On December 29th, 1971, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) issued The Statement on Our National Fate. It was when President Nixon was about to visit China, the people in Taiwan feared that Taiwan might be sold off like a pawn in international politics and devoured by China. The Statement reflected the determination of the inhabitants of Taiwan, despite their ethnic backgrounds, that “we love this island which is…our homeland” and “we long to live here in peace, freedom and justice. And we do not wish to be governed by the communist totalitarian regime,” and strongly opposed “any powerful nation disregarding the rights and wishes of fifteen million people and making unilateral decisions to their own advantage.” It also emphasized that the right of self-determination was God-given and had been affirmed in the Charter of the United Nations. In the meantime, with respect to the fact that “the Republic of China (ROC) has become a victim of international political bargain in the United Nations,” the Statement requested “our government and people grasp the opportunities available to raise our demand for justice and freedom, and for thorough internal renewal” so as to “maintain our position and reputation in the international community,” and “to hold elections of all representatives to the highest government bodies.”
The Current Situation
Forty years ago, under harsh political milieu, the PCT courageously issued this statement. It was a shaking and awakening call, done out of faith and conscience. The calls for the love of the homeland, the pursuance of justice and freedom, the claim for self-determination, and the appeal for total political renewal, expressed in the statement, are still challenging issues today. However, much has changed on the international scene and with the situation in Taiwan in these forty years.
Compared to the situation forty years ago, the most noticeable change is the situation in the Taiwan Strait: China has obtained superiority in military power and weapon equipment. China does not conceal her hostility toward Taiwan independence and has ambitions of forcing unification with Taiwan. Moreover, by means of threats, media, internet, and Taiwanese business people, China directly and indirectly interferes with the internal affairs of Taiwan. China applies every means available to prevent Taiwan’s involvement in the international community. In the upcoming critical election of 2012, as some international scholars point out, Taiwan has to guard against the possible interference and intrusion from China. Unfortunately, there is another concern. Forty years ago, even when the Kuomingtang (KMT) regime exercised totalitarian rule in Taiwan and its human rights record deplorable, accusing those who were engaged in the Taiwan independent movement of being “communist compatriots,” yet they clearly defined and treated the communist regime on the mainland as the enemy (we vs. they). However, with the uplifting of the martial law and the democratic process gradually underway, the current Taiwanese society – under the influence and spell of KMT’s “pan-China” ideology – exhibits ironically a lack of “we vs. they” consciousness, a loss of sense of subjectivity and a serious identity crisis.
Internationally, because of the vast Chinese market, many countries swarmed to it, not wanting to be left out. As a result, their political position follows their economic interests. They no longer value democracy and human rights as things to be cherished, which deeply hurts the position of Taiwan internationally. The present Ma regime loves to brag about the number of countries that have granted Taiwan with the status of “entry without visa requirement,” yet, being deprived of nationhood and dignity, as a line from the movie Sedig Bale illustrates, Taiwan is like “a body that has lost its soul is no longer a true human.”
Our gravest concern, however, is the change of faith pattern and expression among PCT members and their attitude toward public affairs. Forty years ago, the PCT, with the “key minority,” striving for social justice, voiced the church’s concerns on our national fate. The church courageously played her prophetic role, standing firm even facing severe opposition and persecution. Today, the church leadership is eager to carry out holistic mission, to strive for justice, and to transform the society. But the response among members is rather disappointing. It could be that many people mistakenly think that the democratization in Taiwan has been accomplished, or because of economic affluence have become complacent and, under the influence of charismatic movement, have become apathetic of injustice around them. These developments are causes for concern.
And there are other causes for concern. Despite the fact that some ecumenical church organizations, such as the UMC, WCRC, UCCJ and CWM, still express their concerns for the future of Taiwan and her international status, and hold in high regards of the contribution that the PCT has made in the ecumenical arena, but there are still some organizations or partner churches have lost their patience because the difficult situations that the PCT has to face have dragged on for so long, and the leaders who have deeper understanding of the situation the PCT has to face are gradually either retired or faded away. It is another concern.
In “the Statement of the Conference on Taiwan National Fate, 2010,” the PCT pointed out:
Taiwanis confronting an unprecedented domestic and international crisis. China’s expanding military hegemony has resulted in the deployment of 1,500 missiles aiming at Taiwan and constant provocation in the Taiwan Strait to fulfill its plan to take over Taiwan. At the same time, China engages in legal, mass media, and psychological warfare against Taiwan, plotting conspiracies, with harmless sounding titles like, “Economic and Trade Exchange” and “Cross-Strait Talks,” but whose purpose is to deceive the people of Taiwan. And Ma Ing-jeou’s regime, defying the wishes of Taiwanese people, has totally tilted toward China, adopting the policy of “Diplomatic Truce,” halting diplomatic endeavors, and deserting the sovereignty of Taiwan. In addition, Ma regime has acted like a conqueror, in the name of improving economy, it has refused the due process of referendum, and arbitrarily signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China to fabricate “One China Market” and “Economic Unification,” measures that will seriously deplete Taiwan’s economic strength, causing social disorder, escalating unemployment population, widening the disparity of the rich and the poor, deteriorating the public security and legal system, and disdaining the implementation of social justice in Taiwan.
Remembering the historical issuing of the PCT the Statement on Our National Fate forty years ago and the courage and persistence of our predecessors in faith, we, based on our convictions in “human rights, democracy, justice, sovereignty, and dignity,” would humbly present following propositions as we join the people of Taiwan in facing the challenges of this new era.