Taiwan Solidarity Union

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The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) (Traditional Chinese: 台灣團結聯盟, pinyin: Tiwān tanje lanmng) is a political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan which advocates Taiwan independence. Unlike the Democratic Progressive Party, its larger companion party in the pan-green coalition, the TSU actively campaigns for the creation of a de jure Republic of Taiwan. It was officially founded on July 24, 2001 and is considered part of the Pan-Green Coalition. The party prided itself on being the first to include "Taiwan" in its name.

Domestically, the TSU is characterized primarily by its Taiwanese nationalism and derives its membership from both the Nationalist Party's former Taiwan-oriented fringe and supporters of Taiwan Independence who are disgruntled by the Democratic Progressive Party's moderation on the question of Taiwanese sovereignty.

In the summer of 2001, supporters of former ROC president Lee Teng-hui formed the Taiwan Solidarity Union. In the 2000 presidential elections, the KMT suffered a devastating defeat, in which internal turmoil had caused the party to lose its grip on power. This was blamed on Lee, the KMT Chairman at the time, and he was forced to resign in March 2001. The hardliners in the KMT and recently expelled supporters of James Soong believed Lee secretly harbored support for Taiwan independence and had purposely sabotaged the KMT (by not allowing Soong to run under the KMT) in order to allow Chen Shui-bian to win. Meanwhile, the new President Chen moderated his pro-independence position in the election, alienating some hardline independence supporters in his Democratic Progressive Party. By July, just months before the December 2001 elections to the Legislative Yuan, these factors accumulated to result in the formation of the TSU to continue Lee's policies, and fill in the DPP's abandoned position of an extremist hardline political force. It was hoped that this would lead to a pan-green majority in the nation's primary legislative body, thus giving the executive branch, under Chen, the political backing necessary to pursue more radical policies, primarily in the areas of Taiwanese independence.

The TSU's stated political aim is the advocacy of the creation of a Republic of Taiwan and a policy of desinicization which consists of eliminating the symbols and concepts which connect Taiwan to the idea of China. The TSU argues that any linger connection with the concept of China renders Taiwan an "abnormal nation" and that clearly separating Taiwan from China is necessary to prevent Taiwan from being dominated by an enemy and foreign nation. The TSU has also strongly advocated the creation of a new constitution for Taiwan and abandonment of the Republic of China as Taiwan's formal name.

Lee was, naturally, identified as the "spiritual leader" (though he personally never joined the party); the TSU hoped that Lee's popularity would help the TSU make the 5% support mark. Further, Lee's dominance in the party was revealed when the candidates TSU nominated had all been personally approved by Lee beforehand. Meanwhile, as Lee's actions increasingly departed from the KMT's unificationist-friendly positions, he was eventually expelled from the Kuomintang. Although there was some initial speculation that Lee's expulsion would cause mass defections in the Kuomintang, none of the major Kuomintang leaders and Lee's close associates changed sides. Nonetheless, native members of the KMT was still to be the fundamental building blocks of the new party. Half of the TSU candidates had come directly from the KMT.

After winning nine seats in the 225-member Legislative Yuan in December 2001, the TSU has largely displaced the Taiwan Independence Party (TAIP) and TSU legislators began advocating resolutions consistent with its strongly pro-Taiwan independence stance. For instance, they have opened debate about changing the national flag and national anthem. In the December 2002 city elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung, during which it fielded no candidates, the TSU suffered a defeat, winning no seats in the Taipei City council and won only two seats in the Kaohsiung City council.

Yasukuni Visit

The visit to the Yasukuni shrine by TSU chairman Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強)in April 2005 generated a controversy across the political spectrum and further makes their party goals more ambiguous to the voters. However, the TSU has made it clear that it would achieve its goal of total independence by all means. Shairman Shu denied the visit should be seen as support for militarism, and claimed it was a goodwill gesture to Taiwan's old colonial master Japan to further strengthen the security of the Pacific region. Chairman Su also emphasised that there is a need to remind the Taiwanese public that the Chinese Mainland aimed 700 missiles towards Taiwan and that Japan would be an important ally if China were inclined to invade.

Chairman Shu's visit, however, gave opportunity to aboriginal legislator Kao Chin Su-mei (高金素梅) to get publicity by protesting with her supporters at the chairman's arrival at CSK airport. Later on the TSU press conference was disrupted by an angry mob from the members of pro-unification Patriot Association (愛國同心會), who showed their disagreement and dissatisfaction by throwing eggs at the conference building. The Democratic Progressive Party, the ruling party, kept a low profile in this controversy and attempts to distance itself from the incident. See also:

External link

ja:台湾団結連盟 zh:台灣團結聯盟


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