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。
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Saturday, February 18, 2017
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
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.