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 (
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.
Taiwan is not an orphan nation in need of someone to adopt it. Taiwan is not a foundling nation wandering the streets of the world looking for a home. It is not even a poor waif of a nation unable to take care of itself in that same big, bad world. Finally, Taiwan is certainly not terra nullius, a nationless land that is open and waiting to be explored and possessed by those who dare. Taiwan is a mid-sized, democratic nation that by GDP, profitability, location and even microchip production punches far above its weight in its region and in international commerce.
When analyzing Taiwan-China tensions, most people assume that the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) consists of rational actors. Embedded within this belief are three further suppositions: First, Beijing would only launch an attack on Taiwan if it were in China’s national interest; second, it would only attack if the odds were overwhelmingly in its favor; and third, Chinese decisionmakers interpret information objectively and through the same lens as other actors. These assumptions have underpinned recent analyses — including by Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) — concluding that there is no
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