Sunflowers uphold dignity
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) president and chief executive John Hamre chaired a video conference with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) at the Presidential Office on Wednesday last week, one day before the 35th anniversary of the Taiwan Relation Act. Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law program director Kharis Templeman hosted a panel discussion with Thomas Fingar and Larry Diamond later that day at Stanford University.
Similar meetings were also held by other think tanks. All these meetings were cosponsored by local Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices. Of course, Taiwanese taxpayers paid for them, but the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Republic of China (ROC) got credit.
The Stanford conference invitation came amid the occupation of the Legislative Yuan by students opposed to the cross-strait service trade agreement. Many Bay Area Taiwanese-Americans participated. The meeting started with a video of Ma’s presentation to CSIS followed by Thomas, Larry and Kharis’ comments, then opened to the floor for questions.
“On Dec. 1, 1943, the United States, United Kingdom and Republic of China issued the historic Cairo Declaration, in which they demanded that Japan restore all territories stolen from the Chinese such as Manchuria, Taiwan, and the Pescadores to the Republic of China. This position was reconfirmed in the Potsdam Proclamation on July 26, 1945, and realized 38 days later with the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on Sept. 2. We truly appreciate America’s vital military and diplomatic role during this period in helping the Republic of China recover sovereignty over Taiwan,” Ma said.
Ma’s remarks were odd. We have to question his knowledge of history, international law and the treaties. Yes, there was a Cairo Conference at which then-US president Roosevelt, then-British prime minister Winston Churchill and Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) met on Nov. 27, 1943, but none of them were sill in Cairo on Dec. 1, nor did anyone sign the so-called Cairo Declaration.
Only Article 8 of the Potsdam Declaration limited Japan’s territory and it was merely a proposal in a series of discussions on the future surrender of Japan. The final settlement was the San Francisco Peace Treaty.
Under Article 10 of the treaty, “Japan renounces all special rights and interests in China, including all benefits and privileges resulting from the provisions of the final Protocol signed at Peking on 7 September 1901.”
However, Japan did not steal Taiwan; it was ceded by the Qing emperor in the Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1895.
The US Taiwan Relation Act Section 15, Article 2 refers to “the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the ROC prior to January 1, 1979, and any successor governing authorities [including political subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities thereof].”
On Aug. 30, 2007, former White House National Security Council senior director Dennis Wilder said: “Taiwan, or the ROC, is not at this point a state in the international community.”
On April 7, 2009, US Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown said: “During this time, people on Taiwan have lived without any uniformly recognized government.”
So US official policy does not recognize the ROC. Ma’s administration is only one of the Taiwan governing authorities. It is very interesting that Stanford professor Larry Diamond ignored the TRA and recognized the ROC. He did not blame the government for the bloody crackdown at the Executive Yuan, but instead he said the Sunflower movement had broken the law by occupying the Legislative Yuan. The audience asked him who violated the law first and whether the US Congress could pass a bill in 30 seconds without any debate or review? Where are the checks and balances?