--- "New Taiwanese" --- Unnecessary to Argue over Who Is Taiwanese and Who Is Not
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“New Taiwanese”
  --- Unnecessary to Argue over Who Is Taiwanese and Who Is Not

 “As you know, Taiwan is a society of immigrants. Most of its population, except the indigenous people who were here from ancient times, cam from the continent. Whether early settlers or late arrivals, all of us cultivated this land by the sweat of our brows, throwing ourselves heart and soul into making Taiwan what it is today. It is meaningless and unnecessary to argue over who is Taiwanese and who is not, merely following the yardstick of who came when. Believing that Taiwan is ours, loving Taiwan and wholeheartedly devoting ourselves to its cause --- these are the real significance of being Taiwanese. We should promote this vision of ‘new Taiwanese.’ We are also Chinese so long as we respect the legacy of Chinese culture and not forget the ideal of China’s reunification.”

Let me cite part of the speech here: “Amid the rich influence of many different cultures over a long period of time, and the overall progress of Chinese civilization, Taiwan is becoming an advanced new force and a new center of Chinese culture. This is a golden opportunity for us to leave behind the trials of history and for all different groups to harmoniously unite together to open up a new era for managing Great Taiwan and establishing a new center of Chinese culture.”

A “new center” is essentially a place where culture mixes and flourishes. Put in more political terms, it is the prospering of democratic culture. Democratic culture can be acquired only when all people living in Taiwan are involved in its nurture. A national identity --- that “we are Taiwanese” --- will be born out of that participation and provide the basis for a democratic culture in Taiwan.

To that end, what lawmakers in Taiwan should do for the people is: first, manage Great Taiwan in a democratic and efficient way; second, promote industrial development and scientific advancement; and third, create an environment in which people can enjoy comfortable and secure family lives.

An essential condition of a future president of Taiwan is that he or she should love Taiwan and be devoted to its people.

To explain this, let me again evoke Sun Yat-sen’s “the world is for all” motto. This means that government should not be run for a specific group of people and that politicians should be unselfish. By “unselfish” is meant that in his or her actions and deeds, a politician should put aside personal interest. In making a decision, a politician should think of the best course of action others might have chosen had he or she not been there.

It was only natural that demands for democratization would increase as Taiwan’s economy entered its period of rapid growth. The dilemma for the government was how to deal with many intertwined factors. While the people demanded political democratization, a number of problems remained.

One of the tasks I faced after being elected as the eighth-term president in 1990 was rescinding the Temporary Provisions. This had been instituted to give the government dictatorial powers to mobilize the people in order to deal with the military threat of the Chinese Communist Party.

First of all, there continue to be countries in the world that follows the communist banner, and we must not forget that they have not yet cast aside their allegiance to their own type of order. Second, we must keep in mind that even countries that have adopted liberal democracy have not solved problems stemming from ethnic or religious differences.


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