Monday, April 10, 2017

How the outbreak of Korean War affected Taiwan

Shift of strategic direction of United States following Korean War

I have been wondering why Taiwan wasn't returned to China as promised in the Cairo Declaration. It turned out that outbreak of Korean War was the turning point for America's shift of international order for East Asia, after going through relevant evidences.

After losing the Chinese Civil War to the Communists, the Chinese Nationalists fled to Taiwan. The United States, having lost confidence in the Chinese Nationalist regime, pursued a policy of not intervening in civil wars. The Chinese Communists were prepared to cross the Taiwan Strait to defeat the Chinese Nationalists completely.

The outbreak of Korean War in June 1950 prompted the United States under President Harry S. Truman to dispatch Seventh Fleet to the Taiwan Strait so as to prevent hostilities between the Chinese Nationalists and Communists, while war was ongoing at the Korean Peninsula. Notwithstanding Chiang Kai Shek spared from Communist attack, the dispatch of Seventh Fleet threatened strategic interests of the nascent People’s Republic of China.

The shift in US strategic direction for East Asia is reflected in the change of territorial clause in a draft of Treaty of Peace with Japan released on 8/5/1950. In the draft, it was stipulated that Japan renounce Taiwan without naming a recipient country.

The People’s Republic of China, through Premier Zhou Enlai, filed a protest at the United Nations on 24/8/1950, claiming that the United States was invading the Chinese territory of Taiwan with the Seventh Fleet. This motion was tabled in the Security Council on 29/9/1950. All members of the Security Council, except USSR and India, voted against the motion. The Chinese government-in-exile, by voting against the motion, denied that Taiwan is sovereign Chinese territory. The vote also spared the question of Chinese seat to be resolved immediately, against a backdrop of containing Communism.

Resolution of the Security Council was a bitter defeat for the Chinese Communist Party. Having no formidable navy, their nascent regime was at the mercy of United States.

The Communists, up to 1947 still supported Taiwan independence; changed their direction after 1950 to opposing Taiwan independence and claiming Taiwan as Chinese territory.

People’s Republic of China intervened in the Korean War on 25 October 1950.

Taiwan, originally planned to be returned to China, was not returned to China in the Treaty of Peace with Japan concluded 1951. Similarly Kuril and South Sakhalin were not returned to the USSR de jure. The peace treaty provides a basis to argue for Taiwanese independence in the future, while also providing a room for future unification with China. The treaty reaffirms the status of United States as principal occupying power. By law, Taiwan came under friendly occupation of the United States after the Treaty took effect.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The truth about Taiwan Retrocession Day

Was Taiwan returned to Chinese sovereignty on 25 October 1945?

In order for us to know the significance of the so-called "Taiwan Retrocession Day" it is paramount for us to understand the basis of Republic of China's authority on Taiwan.

First, we must establish that Taiwan was ceded in full and perpetuity to Japan under the terms of Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895.

On 2 September 1945, Japanese forces surrendered to the Allied Powers. The Japanese Government issued a document called Instrument of Surrender, while the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers issued the terms of surrender called General Order No. 1. Under the terms of General Order No. 1, Japanese forces in Taiwan and Penghu surrender themselves to Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek.

On 25 October 1945, Japanese forces in Taiwan surrendered to the Allied Powers in a ceremony. Surrender of the Japanese paved the way for military occupation by Chiang Kai Shek's forces. Authority of Chiang came from General Order No. 1. The basis for Chiang's governance is military occupation. As a rule, military occupation does not transfer territorial sovereignty to the occupying State.

Did any of the Allied Powers recognize transfer of sovereignty for Taiwan, from Japan to China on 25 October 1945? The answer is NO.

On 12 January 1946, the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China issued an order to restore Chinese nationality to the Taiwanese population on and effective from 25 October 1945. This led to diplomatic protests by the United States and United Kingdom. In diplomatic memorandums sent to the Republic of China, both US and UK insisted that transfer of Taiwan's sovereignty be formalized in a treaty of cession with Japan.

Pro-unification camps argued that the Cairo, Postdam and Yalta Declarations could restore Taiwan back to China. Common sense tells us that declarations are statements of intentions which do not carry the force of law. The diplomatic protests are solid evidence that US and UK did not recognize those declarations as having the force of law. Those documents cannot be cited as the basis for return of Taiwan to China. Instead, only a treaty can settle territorial questions.

What's wrong with changing the nationality of Taiwanese population? Firstly, China altered the nationality of Taiwanese people without first obtaining documentary evidence of sovereignty. Secondly, it is a violation of Article 45 of Hague Conventions governing wars on land, since China could only be recognized as occupying power over Taiwan.

25 October 1945 was the day when Taiwan came under Chinese [military] occupation. It can only be called Taiwan Occupation Day.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Taiwanese are Chinese? A US memorandum dated 1946 raised concern

An issue pertaining to the Taiwan question is the nationality and citizenship of the Taiwanese population. The question of nationality and citizenship is a matter of law, not racial identity per se. At some point in time, citizenship can be altered without the consent of the population involved, without due consideration to law. Since when Taiwanese people have become Chinese citizens?

It is to my knowledge that the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China issued an executive order on 12 January 1946 to restore Chinese nationality to the Taiwanese population effective 25 October 1945, the day when China "regained" Taiwan. The executive order was issued without prior consultation with other Allied Powers.

The sovereignty of Taiwan was transferred to Japan on the conclusion of Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895.

25 October 1945 is termed "Taiwan Retrocession Day" by the Nationalist Government of the Republic of China. This term is disputed today because de jure sovereignty of Taiwan was not restored to China, since a peace treaty between China and Japan has yet to be concluded. According to British Parliamentarians, the Nationalist Government was merely administering Taiwan on the basis of military occupation based on Japanese Instrument of Surrender and General Order No. 1 issued by Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. 25 October 1945 can only be accurately named "Taiwan Occupation Day".

On the act of converting the nationality of Taiwanese population to China, a memorandum was sent by the Military Intelligence Section of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers to Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China, dated 2 April 1946. It raised a few questions:
  • That the Chinese government to express its views in regard to these individuals:
    1. Individuals of mixed parentage such as Chinese-Taiwanese, Japanese-Taiwanese and Chinese-Japanese.
    2. Taiwanese people who have established residence in Japan and collaborating with Japanese war effort.
    3. People born in Taiwan but elected to remain in Japan rather than being repatriated to Taiwan.
  • On whether there are laws of the Republic of China governing the citizenship of native and former residents of Taiwan.
  • The unnecessary restriction on the use of the term "Taiwanese" to refer to the Taiwanese population.

Excerpt from Foreign Relations of the United States, 1946, Volume VIII, The Far East, p. 187-188

Why is nationality of Taiwnese people a matter of concern?

Since the British Parliamentarians contended that the regime of Chiang Kai Shek was exercising authority on the basis of military occupation, the law of military occupation applies. The law of military occupation is governed by Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, in which China is a signatory.

The situation in Taiwan after 1945 was that the Republic of China as the occupying power and Taiwan as an occupied territory. Japan remained the de jure sovereign, but with her governmental powers suspended. It has to be noted that the Republic of China was not acting by herself, but as part of the Allies, as an agent of the United States as principal occupying power. The return of Taiwan to China requires a treaty of cession be concluded between the two countries.

The Hague Conventions prohibits that the allegiance of the population in an occupied territory be altered to that of a hostile power. Republic of China was considered a hostile power for Taiwan during the period of World War II, due to the fact that Taiwan was Japanese sovereign territory. Legally, people of Taiwan remain Japanese subjects from 1895 up to 1952. The conversion of nationality of the Taiwanese population to China is a violation of Hague Convention and constitute a war crime.

Moreover, the Executive Order contravened nationality laws of the Republic of China at that time, which was promulgated in 1929.

The Nationalist Government of China continued to impose Chinese nationality on Taiwanese people unlawfully throughout the martial law era. With the rise of Mainland China and the Chinese claim on Taiwan, it is tough to address the question of legitimate nationality for the Taiwanese population. The imposed nationality also poses much problems for Taiwanese people over Republic of China passports, at immigration checkpoints overseas.

Notwithstanding that the Republic of China has lost the Chinese mainland, the nature of its governance in Taiwan has not changed since 1945. By law, Taiwan remains an occupied territory of the Republic of China.

I am a Chinese by ethnicity, no doubt. The Chinese people is considered a nation. As a nation, we are not entitled to commit acts to suit the national narrative, but contravene existing laws. As much as we desire an outcome, the process to achieve it must be done according to law. Only then the Chinese nation will be respected.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Going deep in Treaty of San Francisco

I have been pondering about the Treaty of San Francisco for a very long time, primarily because of its connection with the Taiwan Question. The Treaty of San Francisco is the peace treaty signed with Japan to end the Pacific War.

In order to understand a treaty, we must understand how law works. The workings of law flow from established principles. Importantly, to understand a peace treaty, one must first know about laws of war. Peace treaties must be read with a military mindset to arrive at accurate interpretations.

Article 2 of the treaty remain one of the most difficult to interpret, because it involved territorial detachment from Japan without naming new sovereigns. I have spent much time trying to figure this out, and finally I did. Those who know about interpreting treaties do not simply reveal this knowledge.

As I continue my journey in learning about the treaty, some interesting things do come up. These are loopholes indeed!

Article 23 - The United States of America as principal occupying power.

During Allied occupation of Japan, the United States acting as the principal occupying power is fact. Military occupation was divided among the Allied Powers, namely United States, China, Soviet Union and Britain. As the United States was the principal, the others were agents acting on behalf of the principal. The statement of United States as principal occupying power is merely a restatement of fact in the treaty, not an elevation of the status of United States to give it more power. Principal occupying power over what is not stated, but it should be interpreted as "over Japan and former sovereign Japanese territories". As territories renounced by Japan remain under Allied occupation, it gives the United States the legal basis to involve itself in Taiwanese affairs.

Article 25 - Allied Powers are not only the nations conducting military occupation in Japan, but also includes other countries at war with Japan and signed the Treaty of San Francisco. Allied Power signatories can be considered occupying power over Japan

Article 25 of the Treaty reads: "For the purposes of the present Treaty the Allied Powers shall be the States at war with Japan, or any State which previously formed a part of the territory of a State named in Article 23, provided that in each case the State concerned has signed and ratified the Treaty. ...."

Japan was under military occupation of the Allies and not United States, China, Soviet Union and Britain acting on behalf of themselves. Each occupying power act as part of a military alliance. But, for the purpose of the treaty, any country that signed and ratified the Treaty of San Francisco is considered an Allied Power. The treaty binds all signatories by law as Allied Powers. Therefore, all the other signatories can be considered occupying powers over Japanese territories. According to the laws of war, because military occupation continues in territorial cessions and detachments after peace treaty and will continue until legal supplantation, Article 25 grants all Allied Power signatories the privileges of being occupying power over former Japanese territories. This can be interpreted to give benefit for Taiwan, as the resolution of the Taiwan Question shall come under scrutiny of the signatories. It is principle that the resolution of the Taiwan Question shall have the assent of the people of Taiwan.

China did not sign the treaty. As a result, China received no benefit from the treaty, except those outlined in the treaty texts. The same goes for Soviet Union. It is obvious that China does not gain sovereign right over Taiwan from the treaty. What more, since China did not sign as an Allied Power signatory, China does not hold the right over Taiwan as occupying power. The Treaty puts China as having no right over Taiwan by law. The Treaty of Taipei, an extension of the Treaty of San Francisco, recognised Chinese right of jurisdiction over Taiwan but not sovereignty. But the basis for right of jurisdiction is lost when Japan denounced the Treaty of Taipei later.

The US resorted to shutting China out of the Treaty of San Francisco as a Cold War containment strategy. That puts China on the opposing side with the Allies over resolution of the Taiwan Question.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

关于台湾国族认同问题 - 回应刘乐妍

Taiwanese entertainer Fanny Liew wrote a piece about identity politics in Taiwan. She contended that Taiwanese and Chinese identity should not be at odds with each other. Her family fled to Taiwan with the Chinese Nationalist (KMT) regime to Taiwan at the conclusion of Chinese Civil War. I showed that her viewpoint is limited by her family background, and the island of Taiwan speaks a different narrative than hers.

There are currently three types of identities held by the population in Taiwan: Purely Taiwanese, both Taiwanese and Chinese, and purely Chinese. Each of these types of identification are characteristically distinct from each other, as it turned out from academic research.






1945年10月25日,台湾重回中国的统治。中华民国宣称,台湾被 ”光复” 了,可是实际的性质,普通人都没搞清楚。须知,今日的国际法规定,拥有领土的实际统治不意味着拥有领土的法定主权。没有法定主权,又怎么有领土的实际统治呢?我知有两种方式,一是租借,二是军事占领。当时的中国接管台湾,是代表盟军进行军事占领,而台湾的主权并没有转移到中国那里。台湾的主权转移有待与日本签订和平条约,方才有效。

当时的本省人还有效的持有日本国籍。蒋介石派了国军统治台湾。受过日本教育的本省人当年对国军的印象如何?国军就是不守纪律的流氓!国民党随意印刷钞票,导致恶性通货膨胀,又加上台湾物资拿去资助国共内战,民不聊生。很不幸的,1947年爆发了228屠杀事件,有人死在 ”祖国“ 枪下,台湾对中国的幻想破灭了。

盟军还没解决台湾的归属,国民党就不敌共产党,逃到了台湾,成了个流亡政权。怎么说是流亡政权呢?就是政权的所在地不是它的主权领土。有人听了这话可能不高兴,但这可是国际法学说,外交人员的眼中,中华民国的真正国际地位。蒋介石曾沉痛地说道:“我们(中华民国人 / 外省人)今天都已成了亡国之民,……”






由此可见,国家认同取决于各种客观的因素,包括历史和社会环境,并不是一张证件就足以定论的。各不同的历史记忆,不同世代的环境,也不断地重塑着身份的认同。国家认同,不只停留在一面旗帜,或是名词,它更体现着一套价值观,一套生活哲学。国家认同,对我作为外国人而言,是给予您定位的名字。我不反对您说 ”我是中国人“ 以反映您对中国的情结,可当别人说出单一的 “我是台湾人” 时,他不只说出对土地的认同,更要表达台湾有别于中国的历史经历。

Saturday, February 18, 2017

What's up with Taiwan? Resolution 2758 and Taiwan Retrocession Explained

I came across this interesting video of Taiwanese parliamentary debate. Over the issue of history syllabus to be implemented in Taiwan, legislator from Democratic Progressive Party Kuan Bi-ling posed questions to Taiwanese education minister Wu Si-hua. The debate took place on 3 March 2015.

I really like this video because it taught us an important lesson on State succession for China in the United Nations by explaining Resolution 2758 and the true nature of handover of Taiwan after World War 2.

Kuan began with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi's remark of People's Republic of China as the founding member of the United Nations. It caused a stir among ethnic Chinese in Taiwan, because the founding member of the UN was Republic of China. In 1971, Republic of China was replaced with People's Republic of China via Resolution 2758 of the United Nations General Assembly. Kuan mentioned one important keyword in the Resolution, that is "restore". With the Resolution, all rights and privileges of the Chinese seat was restored to the People's Republic of China and unlawful representatives of Chiang Kai Shek expelled from UN.

How can Wang Yi claim that his country founded the United Nations? Kuan said that Wang Yi is right, and ordinary people got it wrong. According to the Resolution, the personality of the ROC is being restored to the PRC. It not only restores the seat, but also restores the PRC to the status of being a founding the UN. In essence, the PRC is being "grafted" to the ROC, thus confirming the sovereignty of the ROC is being succeeded by the PRC. In terms of the United Nations, the Republic of China is the People's Republic of China and vice versa.

The next point of contention raised by Kuan is "Retrocession of Taiwan to Republic of China", intended to be taught in [Taiwanese] schools. This raised serious problems about factual accuracy.

On 25 October 1945, Chiang Kai Shek took over the administration of Taiwan from Japan. In reality, Chiang was conducting military occupation of Taiwan on behalf of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, and the Republic of China has yet to legally obtain sovereignty over Taiwan. Chiang told the truth to one of his subordinate, Chen Cheng about the true nature of his governance in Taiwan, that it was a trusteeship. An important principle in international law is that military occupation does not transfer sovereignty.

Kuan gave us very interesting discussion questions. Who was the founding member of the UN? Which country took over Taiwan from Japan through "retrocession"? The answers are the same, that is Republic of China, pointing to the same sovereign body. And since the ROC has been succeeded by the PRC, sovereignty over Taiwan is carried over to the PRC. Also given that ROC and the PRC refers to the same country, Wang Yi is right in the sense to refer ROC as his country.

Kuan pointed out about the factual inaccuracy of takeover of Taiwan. She objected that takeover of Taiwan was not depicted as "military occupation on behalf of the Allies" but rather "retrocession of Taiwan to the Republic of China" in history syllabus. That is to say, there was no transfer of sovereignty of Taiwan on 25 October 1945, but schoolchildren are being misled into believing that sovereignty of Taiwan went back to China.

Why has Kuan taken sovereignty of Taiwan very seriously? Any question of sovereignty is no joke because it concerns national security. If one accepts the notion that Taiwanese sovereignty was reverted to Republic of China, and given that ROC has been succeeded by the PRC, Taiwan will inevitably be part of the PRC. This gives a foothold for authoritarian China to lay claim on Taiwan.

Clearly, she understands that Taiwanese people do not want their hard earned democratic system to be compromised by China due to false description about sovereignty for Taiwan. It becomes important to deny that China has de jure sovereignty over Taiwan, and accurately describe that Chiang was conducting military occupation as an Allied Commander, or that Republic of China was merely an occupying power over Taiwan.

The Minister of Education responded that the country is founded upon the foundation of The Constitution of the Republic of China and Additional Articles to the Constitution. The DPP legislator immediately rebuked the minister for "not facing the truth".

What is the problem with the Minister's statement? Because we are not lawyers, we only have superficial understanding of Constitutions. Most of us only understand that our Constitution(s) represents our countries, but are ignorant about one important principles of law.

Constitutions are not merely written documents that has power in their own right. For a Constitution to have a life of its own, it must be supported by the power of the people. This principle is what we called constituent power. After all, the people constitute the law, hence the supreme law is called constitution. With the constituent power, comes the power to amend the Constitution.

The Constitution of the Republic of China is drafted to be implemented in Mainland China. With the defeat and relocation of Republic of China to Taiwan, what happened to the Constitution?

Words of the Constitution can be preserved, but the ROC Constitution is now dead. Because, the people have used their constituent power to overthrow the ROC Constitution and created the PRC Constitution as the new law for China. People of Taiwan were subjected to Japanese sovereignty, did not take part in drafting the ROC Constitution and hence have no constituent power for the law. Scholars who went into exile with Chiang Kai Shek told their government: Not a single word of the Constitution can be changed. In principle, since the constituent power has been lost, the Constitution cannot be cited to give legitimacy.

The ROC promulgated an executive order on 12 January 1946 to revert citizenship of Taiwanese inhabitants to Chinese. Since China was only an occupying power without sovereignty over Taiwan, such a conversion of citizenship constitute a war crime, and also in violation of nationality laws of the ROC at that time. One can figure that sovereignty of Taiwan remained with Japan from 1945 through to 1952, when the Treaty of San Francisco came into force.

The minister was ignorant about the fact that Taiwan is not included in the territory defined in the ROC Constitution. Implementing the ROC Constitution outside the sovereignty of China does not give the document a new life. The Additional Articles, although serving the purpose to govern Taiwan as a government-in-exile, are in fact unauthorized insertions done by people holding no constituent power. Without power that comes from the rightful people, the ROC Constitution is only a zombie.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Vivian Hsu 徐若瑄 tearfully responded to China-Taiwan spat at Tokyo Film Festival 2010

It seems that China is not sparing entertainment from its enforcement of One China Principle and “both sides of the Taiwan Strait belongs to One China”, leading to a spat between Chinese and Taiwanese delegations at Tokyo Film Festival.

At the Tokyo Film Festival, the Chinese delegation demanded that the Taiwanese delegation to register at the film festival under the name “Taiwan, China” and that Taiwan enter the red carpet as part of the Chinese delegation. The demand was presented at the last minute of the event. Of course, this was refused by the Taiwanese delegation.

In response, the head of Chinese delegation taunted rudely.

As the matter could not be resolved, the organiser decided to bar both delegations from attending the red carpet. In the press conference that followed, Vivian Hsu tearfully declared that “I am Taiwanese and not a Chinese.”

China regained governance of Taiwan from Japan after World War II, followed by a civil war that led the retreat of Chinese Nationalists to Taiwan in 1949. The peace treaty with Japan concluded in 1951 did not hand Taiwan to any country. Democratisation instituted by Taiwanese President Lee Teng Hui led to distinct social and political environment on the self-governed island, leading to the evolution of separate national identities on China and Taiwan. Separate identities is further consolidated as China rises as a global power.

People’s Republic of China has insisted on the One China Principle for diplomatic relations and opposes policies that lead to separate Chinese and Taiwanese identities, such as “One China, One Taiwan” and “Taiwan Independence”.

In Taiwan, people with singular identification of being Taiwanese are on the rise, becoming more prevalent among the younger generation. Dual identification is declining, and singular identification of being Chinese is only a small minority.

Identity politics is going to affect cultural exchanges across the Taiwan Strait. Judging from the incident, it seemed that Beijing is intolerant of identity politics in all dealings with Taiwan.

Do you hear that?
Head of delegation: The Chinese delegation is the sole representative of China in the film festival. The Taiwan delegation is part of the Chinese delegation.

We can see shitty attitude of the female interpreter from Mainland China:

Female interpreter: You are Taiwan, China!
Head of Taiwan delegation: I am not.
Female interpreter: Are you Chinese?
Head of Taiwan delegation: I am Taiwanese.
Female interpreter: You are a Chinese!
Head of Taiwan delegation: There is no need for this. Don't force me to give in with your mob!

This is how Taiwan Affairs Office of Mainland China responded to the Tokyo Film Festival spat:

Spokesman: The spat may have been caused by lack of communication between two sides. Both sides should refrain from unnecessary conflicts in international settings.

The Taiwan Affairs Office dared not criticise Chinese citizens. Really? It was Mainland China who provoked the Taiwan delegation. The blame should be on the Chinese delegation.

Friday, January 13, 2017

What is the difference between Taiwan and Republic of China?

Scratching on the surface, it seems that the Republic of China equals Taiwan, and the Republic of China currently represents Taiwan. Many people claim that Republic of China is the official name for Taiwan.

The confusion and mixing up of Taiwan and Republic of China continues until this day. Isn't this puzzling considering that Taiwan is calling itself Republic of China? Why isn't Taiwan calling itself with an official name that refers to itself, but a neighbouring country?

There is a bit of history involved in this. I must bring up the matter of Chinese Civil War, because it created the unique scene today. The Republic of China was founded by the Chinese Nationalist Party, and the Chinese Communist Party was formed some time after. War erupted between the Chinese Nationalists and Chinese Communist over the system of government to be implemented in China. The Nationalists wanted a constitutional republic but the Communists wanted to form a socialist republic. The Nationalists lost to the Communists and retreated to Taiwan, relocating their seat of government and bringing all national symbols (flag, official name, national anthem) with them. They rule over Taiwan and creates the impression that Taiwan and Republic of China are no different.

From our first impression, Taiwan equals to the Republic of China, and the Republic of China equals Taiwan. The flag with a sun on a blue sky, on a background of red represents Taiwan. There seems to be nothing wrong. Everything seem to be in their place, as we see from the outside.

But when I ask,
What is the Republic of China?
What is Taiwan?
Many think that both refer to the same thing.

But don't you think there's something wrong here? Does Republic of China refer to Taiwan, or China? Does Taiwan equate to being China?

At this point, most people can tell that Taiwan is not China. But there will be people defending that Republic of China is Taiwan. And insist that using the name "Republic of China" is nothing wrong, since it represents a country.

But when posed with the question,
Why Republic of China cannot join the United Nations? Why Taiwan cannot join the United Nations? 
Most people do not have a clear idea on the matter to answer this question. To answer this pressing question of international dignity, one needs background in international law, at the very least.

And most importantly,
Where does the Republic of China flag, or the so called Taiwanese flag, come from?
What hinders the return of Taiwan to the international community is the confusion between Taiwan and Republic of China. Learned experts are not confused, but the majority of laypeople are not able to differentiate the two names. Under the One China Principle, there can only be one government that represents China. The right to use the name of China, and the right to represent China is currently held by the People's Republic of China.

In order to find a way out for Taiwan, first the names must be precisely and unambiguously defined.

Taiwan Area as defined in the international peace treaties

Taiwan: An island located off the coast of East Asian continent. For a very precise delimitation, the area of Taiwan should be referred as the area ceded to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki and the same area detached from Japan in Treaty of San Francisco. The area of Taiwan includes (i) The island of Taiwan and other small islands associated with it, and (ii) The archipelago of Penghu, that is all islands lying between the 119th and 120th degrees of longitude east of Greenwich and the 23rd and 24th degrees of north latitude.

China: A unified country occupying a large area on the East Asian continent. It was ruled by dynasty over the course of history, and the territory of each dynasty is different. Her sovereign territory includes the Kinmen and Matsu Islands.

Now let us define "Republic of China" and "People's Republic of China". Are both the same?

Territory of the Republic of China upon its founding. Notice Taiwan is not its territory.
Republic of China: The republic in East Asia that was formed in 1911, after the overthrow of Qing Dynasty, ending thousands of years of imperial rule. This is the official name of the Chinese republic from 1911 to 1949. It's territory includes present-day Mongolia, and did not rule Taiwan for most of its time. It became a government-in-exile after the Chinese Nationalists lost the civil war with the Communists, and relocated to Taiwan.

Internationally recognised sovereign territory of People's Republic of China.

People's Republic of China: A socialist republic founded by the Chinese Communists after they defeated the Nationalists in a civil war. The official name of China after 1949.

Republic of China and People's Republic of China actually refers to the same country, that is China! The actual Republic of China is the republic from 1911 to 1949. These are two different eras of China, much like succession of dynasties. In terms of international law, Republic of China is followed by the People's Republic of China with a State succession event.

Taking history into account, Taiwan does not equal to Republic of China! Know how to differentiate between these names is the key to understanding issues like Taiwan independence. Finding a way out of Taiwan's international isolation also requires this knowledge.

A consequence of the Chinese Civil War is the mixing up of the identity of Taiwan and a previous Chinese government. Name rectification is way to go for Taiwan!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

I'm back! Oh no, my blog has gathered a thick layer of dust.

Put a picture of a bunny, because it's cute!

So, what I have been doing for the past year? My attention has mainly been put into studying international law and history of Taiwan and China.

I am still in my PhD project, but I have put much of my energy into looking at the Taiwan issue and writing all my findings up as a book. This is a lot of energy, and a lot of effort. What I have learnt may not have immediate benefit for me, but at least it is useful for later.

It took so much work, there must have been an event that gave me a big push to do it. I have not imagined making this far.

I become aware that international law is the key to understanding international documents. While I am not practicing as an international lawyer, international law is useful for historians to understand documents, especially treaties signed between countries.

In the age of Internet, finding information has never been easier. I don't need to go to a library to read ancient texts. They are now uploaded onto the web. Imagine accessing dynastic records of China on my computer screen and cite them. I always have the convenience of entering a keyword to Google and many things, some rarely seen, can be brought to the light. I have read the lesser known stuff, such as prophecies regarding the future of China. One must be astounded by the perfect fulfillment of prophecies.

What have I been turned into? Should I continue to be a scientist, or a historian?

My friend once remarked to me, I should blog about politics, that I have the potential to make it big with such a topic. Maybe, I have found a good topic to blog about. I have always kept an interest in the culture of East Asia. The relationship between China and Taiwan, or better known as Cross Strait Relation, seem an attractive topic, because I can make use of my proficiency in Chinese.

I have this regret. That I should strive for a person I want to be and not to be dictated by someone else.