Taiwan lawmakers seek to remove references to mainland unity from constitution

Taiwan lawmakers seek to remove references to mainland unity from constitution

Lawrence Chung

Published ·3 min read
 
 

Pro-independence lawmakers in Taiwan have repeated calls to change the emblem and flag and revise the constitution to remove references to unification with mainland China.

At a session of the legislature on Monday, members of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party called on the government to push for the change, saying it was necessary if Taiwan was to become a “normalised country”, but the opposition dismissed the move as a provocation.

The move is unlikely to succeed because of the difficulty in changing the constitution, but it reflects consistent efforts by supporters of independence to change the status quo.

 

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DPP lawmaker Chen Ting-fei, a supporter of the change, argued the constitution was out of date, saying: “Our constitution actually reflects a Greater China mentality and our so-called territory does not reflect our reality – that our jurisdiction only extends to Taiwan, Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu, but not China and even Mongolia.”

Chen, along with 57 other legislators, including members of the DPP, New Power Party and Taiwan Statebuilding Party, endorsed a proposal to change the island’s emblem and anthem, saying they were associated with the opposition Kuomintang.

“Our emblem and anthem actually came from the KMT, which should not be used to represent our country,” Chen said on Monday.

The emblem, a white sun on a blue background, was adopted by the KMT, or Nationalists, in 1927 when they controlled the Chinese mainland, while the anthem was adopted 1937.

They have remained unchanged since the KMT was defeated by the Communists in the civil war and fled to Taiwan in 1949.

Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Chen Ting-fei said the constitution reflected a “Greater China” mentality. Photo: Facebook alt=Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Chen Ting-fei said the constitution reflected a “Greater China” mentality. Photo: Facebook

The KMT dismissed the latest move as “deception”.

“What the DPP proposed was just a political trick to deceive the public, deliberately provoke the mainland and divide people in Taiwan,” said KMT spokeswoman Lu Chen-wei.

“If President Tsai Ing-wen really thinks this should be done, she should clearly and loudly declare her intention followed by bold actions. But obviously she dares not.

“All the DPP wants is to increase the anti-mainland sentiment and increase support from the pro-independence camp, which is not in the interest of the Republic of China,” she said, using Taiwan’s official title.

On Monday, the speaker of the legislative yuan Yu Shyi-kun, a DPP member, said the legislature’s constitutional amendment committee will discuss the proposal this month.

But there are many constitutional hurdles to clear before the proposal can become law. First, the committee must reach a consensus before putting a formal motion before the full legislature.

A quarter of lawmakers must then approve it being put to a vote, and three quarters must vote in favour for it to trigger a referendum. Finally it must win the support of 50 per cent of all eligible voters for it take effect.

Currently, the DPP holds 61 of the 113 legislature seats, with 38 held by the KMT and the rest by other opposition parties, making it almost impossible for the motion to pass.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2021 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.