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Constitution of the Republic of China

Constitution of the Republic of China

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The Constitution of the Republic of China (中華民國憲法) is the fundamental law of the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 (ROC). Drafted by the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 (KMT) as part of its third stage of national development (i.e. representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

), it established a centralized Republic with five branches of government
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

. Though the Constitution was intended for the whole of China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, it was neither extensively nor effectively implemented as the KMT was already fully embroiled in a civil war
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

 with the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 by the time of its promulgation.

Following the KMT's retreat to Taiwan in 1949, the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion
Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion
The Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion was a series of temporary constitutional provisions passed by the National Assembly of the Republic of China on May 10, 1948, that provided to the then President Chiang Kai-shek extended powers amid the height of the...

("Temporary Provisions" for short) gave the KMT government extra-constitutional powers. Despite the Constitution, Taiwan was an authoritarian
Authoritarianism
Authoritarianism is a form of social organization characterized by submission to authority. It is usually opposed to individualism and democracy...

 one-party state. Democratization
Democratization
Democratization is the transition to a more democratic political regime. It may be the transition from an authoritarian regime to a full democracy, a transition from an authoritarian political system to a semi-democracy or transition from a semi-authoritarian political system to a democratic...

 began in the 1980s
1980s
File:1980s decade montage.png|thumb|400px|From left, clockwise: The first Space Shuttle, Columbia, lifted off in 1981; American President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev eased tensions between the two superpowers, leading to the end of the Cold War; The Fall of the Berlin Wall in...

. Martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 was lifted in 1987; and the Temporary Provisions were repealed and the Constitution was amended in 1991 to reflect the government's loss of mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

, and the Constitution finally formed the basis of a multi-party
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

 democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, the Constitution's origins in mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

 led to supporters of Taiwan independence
Taiwan independence
Taiwan independence is a political movement whose goals are primarily to formally establish the Republic of Taiwan by renaming or replacing the Republic of China , form a Taiwanese national identity, reject unification and One country, two systems with the People's Republic of China and a Chinese...

 to push for a new Taiwanese Constitution. However, attempts by the Democratic Progressive Party
Democratic Progressive Party
The Democratic Progressive Party is a political party in Taiwan, and the dominant party in the Pan-Green Coalition. Founded in 1986, DPP is the first meaningful opposition party in Taiwan. It has traditionally been associated with strong advocacy of human rights and a distinct Taiwanese identity,...

 administration to create a new Constitution during the second term of DPP President
President of the Republic of China
The President of the Republic of China is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China . The Republic of China was founded on January 1, 1912, to govern all of China...

 Chen Shui-bian
Chen Shui-bian
Chen Shui-bian is a former Taiwanese politician who was the 10th and 11th-term President of the Republic of China from 2000 to 2008. Chen, whose Democratic Progressive Party has traditionally been supportive of Taiwan independence, ended more than fifty years of Kuomintang rule in Taiwan...

 failed, because the then opposition Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 controlled the Legislative Yuan
Legislative Yuan
The Legislative Yuan is the unicameral legislature of the Republic of China .The Legislative Yuan is one of the five branches of government stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of China, which follows Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People...

. It was only agreed to reform the Constitution of the Republic of China, not to create a new one. It was lastly amended in 2005, with the consent of both the KMT and the DPP.

History




The Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China
Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China
After the victory in Xinhai Revolution, the Nanjing Provisional Government of the Republic of China, led by Sun Yat-sen, framed the Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China , which was an outline of basic regulations with the qualities of a formal constitution.On March 11, 1912, it...

 was drawn up in March 1912 and formed the basic government document of the Republic of China until 1928. It provided a Western-style parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 headed by the weak president. However, the system was quickly usurped when Song Jiaoren
Song Jiaoren
Song Jiaoren was a Chinese republican revolutionary, political leader and a founder of the Kuomintang . He was assassinated in 1913 after leading his Kuomintang party to victory in China's first democratic elections...

, who as leader of the KMT was to become prime minister following the party's victory in the 1913 elections, was assassinated under the orders of President Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai was an important Chinese general and politician famous for his influence during the late Qing Dynasty, his role in the events leading up to the abdication of the last Qing Emperor of China, his autocratic rule as the second President of the Republic of China , and his short-lived...

. Yuan regularly flouted the elected assembly and assumed dictorial powers. Upon his death, China disintegrated into warlordism and the Beiyang Government
Beiyang Government
The Beiyang government or warlord government collectively refers to a series of military regimes that ruled from Beijing from 1912 to 1928 at Zhongnanhai. It was internationally recognized as the legitimate Government of the Republic of China. The name comes from the Beiyang Army which dominated...

 operating under the Constitution remained in the hands of various military leaders.

The Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

 established control over much of China by 1928. The Nationalist Government promulgated the Provisional Constitution of the Political Tutelage Period in 1931. Under this document, the government operated under a one-party system with supreme power held by the National Congress of the Kuomintang and effective power held by the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang. In Leninist fashion, it permitted a system of dual party-state committees to form the basis of government. The KMT intended this Constitution to remain in effect until the country had been pacified and the people sufficiently "educated" to participate in democratic government.

The current Constitution traces its origins to the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 when the impending outbreak of the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

 pressured Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

 into enacting a democratic Constitution that would put an end to KMT party rule. The Chinese Communists sought a coalition, made of one-third Nationalists, one-third Communists, and one-third of members from other parties, to form a coalition government that would draft the new Constitution. However, Chiang Kai-shek refused to relinquish power and insisted on having the Nationalist Government draft the Constitution and then holding nation-wide elections in which the Communists would be permitted to participate. Unable to resolve the impasse, the KMT-drafted Constitution was adopted by the National Assembly
National Assembly of the Republic of China
The National Assembly of the Republic of China refers to several parliamentary bodies that existed in the Republic of China. The National Assembly was originally founded in 1913 as the first legislature in Chinese history, but was disbanded less than a year later as President Yuan Shikai assumed...

 on December 25, 1946, promulgated by the National Government on January 1, 1947, and went into effect on December 25, 1947. The Constitution was seen as the third and final stage of Kuomintang reconstruction of China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. The Communists, though invited to the convention that drafted it, boycotted and declared after the ratification that not only would it not recognize the ROC constitution, but all bills passed by the Nationalist administration would be disregarded as well. Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

 challenged the legitimacy of the National Assembly in 1947 by accusing KMT hand-picked the members of the National Assembly 10 years earlier and thus could not have legal representativity of the Chinese people.

Content


The founding of the ROC was centered on the Three Principles of the People
Three Principles of the People
The Three Principles of the People, also translated as Three People's Principles, or collectively San-min Doctrine, is a political philosophy developed by Sun Yat-sen as part of a philosophy to make China a free, prosperous, and powerful nation...

 (Sān Mín Zhǔyì), which called for the establishment of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. A government for the people invoked the idea of civic nationalism
Civic nationalism
Liberal Nationalism is a kind of nationalism identified by political philosophers who believe in a non-xenophobic form of nationalism compatible with liberal values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights. Ernest Renan and John Stuart Mill are often thought to be early liberal...

, which sought to create unity between the five traditional ethnic groups in China (Han
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

, Manchu
Manchu
The Manchu people or Man are an ethnic minority of China who originated in Manchuria . During their rise in the 17th century, with the help of the Ming dynasty rebels , they came to power in China and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which...

s, Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

, Uyghurs
Uyghur people
The Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China...

, and Tibetans
Tibetan people
The Tibetan people are an ethnic group that is native to Tibet, which is mostly in the People's Republic of China. They number 5.4 million and are the 10th largest ethnic group in the country. Significant Tibetan minorities also live in India, Nepal, and Bhutan...

) in order to stand up to European and Japanese imperialism as one, strong nation. A government by the people sought to create a Western parliamentary democracy and a separation of powers
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

. Originally, the National Assembly
National Assembly of the Republic of China
The National Assembly of the Republic of China refers to several parliamentary bodies that existed in the Republic of China. The National Assembly was originally founded in 1913 as the first legislature in Chinese history, but was disbanded less than a year later as President Yuan Shikai assumed...

 was the "parliament" of the republic, but it lost relevance in the 1990s and was abolished in 2005 with its powers transferred to the Legislative Yuan. Dr. Sun also added two branches of government from the legacy of China's imperial past to the three branches of Western governments. The five branches or Yuan (院) are: the Executive Yuan
Executive Yuan
The Executive Yuan is the executive branch of the government of the Republic of China , commonly known as "Taiwan".-Organization and structure:...

, Legislative Yuan
Legislative Yuan
The Legislative Yuan is the unicameral legislature of the Republic of China .The Legislative Yuan is one of the five branches of government stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of China, which follows Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People...

, Judicial Yuan
Judicial Yuan
The Judicial Yuan is one of five branches of the government of the Republic of China in Taiwan and serves as the highest judicial organ in Republic of China. Its Justices of the Constitutional Court , with 15 members, is charged with interpreting the Constitution...

, Examination Yuan
Examination Yuan
The Examination Yuan is in charge of validating the qualification of civil servants in the Republic of China . It is one of the five government branches of the ROC government...

, and Control Yuan
Control Yuan
The Control Yuan , one of the five branches of the Republic of China government in Taipei, is an investigatory agency that monitors the other branches of government...

. While the original intent was to have a parliamentary system (as evidenced in the existence of both a president and premier), General Chiang Kai-shek largely reduced the role of the premier and concentrated more power in the presidency. As a result, the current government is in practice a semi-presidential system
Semi-presidential system
The semi-presidential system is a system of government in which a president and a prime minister are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state...

. A government for the people means that the government to a certain extent must provide services that are essential to the well-being of society. Examples of this principle in practice are the New Life Movement
New Life Movement
The New Life Movement was set up by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his wife Soong May-ling in February 1934, with the help of the Blue Shirts Society and the CC Clique within the Chinese Nationalist Party...

 and National Health Insurance.

Three Principles of the People


The Three Principles of the People
Three Principles of the People
The Three Principles of the People, also translated as Three People's Principles, or collectively San-min Doctrine, is a political philosophy developed by Sun Yat-sen as part of a philosophy to make China a free, prosperous, and powerful nation...

 are Minzu, Minquan, and Minsheng, roughly defined as nationalism, democracy, and socialism. See Chinese socialism
Chinese socialism
Chinese socialism is the unique form of socialism and socialist thought developed in China in the modern era. The Tongmenghui revolutionary organization led by Dr...

.

Suspension of the constitution and martial law


On January 10, 1947, Governor Chen Yi
Chen Yi (Kuomintang)
Chen Yi and later Gongqia , sobriquet Tuisu ; 1883 – June 18, 1950) was the Chief Executive and Garrison Commander of Taiwan after it was surrendered by Japan to the Republic of China, which acted on behalf of the Allied Powers, in 1945...

 announced that the new ROC Constitution would not apply to Taiwan after it went into effect in mainland China on December 25, 1947 as Taiwan was still under military occupation
Military occupation
Military occupation occurs when the control and authority over a territory passes to a hostile army. The territory then becomes occupied territory.-Military occupation and the laws of war:...

 and also that Taiwanese were politically naive and were not capable of self-governing. Later that year, Chen Yi was dismissed and the Taiwan Provincial Government was established. From March 1947 until 1987, Taiwan was in a state of martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

. Although the constitution provided for regular democratic elections, these were not held in Taiwan until the 1990s.

On April 18, 1948, the National Assembly added to the Constitution the "Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion
Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion
The Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion was a series of temporary constitutional provisions passed by the National Assembly of the Republic of China on May 10, 1948, that provided to the then President Chiang Kai-shek extended powers amid the height of the...

". These articles greatly enhanced the power of the president
President of the Republic of China
The President of the Republic of China is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China . The Republic of China was founded on January 1, 1912, to govern all of China...

 and abolished the two term limit for the president and the vice president. In 1954, the Judicial Yuan
Judicial Yuan
The Judicial Yuan is one of five branches of the government of the Republic of China in Taiwan and serves as the highest judicial organ in Republic of China. Its Justices of the Constitutional Court , with 15 members, is charged with interpreting the Constitution...

 ruled that the delegates elected to the National Assembly and Legislative Yuan in 1947 would remain in office until new elections could be held in Mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

 which had come under the control of the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 in 1949. This judicial ruling allowed the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 to rule unchallenged in Taiwan until the 1990s. In 1991, these members were ordered to resign by a subsequent Judicial Yuan ruling.

In the 1970s, supplemental elections began to be held for the Legislative Yuan
Legislative Yuan
The Legislative Yuan is the unicameral legislature of the Republic of China .The Legislative Yuan is one of the five branches of government stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of China, which follows Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People...

. Although these were for a limited number of seats, they did allow for the transition to a more open political system.

Democratization


In the late 1980s, the Constitution faced the growing democratization on Taiwan combined with the mortality of the delegates that were elected in 1947. Faced with these pressures, on April 22, 1991, the first National Assembly voted itself out of office, abolished the Temporary Provisions passed in 1948, and adopted major amendments (known as the "First Revision") permitting free elections.

On May 27, 1992 several other amendments were passed (known as the "Second Revision"), most notably that allowing the direct election of the President of the Republic of China
President of the Republic of China
The President of the Republic of China is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China . The Republic of China was founded on January 1, 1912, to govern all of China...

, Governor of Taiwan Province
Taiwan Province
Taiwan Province is one of the two administrative divisions referred to as provinces and is controlled by the Republic of China . The province covers approximately 73% of the territory controlled by the Republic of China...

, and municipal mayors. Ten new amendments to replace the eighteen amendments of the First and Second Revisions were passed on July 28, 1994. The amendments passed on July 18, 1997 streamlined the Taiwan Provincial Government and granted the Legislative Yuan powers of impeachment. The constitution was subsequently revised in 1999 and 2000, with the former revision being declared void the same year by the Council of Grand Justices. A further revision of the constitution happened in 2005 which disbanded the National Assembly, reformed the Legislative Yuan, and provided for future constitutional change to be ratified by referendum.

Passing an amendment to the ROC constitution now requires an unusually broad political consensus, which includes approval from three-fourths of the quorum of members of the Legislative Yuan. This quorum requires at least three-fourths of all members of the Legislature. After passing the Legislature, the amendments need ratification by at least fifty percent of all eligible voters of the ROC irrespective of voter turnout.

It should also be noted that, because the ROC constitution is, at least nominally, the constitution of all China, the amendments avoided any specific reference to the Taiwan area and instead used the geographically neutral term "Free Area of the Republic of China
Free Area of the Republic of China
The Free area of the Republic of China is a legal and political description referring to the territories under the control of the government of Republic of China , consisting of the island groups of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and some minor islands...

" to refer to all areas under ROC control. In addition, as the preamble of the amendments stated they are [t]o meet the requisites of the nation prior to national unification, these amendments would automatically be voided in the case of Chinese reunification
Chinese reunification
Chinese reunification refers to the bringing together of all of the territories controlled by the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China under a single political entity...

. As a result, all post-1991 amendments have been maintained as a separate part of the Constitution, consolidated into a single text of twelve articles.

Challenge of legitimacy


A number of criticisms have been leveled at the ROC constitution by supporters of Taiwan independence
Taiwan independence
Taiwan independence is a political movement whose goals are primarily to formally establish the Republic of Taiwan by renaming or replacing the Republic of China , form a Taiwanese national identity, reject unification and One country, two systems with the People's Republic of China and a Chinese...

. Until the 1990s, the document was considered illegitimate by pro-independence advocates because it was not drafted in Taiwan, moreover Taiwan was sovereign Japanese territory until ceded in the San Francisco Peace Treaty effective April 28, 1952. Pro-independence advocates have argued that the Constitution was never legally applied to Taiwan because Taiwan was not formally incorporated into the ROC's territory through the National Assembly, as per the specifications of Article 4. Though the constitution promulgated in 1946 did not define the territory of the Republic of China, while the draft of the constitution of 1925 individually listed the provinces of the Republic of China and Taiwan was not among them, since Taiwan was part of Japan as the result of the Treaty of Shimonoseki
Treaty of Shimonoseki
The Treaty of Shimonoseki , known as the Treaty of Maguan in China, was signed at the Shunpanrō hall on April 17, 1895, between the Empire of Japan and Qing Empire of China, ending the First Sino-Japanese War. The peace conference took place from March 20 to April 17, 1895...

 of 1895. The constitution also stipulated in the Article I.4, that "the territory of the ROC is the original territory governed by it, unless authorized by the National Assembly, can not be altered." In 1946, Sun Fo, the minister of the Executive Yuan of ROC reported to the National Assembly that "there are two types of territory changes: 1. renouncing territory and 2. annexing new territory. The first example would be the Independence of Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

, and the second example would be the reclamation of Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

. Both would be examples of territory changes." No such formal annexation of Taiwan islands by the ROC National Assembly conforming with the ROC constitution ever occurred since 1946, even though Article 9 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China says, "The modifications of the functions, operations, and organization of the Taiwan Provincial Government may be specified by law." The Republic of China argues that sovereignty of the Republic of China over Taiwan was established by the Instrument of Surrender of Japan which implemented the Potsdam Declaration
Potsdam Declaration
The Potsdam Declaration or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender is a statement calling for the Surrender of Japan in World War II. On July 26, 1945, United States President Harry S...

 and the Cairo Declaration
Cairo Declaration
The Cairo Declaration was the outcome of the Cairo Conference in Cairo, Egypt, on November 27, 1943. President Franklin Roosevelt of the United States, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China were present...

. The Allies have not agreed or disagreed to this rationale. In addition, the ROC argues that the Article 4 of Treaty of Taipei
Treaty of Taipei
The Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty , commonly known as the Treaty of Taipei , was a peace treaty between Japan and the Republic of China signed in Taipei, Taiwan on April 28, 1952...

 nullifies the Treaty of Shimonoseki
Treaty of Shimonoseki
The Treaty of Shimonoseki , known as the Treaty of Maguan in China, was signed at the Shunpanrō hall on April 17, 1895, between the Empire of Japan and Qing Empire of China, ending the First Sino-Japanese War. The peace conference took place from March 20 to April 17, 1895...

 and the original transfer of sovereignty of Taiwan from Japan to China. Since this transfer of sovereignty occurred in 1945 before the promulgation of the 1947 constitution, the ROC government is of the view that a resolution by the National Assembly was unnecessary.

While both symbolic and legal arguments have been used to discredit the application the ROC Constitution in Taiwan, the document gained more legitimacy among independence supporters throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s due to democratization and it is now accepted as the basic law of Taiwan by all of the major parties. However, there are proposals being floated, particularly by supporters of Taiwan independence
Taiwan independence
Taiwan independence is a political movement whose goals are primarily to formally establish the Republic of Taiwan by renaming or replacing the Republic of China , form a Taiwanese national identity, reject unification and One country, two systems with the People's Republic of China and a Chinese...

 and the supporters of Taiwan localization movement, to replace the current Constitution with a document drafted by the Taiwanese constituencies in Taiwan.

The basic four right of people


Chapter 12 is the people's election, depose, formulate, four right of referendum. A great deal of items of electing in detailed regulation of the constitution, the ones that guaranteed to elect are direct, just, disclose; Stipulated that fires at the same time, formulated, the power of the referendum, so as to ensure the civil rights are exercisedded.

Referendums and constitutional reform


One recent controversy involving the constitution is the right to referendum which is mentioned in the Constitution. The constitution states that "The exercise of the rights of initiative
Initiative
In political science, an initiative is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote...

 and referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 shall be prescribed by law", but legislation prescribing the practices had been blocked by the pan-blue coalition
Pan-Blue Coalition
The Pan-Blue Coalition 泛藍聯盟 or Pan-Blue Force is a political alliance in the Republic of China , consisting of the Kuomintang , the People First Party , and the New Party . The name comes from the party colours of the Kuomintang...

 largely out of suspicions that proponents of a referendum law would be used to overturn the ROC Constitution and provide a means to declare Taiwan independence
Taiwan independence
Taiwan independence is a political movement whose goals are primarily to formally establish the Republic of Taiwan by renaming or replacing the Republic of China , form a Taiwanese national identity, reject unification and One country, two systems with the People's Republic of China and a Chinese...

. A referendum law was passed on 27 November 2003 and signed by President
President of the Republic of China
The President of the Republic of China is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China . The Republic of China was founded on January 1, 1912, to govern all of China...

 Chen Shui-bian
Chen Shui-bian
Chen Shui-bian is a former Taiwanese politician who was the 10th and 11th-term President of the Republic of China from 2000 to 2008. Chen, whose Democratic Progressive Party has traditionally been supportive of Taiwan independence, ended more than fifty years of Kuomintang rule in Taiwan...

 on 31 December 2003, but the law sets high standards for referendums such as the requirement that they can only be called by the President in times of imminent attack.

In 2003, President Chen Shui-bian proposed holding a referendum in 2006 for implementing an entirely new constitution on May 20, 2008 to coincide with the inauguration of the 12th-term president of the ROC. Proponents of such a move, namely the Pan-Green Coalition
Pan-Green Coalition
The Pan-Green Coalition or Pan-Green Camp, is an informal political alliance of the Republic of China, commonly known as "Taiwan", consisting of the Democratic Progressive Party , Taiwan Solidarity Union , and the minor Taiwan Independence Party...

, argue that the current Constitution endorses a specific ideology (i.e., the Three Principles of the People
Three Principles of the People
The Three Principles of the People, also translated as Three People's Principles, or collectively San-min Doctrine, is a political philosophy developed by Sun Yat-sen as part of a philosophy to make China a free, prosperous, and powerful nation...

), which is only appropriate for Communist state
Communist state
A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

s; in addition, they argue that a more "efficient" government is needed to cope with changing realities. Some proponents support replacing the five-branch structure outlined by the Three Principles of the People with a three-branch government. Others cite the current deadlock between the executive and legislative branches and support replacing the presidential system
Presidential system
A presidential system is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides separately from the legislature, to which it is not responsible and which cannot, in normal circumstances, dismiss it....

 with a parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

. Furthermore, the current Constitution explicitly states before the amendments implemented on Taiwan, "To meet the requisites of the nation prior to national unification...", in direct opposition to the pan-green position that Taiwan must remain separated from the mainland. In response, the pan-blue coalition
Pan-Blue Coalition
The Pan-Blue Coalition 泛藍聯盟 or Pan-Blue Force is a political alliance in the Republic of China , consisting of the Kuomintang , the People First Party , and the New Party . The name comes from the party colours of the Kuomintang...

 dropped its opposition to non-constitutional referendums and offered to consider through going constitutional reforms.

The proposal to implement an entirely new constitution met with strong opposition from the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 and great unease from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, both of which feared the proposal to rewrite the constitution to be a veiled effort to achieve Taiwan independence, as it would sever a legal link to mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

, and to circumvent Chen's original Four Noes and One Without
Four Noes and One Without
The Four Noes and One Without , also known as the Four Noes was a pledge by former President of the Republic of China Chen Shui-bian made in his inauguration speech on 20 May 2000 concerning the political status of Taiwan...

 pledge. In December 2003, the United States announced its opposition to any referendum that would tend to move Taiwan toward independence, a statement that was widely seen as being directed at Chen's constitutional proposals.

In response, the Pan-Blue Coalition
Pan-Blue Coalition
The Pan-Blue Coalition 泛藍聯盟 or Pan-Blue Force is a political alliance in the Republic of China , consisting of the Kuomintang , the People First Party , and the New Party . The name comes from the party colours of the Kuomintang...

 attempted to argue that a new constitution and constitutional referendums were unnecessary and that the inefficiencies in the ROC Constitution could be approved through the normal legislative process.

In his May 20, 2004 inaugural address, Chen called for a "Constitutional Reform Committee" to be formed by "members of the ruling party and the opposition parties, as well as legal experts, academic scholars and representatives from all fields and spanning all social classes" to decide on the proper reforms. He promised that the new Constitution would not change the issue of sovereignty and territory. This proposal went nowhere due to lack of cooperation from the opposition Pan-Blue.

The current President Ma Ying-jeou
Ma Ying-jeou
Ma Ying-jeou is the 12th term and current President of the Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan, and the Chairman of the Kuomintang Party, also known as the Chinese Nationalist Party. He formerly served as Justice Minister from 1993 to 1996, Mayor of Taipei from 1998 to 2006, and Chairman...

 has stated that constitutional reform is not a priority for his government.

See also



  • Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China
    Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China
    After the victory in Xinhai Revolution, the Nanjing Provisional Government of the Republic of China, led by Sun Yat-sen, framed the Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China , which was an outline of basic regulations with the qualities of a formal constitution.On March 11, 1912, it...

  • History of the Republic of China
    History of the Republic of China
    The History of the Republic of China begins after the Qing Dynasty in 1912, when the formation of the Republic of China put an end to over two thousand years of Imperial rule. The Qing Dynasty, also known as the Manchu Dynasty, ruled from 1644 to 1912...

  • Politics of the Republic of China
    Politics of the Republic of China
    The politics of the Republic of China ,takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President is head of state and the premier is head of government, and of a dominant party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative...

  • Kuomintang
    Kuomintang
    The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...


External links