Referendum: “Doomed to Decline and Fall”

“The TSU’s proposal does not meet the qualification of ‘approving a government policy’ as stated in the Referendum Act and has been rejected.”

Chao Yung-mao (趙永茂), Referendum Review Committee chairman, defends a 12:4 decision against a referendum on ECFA on  Thursday night local time, arguing  that the TSU’s (台灣團結聯盟, Taiwan Solidarity Union)  initiative for a referendum should have been about government competent jurisdiction for signing an ECFA with China, rather than about support for or disagreement with the ECFA itself.

According to an open letter of some days ago by well-known lawyer Chen Chang-wen (陳長文), the Taiwan Solidarity Union’s proposition wasn’t in accordance with their actual position, and the Referendum Review Committee should conduct a critical review, as with the Central Election Commission being surrounded by people mobilized by the pan-Green camp, as it could become a high-profile matter.

RTI, June 3, 2010

Chen Chang-wen (front left), former Vice-chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation, and Zheng Bi-jian (front right), former President of China’s Central Party School, exchanged views November 13 at a Pacific Cultural Foundation-sponsored seminar.

Taiwan News, November 13, 2009

“To this day, the contest between seeking independence and anti-independence has yet to end.” […] However, because mainstream public opinion wants a continuous, peaceful and stable development of cross-strait relations, efforts to seek independence are doomed to decline and fall.”

China Post quoting Zheng Bijian, former vice president of China’s Central Party School, November 13, 2009


Referendum on ECFA: how it might happen, April 23, 2010
ECFA馬英九向前衝 “老大哥”陳長文角色關鍵, 鳳凰/, May 2, 2009
Red Cross chairman, current posts, Red Cross Society of the ROC

6 Responses to “Referendum: “Doomed to Decline and Fall””

  1. I really don’t understand this argumentation. The question isn’t over whether the government has the authority to ink a trade deal. It is over whether the government should sign this trade deal. How else would Taiwanese express their wish that the government not sign this trade deal without expressing their support or lack of support?


  2. I don’t know either. In fact, it would be great to see the paragraph of the referendum act in question quoted more frequently. Even the Taiwanese media don’t seem to know what they are reporting about. Either way, things could be easier if independent judges examined the initiatives.

    The commission’s point seems to be that the question, instead of
    “Do you agree that the government should sign an ECFA with China?”
    should have been something like
    “Do you agree that the government should not sign an ECFA with China”, because only a “government-should-not” phrasing would express the TSU’s own position.

    Then again, maybe the commission wanted a “Don’t you agree that the government should sign an ECFA with China?” Or a “Don’t you agree that the government should not sign an ECFA with China?”

    This comment constitutes no legal advice to whomsoever.



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