Fri, Nov 23, 2018 - Page 8 News List

A nation awaiting its fate from 1946

By HoonTing 雲程

From the end of World War II until now, Taiwan has developed a complicated, dual identity entangled in a history that can be difficult to grasp. As long as this situation persists, the enemy can manipulate it and spread misinformation to the world, thus suppressing the political, social and even human rights of Taiwanese.

Taiwan was once part of the Japanese Empire and was occupied by the Allies after the war.

In 1946, the supreme commander for the Allied powers divided up the Japanese government’s administrative areas with Directive No. 677, and Taiwan became a territory waiting for a peace treaty to be signed to determine its new status.

Its people were waiting for a new nationality that would guarantee their rights. However, the goal of the occupying authorities was “economic recovery” and “political reconstruction.”

After the war, the Cold War framework immediately developed, and in April 1949, the Republic of China (ROC) government led by Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) — who occupied Taiwan as the military representative of the Allied forces — was defeated by the Chinese Communist Party.

In January that year, Chiang resigned as president and passed the job onto his then-vice president, Li Tsung-jen (李宗仁).

He promulgated a temporary constitution — the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of National Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款) — so that the ROC Constitution became ineffective and lost its legitimacy, and was essentially reduced to a historical document.

When Chiang arrived in Taiwan in December that year, he was no longer the president of China, but was still the military governor of Taiwan.

Taking advantage of this position, Chiang in March 1950 took back the power to govern and administer Taiwan. Chiang even turned the ineffective constitution into a political billboard for Taiwan during the Cold War era.

The Treaty of Peace with Japan signed in San Francisco did not resolve the issue by specifying ownership of Taiwan and deciding the legal status of Taiwan has been postponed to this day.

Due to the Cold War standoff, Taiwan was viewed as the Pacific frontline for the free world’s containment of the spread of communism. The military occupation of Taiwan turned into a valuable anti-communist asset, and because of this, the Allies’ occupation and military rule of Taiwan was no longer correctly understood.

Instead, the Allies stressed that the ROC, an already perished state, was the “free China,” and the ROC Constitution was used as the organic law required by the occupying rulers and has remained in effect until now.

According to international law, signatories to political and alliance treaties recognize the other signing party’s governmental status. As the “principal occupying power,” the US played the leading role in the signing of the treaty of San Francisco and pressured Japan into signing the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty — effective from 1952 to 1972.

By doing so, the US recognized the ROC government as the Taiwanese authority, as was demonstrated by the signing of the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, which was in effect from 1954 to 1979.

Although Japan and the US recognized the ROC government as the Taiwanese authority, they cautiously restricted its effective area of jurisdiction to Taiwan and Penghu. The move effectively severed the practical pre-1949 relations between the Taiwanese authorities and the Chinese government.

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