President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) often says the Republic of China (ROC) is a sovereign state, and that its sovereignty extends to all China. When dealing with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), however, he does not require that it recognize the ROC as such. This nonsense has made Taiwan a laughing stock to China’s 1.4 billion people.
Hearing Ma’s claims, we want to ask him what the ROC really is. It is not a UN member, nor is it recognized by any major country. Ma claims that the territory of the PRC — a UN member — falls within the ROC’s borders. If we follow this ridiculous claim, the world’s textbooks on international law would all have to be rewritten.
On the 20th anniversary of the Straits Exchange Foundation on March 9, Ma again pushed his so-called “mutual non-denial” principle, that is, not recognizing each other’s sovereignty, but neither denying the other’s existence. This is ridiculous to say the least. The PRC is recognized as a sovereign state by the international community and that will not change just because Ma and his administration does not recognize it. Moreover, saying that the ROC — which is not recognized by any major world power — and the PRC belong to “one China” without requiring that Beijing recognize the ROC’s sovereignty is actually a denial that the ROC is a sovereign state.
Since taking office in 2008, Ma has been negotiating with China based on the so-called “1992 consensus,” while urging Taiwanese to adhere to the ROC Constitution. This kind of political thinking and discourse aims to forcibly include Taiwan — which has nothing to do with China — into the “one China” framework.
Ma’s remarks about the civil war between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and about being descendants of the Yellow Emperor are expressions of the greater China ideology he uses to deceive Taiwanese in an attempt to place Taiwan under the ROC’s jurisdiction and declare that Taiwan is part of China. As for China, it will never recognize the ROC as a sovereign state, yet continues to allow Ma to promote his ROC ideology to string the Taiwanese public along in hopes that it will pave the way for the future annexation of Taiwan.
Let’s look at the KMT-CCP civil war. The civil war between the two Chinese parties ended in 1949 when Mao Zedong (毛澤東) defeated Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and established the PRC. The loser, Chiang, led his battered troops to exile in Taiwan and soon announced that he would resume the post of ROC president, from which he had resigned in early 1949. Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu then became Chiang’s base for retaking China, while Taiwanese conscripts shed blood, sweat and tears to achieve that fairy tale.
In reality, however, neither Taiwan nor Penghu belongs to the ROC. When the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect in 1952, Chiang’s troops should have withdrawn from those two places within 90 days, and Taiwan should have been returned to Taiwanese. However, Chiang and the ROC stayed on and today Ma is using the ROC Constitution to fool the Taiwanese public.
Based on history and jurisprudence, if the ROC still exists after Chiang’s defeat in the civil war, its only territories are Kinmen and Matsu. If Ma were to reach a “one China” consensus between the ROC and the PRC on Kinmen and Matsu, and without involving Taiwan and Penghu, then that would really be an internal Chinese affair. However, Ma includes both Taiwan and Penghu — which do not belong to the ROC — in his “one China,” and in doing so, he is violating the sovereignty of the people of Taiwan and Penghu. The fact is when the ROC Constitution was promulgated, Taiwan and Penghu were still Japanese territory. As such, it cannot be imposed on Taiwan’s 23 million people.
For historical reasons, Taiwan has had no choice but to adopt the ROC Constitution. However, constitutional amendments and additional articles over the past dozen years or so have highlighted Taiwan’s status as a sovereign state, that neither the ROC nor the PRC has any jurisdiction over the other, and that the ROC is moving through a democratization process toward becoming a normal country. The spirit contained therein represents the constitutional will of 23 million Taiwanese.
Ma, however, is attempting to reverse this view that sovereignty rests with the people and directing it toward his goal of “eventual unification.” He is constantly thinking about a greater China that no longer exists. The sovereign state made up of 23 million Taiwanese is nothing but a small piece in this big future vision of a “one China.”
To achieve this, Ma has distorted the principle that sovereignty rests with the people by refusing to allow Taiwanese to decide Taiwan’s future. On March 9, he offered an interpretation of the democracy of his cross-strait policies, when he said that, “the government must keep the negotiation process as open and transparent as possible without affecting the conduct of talks.”
In other words, KMT-CCP talks are more important than the public’s right to know. This anti-democratic attitude makes it abundantly clear whether he is focusing on Taiwan or on China. The most frightening thing is that Ma wants to sell out not only the defenders of Taiwan’s sovereignty, but also the defenders of the ROC. By accepting that China does not recognize the ROC’s sovereignty, he has disqualified himself as the head of state and no longer has the right to represent the ROC.
TRANSLATED BY EDDY CHANG
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