On 6 October 1996, A new pro-independence political party was formally established in Taiwan. The party was named Nation-building Party (NBP) in Taiwanese, and Taiwan Independence Party (TAIP) in English. Its leaders have declared that building an independent Taiwan nation is the primary goal of the party. For Internet-surfers with "Big-5" character capabilities, the new party has information available at their TAIP-site in Taiwan.
The driving force behind the new political party are several leading members of Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP). The most prominent are professors Lin Shan-tien and Li Yung-chih of National Taiwan University, and Prof. Chuang Chi-ming of Tam Kang University. Prof. Lin is the chief spokesman.
Until the end of 1995, these professors were ardent DPP supporters, and were popular and sought-after speakers at DPP election rallies. However, after a series of disappointing vacillations by the present DPP-leadership and a perceived weakening of the DPP's adherence to the founding principle of pursuing Taiwan independence, the university professors, supported by a number social organizations, decided to go ahead and prepare for the formation of a fully pro-independence political party.
The attempts by DPP leaders Shih Ming-teh and Hsu Hsin-liang to play political power games, first by cooperating with the pro-unification New Party and recently with the ruling KMT, has deeply disappointed many of the DPP's core supporters. In December 1995, then-chairman Shih Ming-teh orchestrated a "grand reconciliation" with the pro-unification New Party and aligned himself with the NP in an unsuccessful attempt to run for the presidency of the Legislative Yuan. In the Spring of 1996, in a peculiar zig-zag change of course, the new chairman of the DPP, Mr. Hsu Hsing-liang, offered to join the KMT in forming a coalition government.
These moves were seen by many DPP supporters as an attempt to gain political power at the expense of some of the party's basic principles. In the view of many, it exemplifies the fact that the present DPP-leadership has no longer a clear vision for Taiwan's future. The professors felt the need to form a new political party in order to keep the vision of Taiwan independence a major element in Taiwan's strategy for the future.
On 7 April 2000, a number of key founders quit the TAIP, saying that with Chen Shui-bian's victory in the presidential election, the party has fulfilled its historical mission. Among those leaving was lawyer "Stephen" Lee Sheng-hsiung, a former TAIP secretary-general, former TAIP chairman Lee Chen-yuan, a highly respected medical professional and an Academia Sinica member, and "Ben" Wei Jui-min, also a former secretary-general.
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Last modified: 8 April 2000