Wed, Jan 06, 2016 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan was never part of China

By Bruce Jacobs

Third, both regimes relied on oppression for about 25 years. Under the Chiangs, the period of oppression became to be known as the White Terror era.

Fourth, owing to international and domestic circumstances, both regimes “liberalized” after about a quarter of a century. The liberalization under “Taisho democracy” allowed public discussion in Japan, which began to influence Japan’s colonial policies in Taiwan and led to the appointment of civilian governors from 1919 to 1936. While police repression continued, the period saw many Taiwanese, often in cooperation with liberal Japanese, engage in political movements.

Similarly, under the KMT, in the early 1970s, following the Republic of China’s ouster from the UN, through the Diaoyutai movement, the activities of The Intellectual Magazine and the appointment of Chiang Ching-kuo as premier, Taiwan began to liberalize.

Fifth, as both regimes came under pressure, they again stepped up repression. Under Japanese rule, the repression came with World War II, the appointment of military governors in 1936 and the push toward assimilation under the kominka movement. Under Chiang Ching-kuo’s rule, repression reappeared following the Kaohsiung Incident on Dec. 10, 1979.

Finally, both regimes forced their own languages on Taiwanese as part of their plans to turn them into second-class Japanese or Chinese.

Therefore, Taiwan has never been a part of China. Any attempt to appease Beijing by promulgating the “one China” framework would only increase China’s appetite to “swallow” Taiwan and impose a dictatorship over the nation, just as it is doing in Hong Kong.

Taiwan must refuse the false historical claims made by China, Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo. The Chinese Communist Party and the KMT have said that Taiwan had belonged to China in 1942. This claim was false then and it is false today.

Taiwan is a middle power with a vibrant democracy, an advanced economy and a substantial military. It should be supported by the world’s democratic nations, such as the US, Canada, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand, as well as European nations to maintain its sovereign status.

Bruce Jacobs is an emeritus professor of Asian languages and studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

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