Taiwan Lawmakers Seek Removal of ‘Chinese Unity’ from Constitution

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Lawmakers in Taiwan urged the government Monday to “remove references to unification with mainland China” from the country’s constitution during a session of Taiwan’s legislature.

At least 58 members of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) advocated for the changes, arguing they were necessary for Taiwan to become a “normalized country,” the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported February 1.

“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,” DPP legislator Chen Ting-fei said.

DPP lawmakers on Monday also endorsed a proposal to change Taiwan’s national emblem and anthem, noting they are currently associated with Taiwan’s pro-China opposition party, Kuomintang (KMT).

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

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

Taiwan’s legislative yuan, which is responsible for passing legislation on the island, has assigned its constitutional amendment committee to discuss the DPP’s proposals this month, the governing body’s speaker and DPP member, Yu Shyi-kun, said on February 1. The committee would need to reach a consensus on the proposal as a first step before putting it forward as a formal motion before the legislature.

“A quarter of lawmakers must then approve it being put to a vote, and three quarters must vote in favor for it to trigger a referendum. Finally, it must win the support of 50 percent of all eligible voters for it take effect,” the SCMP noted, adding that the current breakdown of seats held in Taiwan’s legislature makes the proposal’s passage into law nearly “impossible.”

The DPP currently holds 61 of the legislature’s 113 seats, while KMT holds 38 seats. The remaining seats are in the hands of other opposition parties.

“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,” the Hong Kong-based newspaper pronounced Monday.

A “handful” of people in Taiwan are seeking the island’s independence, China’s defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian said at a monthly news briefing on January 28.

“We warn those ‘Taiwan independence’ elements: those who play with fire will burn themselves, and ‘Taiwan independence’ means war,” Wu added.

Beijing considers Taiwan to be a breakaway territory and has vowed to reunify the island with China by force. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed fighter jets to conduct over 100 air sorties violating Taiwanese airspace since mid-September as part of a campaign of intimidation against the sovereign island, located off China’s southeastern coast.

“Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory, and the Taiwan question falls under China’s internal affairs and brooks no interference from any external forces,” Wu said late last month.

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