Tue, Mar 21, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Independence? Ask the US

By Roger Lin

Gilles Chartrand's letter (Letter, March 18, Page 8) highlights most Westerners' complete ignorance about Taiwan and China. While he notes that "Quebec and Taiwan are both democratic societies," he then adds the curious statement that "They both have a percentage of their citizenry that wants to leave a larger entity."

For Chartrand's information, Taiwan is not a part of China. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on Oct. 1, 1949, that nation has ruled Taiwan for a total of 0 hours, 0 minutes and 0 seconds.

Admittedly, there is much confusion about this aspect, since the government in Taiwan continues to call the country the "Republic of China" (ROC). When the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) accepted the surrender of Japanese troops on Oct. 25, 1945, they declared it "Taiwan Retrocession Day," saying that its territorial sovereignty was given to China on that date.

However, in order for such an interpretation to be true, then US president Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur should have had the authority to transfer the territorial sovereignty of Taiwan to the Chinese nationalists. In fact, they had no such authority.

When Truman and MacArthur drafted General Order No. 1, the only authority they had was to direct Chiang's military forces to come to Taiwan to accept the surrender of Japanese troops. The surrender ceremonies mark the beginning of the military occupation of Taiwan, nothing more nothing less.

Since all military attacks against Taiwan (and indeed against the four main Japanese islands) from 1941 to 1945 were conducted by US military forces, it is clear that the US was the "conqueror." In the military occupation of Taiwan, the US was the principal occupying power. In contrast, the military troops under Chiang were only a subordinate occupying power.

The PRC was founded in the fall of 1949, and high-ranking officials of the ROC government fled to Taiwan to become a government in exile. Hence, even up to the present day, the ROC only has "effective territorial control" over Taiwan, but does not hold Taiwan's territorial sovereignty. That territorial sovereignty is held by the US Military Government.

In summary, if Taiwan wants to be independent, it should be talking to members of the US Congress (who have jurisdiction over Taiwan under the territorial clause of the US Constitution), and not holding street demonstrations against the misguided policies of the PRC, or listening to the ramblings of uninformed political commentators who suggest that Taiwan has a need to clearly establish its separate identity from the PRC.

Roger Lin

Taipei

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