Wed, Jul 20, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Declining the offer

By Chen Ching-chih

Having been bothered by A. M. Cambronne's groundless accusations against me, I forwarded my essay ("Taiwan belongs to the Taiwanese," July 7, page 8) and Cambronne's response to the "anonymous American professor" I referred to in my piece.

The person wrote back, "I do not know what language Cambronne speaks, but it must not be English since he clearly misinterprets your comments on the `anonymous American professor.' Incidentally, I guess I had better remain anonymous."

Clearly, I did not denounce my colleague in my original writing. What must be crystal clear to readers is that I did denounce the Chinese Communist government for brainwashing its people. Unfortunately, Cambronne chose to ignore that part. Why?

Like me, Cambronne has the right to interpret the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty. I'll not comment any further. Readers can also read the opinion piece jointly-written by Roger Lin and Richard Hartzell ("Recover Taiwan's post-war position," July 15, page 8.) Lin and Hartzell argued for US sovereignty over Taiwan. Readers can decide for themselves which version of the three interpretations they prefer.

Finally, I question Cambronne's sincerity when he wrote, "While I would highly espouse Taiwanese autonomy, you cannot point to documents such as the San Francisco Peace Treaty, the Treaty of Peace with Japan nor Article 77 B of the UN Charter for a resolution of the matter. When you misinterpret a legal document, you set a dangerous precedent for further abuse and misinterpretation of Taiwan's legal documents."

Are the Taiwanese supposed to thank him for that offer? Under China's system, there are a small number of autonomous regions, including Tibet and Xinjiang. In addition, Hong Kong and Macau are defined as Special Administrative Regions.

Informed readers know well that Tibetans and Xinjiang Uighurs are not happy under the Chinese rule, while the people of Hong Kong and Macau are not better off today under Beijing's rule than when they were under British or Portuguese rule.

In any case, the overwhelming majority of the people of Taiwan have rejected Beijing's "one country, two systems" principle under which Hong Kong and Macau are governed. The reality is Taiwan has acted like a sovereign nation and all its representatives, including the president, are directly elected by the voters. Cambronne surely knows that "autonomy" is far from "independence."

What then makes Cambronne think that the freedom-loving Taiwanese people would be appreciative of his meaningless gesture of support?

Chen Ching-chih

San Marcos, California

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