Taiwanese-Americans Disturbed By President Ma’s Shift On “China” Language

For Immediate Release
Washington DC – February 8, 2011
Contact: (202) 547-3686

Taiwanese-Americans Disturbed By President Ma’s Shift On “China” Language

A throwback to the times of the Civil War

Taiwanese-Americans today expressed surprise and indignation about recent press reports from Taiwan indicating that President Ma Ying-jeou now wants the people of the island nation to refer to China as “the mainland” or the “other side.”

According to the reports, President Ma had said in a February 7th meeting with leading government and legislative officials that China should not be referred to by its official name, but instead be called “the mainland” or simply “the other side.”

The move is apparently part of the Ma government’s attempts to define the so-called “Republic of China” (ROC) as the “real” China, and “the mainland” as part of this ROC.

FAPA President Yang stated in response: “To me this is a throwback to the bad old days of the Civil War between the Chinese Nationalists of Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists of Mao Zedong.”  He added: “The Ma government should realize that the ‘ROC’ has lost its legitimacy more than thirty years ago, and that the new reality is that the PRC represents China, and that Taiwan is a free and democratic country separate from China.”

President Yang continued: “In order for Taiwan to preserve its democracy it needs to strengthen its ties with the international community.  And everyone in the international community refers to Taiwan as ‘Taiwan.’  The time for anachronistic ‘ROC’ fictions is over.”

The statement by President Ma comes at the heels of efforts by both the PRC and the Ma administration to lock Taiwan into the “1992 consensus”, a fiction conjured up by former Ma government official Su Chi, who said that in 1992 the two sides agreed to “One China” but that each side could have its own interpretation.

The problem with this “consensus” is that the PRC never agreed that each side could have its own interpretation, while former President Lee Teng-hui – who served as President from 1988 through 2000 – has stated that such a consensus never existed in the first place.

President Yang concluded: “It would behoove the Ma government to come back to reality, and accept that China is China, and Taiwan is Taiwan.  Playing his semantic games is detrimental to Taiwan and its future as a free and democratic nation.”

Photo Credit: 張永泰(Wikipedia Commons