Taiwan Solidarity Union

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Taiwan Solidarity Union
台灣團結聯盟
Táiwān Tuánjié Liánméng
Leader Huang Kun-huei
Lee Teng-hui (Spiritual)
Founded 2001
Headquarters Taipei City, Taiwan
Think tank Lee Teng-hui Foundation (unofficial)
Ideology Taiwan independence
Social liberalism
Taiwanese localization movement
Taiwanese nationalism[1]
Political position Center-left
International affiliation None
Legislative Yuan
3 / 113
Local Councillors
5 / 906
Party flag
Taiwan Solidarity Union party flag.svg
Website
www.tsu.org.tw
Politics of the Republic of China
Political parties
Elections
Taiwan Soildarity Union
Traditional Chinese 臺灣團結聯盟
Simplified Chinese 台湾团结联盟
Commonly abbreviated in Chinese as
Traditional Chinese 臺聯
Simplified Chinese 台联

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU; Chinese: 台灣團結聯盟; pinyin: Táiwān Tuánjié Liánméng) is a political party in Taiwan which advocates Taiwan independence,Taiwanese localization movement and social liberalism. It was officially founded on July 24, 2001 and is considered part of the Pan-Green Coalition. 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.

History[edit]

In the summer of 2001, supporters of former ROC president Lee Teng-hui formed the Taiwan Solidarity Union. In the 2000 presidential elections, the Kuomintang (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, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, to win. Meanwhile, after winning the presidential election, Chen Shui-bian moderated his pro-independence position, alienating some hardline independence supporters in the DPP. 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 the void in Taiwanese politics caused by the DPP's abandonment of its strongly pro-independence political stance. 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 policies supportive 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 lingering 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 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 or Lee's close associates changed sides. Nonetheless, former members of the KMT were still to be the fundamental building blocks of the new party, with half of TSU candidates coming 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) as the strongly pro-Taiwan-independence political force and the TSU legislators began advocating relevant resolutions. For instance, they have opened the debates about changing the national flag and national anthem. In the 2002 Republic of China municipal elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung, TSU fielded no mayoral candidate, and it suffered a defeat in winning no seats in the Taipei City council and won only two seats in the Kaohsiung City council.

Yasukuni Shrine visit[edit]

The visit to the Yasukuni Shrine by TSU chairman Shu Chin-chiang in April 2005 generated a controversy across the political spectrum and further made 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. Chairman Shu denied the visit should be seen as support for militarism, and claimed it was a goodwill gesture to Taiwan's former colonial master Japan to further strengthen the security of the Pacific region. Chairman Su also emphasized that there is a need to remind the Taiwanese public that the People's Republic of China is aiming 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 May Chin to gain publicity by protesting with her supporters at the chairman's arrival at the Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport, now renamed Taiwan Taoyuan International 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 DPP, the ruling party, kept a low profile in this controversy and attempts to distance itself from the incident.

Current status[edit]

The TSU suffered defeat in the December 2005 local elections, along with its pan-green partner the DPP, and failed to win any municipal mayoral or county magistrate seats. Its representation in the Legislative Yuan was eliminated by the 2008 election when it failed to win any district-contested seats and failed to gain the 5% threshold for proportional representation.

In the 2012 legislative elections, the TSU won 8.98% of the popular vote and earned three representatives to the Legislative Yuan, renewing its status as a credible third party in Taiwanese government.

Election results[edit]

Legislative elections[edit]

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
2001
13 / 225
801,560 8.5% Increase13 seats; Opposition coalition (Pan-Green) Huang Chu-wen
2004
12 / 225
756,712 8.28% Decrease1 seats; Opposition coalition (Pan-Green) Huang Chu-wen
2008
0 / 113
344,887 3.5% Decrease12 seats; No seats Huang Kun-huei
2012
3 / 113
1,178,896 8.96% Increase3 seats; Opposition coalition (Pan-Green) Huang Kun-huei

National Assembly elections[edit]

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
2005
21 / 300
273,147 7.05% Increase21 seats; Opposition (Rejecting amendments) Shu Chin-chiang

Chairman[edit]

Huang Kun-huei, incumbent Chairman of TSU

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]