authority to represent the people originates, and the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例).

“One China policy” is actually a bit of a misnomer, because it isn't a policy; it is law. Those who have bothered to read the aforementioned texts would have realized this by now. By adhering to this “policy,” the administration is actually adhering to law. Strangely enough, when the DPP was in power, adhering to the “policy” meant “pragmatism,” but when the Kuomintang is in power, adhering to the “policy” is interpreted as creating “confusion,” “belittling Taiwanese sovereignty” and/or “selling Taiwan to the Chinese communists.”

After the DPP won the presidential election in 2000, former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), for whom Hsiao worked as a presidential campaign spokeswoman several years later, served as the minister of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), which exists precisely because of the “one China policy.” By accepting the nomination, Tsai also accepted the policy; otherwise, why didn't she advocate setting up an office that dealt with cross-strait relations under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) instead? The MAC handles cross-strait affairs, as opposed to MOFA, because as far as our laws are concerned, the People's Republic of China is not a country — there is only one China, namely the R.O.C.

When she tried her hand at the Presidential Office, Tsai said, “Taiwan is the Republic of China. This Republic of China is Taiwan.”

As far as cross-strait relations are concerned, the DPP is caught in a very awkward position. On the one hand, it wants to appeal to swing voters, that is, those in the middle of the political spectrum. To achieve this end, it “froze” its 1991 resolution to work toward the establishment of a “Republic of Taiwan.” On the other hand, it wants to retain the support of those that believe in the Taiwan independence movement, hence it decided to “freeze” the resolution as opposed to “abolishing” it.

Because of this awkwardness, those within the DPP often make contradictory remarks when it comes to cross-strait relations.

When Hsiao attributed the confusion in Vietnam to the Ma administration's one China policy, either she spoke too hastily, or she was conveniently neglecting the fact that not only Taiwanese-owned factories were damaged, so were South Korean and Singaporean-owned businesses.

It seems rather unlikely that Taiwanese-owned business were targeted because Vietnamese rioters were familiar with the R.O.C. Constitution and the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area — two of the primary texts that define cross-strait relations and the “one China policy.” It seems more likely that Taiwanese-owned firms were targeted because rioters, regardless of where they are in the world, are generally not prone to being discerning when torching factories and looting businesses, and because both Taiwanese people and mainland Chinese people share the same language and are hard to distinguish by physical appearance.

If the riots had happened under a DPP administration, it is very likely that Taiwanese factories would still have been targeted, not because of some sort of policy, but because an absolute majority on this island are of Chinese descent.

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