‘Taiwan Independence’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think

It’s not about separating from mainland China. It’s about nation-building.

Foreign Policy
Date: April 11, 2016
By: Chieh-Ting Yeh

On February 23, all eyes were on Taiwan’s new Member of Parliament Freddy Lim as he took the podium at the Legislative Yuan for the first time. Lim is now best known as the heavy metal rock star who, following January 2016 elections on the self-governing island of 23 million, became one of five legislators from the nascent New Power Party. A long-time advocate of international recognition for Taiwan and a famous figure among proponents of Taiwan independence, Lim’s first time deposing outgoing Kuomintang Prime Minister Chang Shan-cheng over the legal statehood of Taiwan and China was civil, but provocative: by the end of the session, Chang had admitted that the Republic of China (ROC) regime currently ruling Taiwan is a separate state from the People’s Republic of China.

Video clips and reports of Lim’s session were widely circulated, with headlines like “Freddy Says ‘I am for Taiwan Independence.’” While pro-independence advocates may have applauded Lim’s performance, the response from other quarters has been mixed. Tsay Ting-kuei, a professor at National Taiwan University and a long-time hardliner on Taiwan independence who founded the pro-independence Free Taiwan Party, took to on Facebook, Taiwan’s social network of choice, to insist that the New Power Party stands for “ROC independence,” or huadu, and not Taiwan independence, or taidu.

Within the past year, the term “ROC independence” has come into vogue within political discourse in Taiwan. It holds that Taiwan is already an independent state, named the Republic of China. This position is different from the “Taiwan independence” position, which insists that Taiwan is not an independent state unless the Republic of China regime is overthrown and replaced by the Republic of Taiwan.     [FULL  STORY]

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