Revoke Ma’s law degree
Harvard University needs to think about revoking President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) law degree. The man knows there is no basis in international law for his repeated assertion that the Cairo Declaration and subsequent instruments somehow transferred sovereignty of Taiwan to the Republic of China (ROC) (“Ma sees lessons from victory in war of resistance,” Oct. 26, page 1).
In fact, the record is 100 percent clear. Japan was relieved of sovereignty over Taiwan on April 28, 1952, the day that the Allied peace treaty with Japan, the San Francisco Peace Treaty, came into force. Taiwan then entered a state of suspended sovereignty and remains so to this day. The allies did indeed acquiesce in the ROC’s “exercise of authority” over Taiwan from 1945 to 1952, as Ma notes, but at no point during that period was sovereignty transferred away from Japan.
Ma invokes a single statement by former US president Harry Truman in early 1950 to vindicate the ROC’s claim to Taiwan, but he ignores dozens of equally authoritative statements by allied leaders and governments, including other statements by Truman, that directly contradict the ROC line.
The allied position on Taiwan was summarized for the British parliament, in 1955, by then-British Foreign Office junior minister R. H. Turton as: “Formosa[’s] sovereignty was Japanese until 1952. The Japanese Treaty entered into force, and at that time Formosa was being administered by the Chinese Nationalist [Party (KMT)], to whom it was entrusted in 1945, as a military occupation ... This military occupancy could not give [the KMT] legal sovereignty.”
Ma of course knows all this. It is therefore not unreasonable to conclude that he is lying through his teeth, about a matter of law, specifically to deceive the very people that he serves as president.
His law degree has become a disgrace to the university that awarded it.
Driving everyone crazy
As I crossed a tiny crosswalk in a minuscule alley and thought about writing on the moronic driving habits of Taipei motorists, I was forced to jump to the side to avoid a vehicle that made what can only be described as an attempt to inflict mortal harm on my person. The driver was busy texting and must not have seen me well enough to make contact. He was driving a little blue truck, and one must always be on the lookout for little blue trucks. However, I was ready.
Urban streets are always dangerous places, but what is so shocking about Taipei’s roads is how they transform the nicest, friendliest people in the world into barbarians. One almost expects rudeness from a Parisian or a New Yorker; not so from a Taiwanese. How can such wonderful, kind, compassionate people put up with this state of affairs?
There is no need to dwell on the idiotic stunts drivers pull day-in and day-out: ignoring double-yellow lines, no-parking signs, stoplights, courtesy, laws and the dictates of common sense.
To be fair, being rude and lawless pays off. Nice drivers are last — last to cross an intersection, to make a turn and to get where they’re going. Heaven help you if you stop for a pedestrian on a cross-walk; horns will sound and a taxi will swerve around you and ignore the pedestrian you have lured into the street — even the pedestrian will be puzzled by your consideration.