[JURIST] The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) [official website], Taiwan's ruling political party, has opened debate on the drafting of a new constitution, a move promised [JURIST report] by President Chen Shui-bian [official profile] earlier this year. The current constitution [text], drafted by the Kuomintang party of China in 1947, has been amended seven times and was written 2 years before Taiwan split from China in 1949 after the Communist takeover of the mainland. Chen has said that he wants the new constitution to better reflect the current state of Taiwan.
Many Taiwanese citizens oppose a new constitution because it may anger China, which insists that Taiwan remains a part of its territory [Chinese government materials on Taiwan] and has maintained that any declaration of independence by the island would result in a military response [People's Daily report]. Opponents also claim that drafting a new constitution is simply a way to gain support from pro-independence groups. AFP has more.