Putting up the ROC
In an article on Wednesday’s front page (“ROC not an exile government, Wu says,” page 1, Oct. 12), Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) is quoted as saying that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) was mistaken in calling the Republic of China (ROC) a “government-in-exile.”
If the ROC is not a “-government-in-exile” or a country in exile, then what is it in Taiwan?
During the Qing Dynasty, the Kangxi Emperor was reluctant to take control of Taiwan after defeating the pro-Ming loyalists on the island at the Battle of Penghu in 1683.
Similarly, the dynasty had no qualms ceding the island to the Japanese after losing the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895 under the Treaty of Shimonoseki, making Taiwan a Japanese colony until the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II. During the Japanese colonization, Taiwan’s inhabitants were given two years to become Japanese subjects or leave the island.
At the 1943 Cairo Conference, the Allies adopted a statement declaring that Japan would give up Taiwan at the end of the war. When Japan formally surrendered to the Allies on Aug. 14, 1945, Taiwan was placed under the administrative control of the ROC by the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). Thus, the ROC became the governing polity on Taiwan. -However, it is important to note that the UNRRA did not confer any other rights or titles on the ROC to effectively reflect the status of the ROC and Taiwan as one and the same entity.
On Aug. 29 of the same year, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) appointed Chen Yi (陳儀) chief executive of Taiwan Province and announced the creation of the Office of the Chief Executive of Taiwan Province and the Taiwan Garrison Command on Sept. 1, also making Chen commander of the latter body.
Chen received the last Japanese governor-general, Ando Rikichi, who signed the document of surrender on Oct. 25, which Chen proclaimed “Retrocession Day.” This turned out to be legally controversial since Japan did not renounce its sovereignty over Taiwan until April 28, 1952, when the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into force, which was not signed by the ROC or the People’s Republic of China (PRC), further complicating Taiwan’s political status.
In 1949, after losing the Chinese Civil War, the ROC government fled to Taiwan, where Chiang declared martial law and declared Taipei the temporary capital of the ROC.
Throughout Taiwan’s history, and especially after 1895, there is no evidence to suggest that Taiwan is not an independent entity. While the PRC may claim that the Han Chinese and the ROC are part of China, it certainly has zero evidence to claim that Taiwan is part of China.
If the island of Formosa was declared an independent republic in 1895 by the pro-Qing officials, although a short-lived one of 184 days, Taiwan, with the blessings of the indigenous peoples, could one day be the Republic of Taiwan since the ROC is just a “country” resting there.
The flag that is raised every morning and flown outside the Presidential Office and all government agencies and departments is that of the ROC and not of Taiwan.
Twu Shiing-jer was right in claiming that “Taiwan is Taiwan and it does not belong to the ROC.”
Andrew Michael Teo
News, without the news
We are at an interesting turning point in history. What started as a small protest in New York against corruption in the government has developed into full-scale protests across the US. The head of possibly the largest insider-trading case of recent times, Raj Rajaratnam, got sentenced to prison this week. Educational systems across the world are being subjected to more and more mindless standardized testing, which is sure to destroy our global IQ, not to mention EQ. European debt is skyrocketing out of control as the euro declines, and that’s before even mentioning the US dollar’s performance.
These events will have huge consequences for the rest of the world, and yet we have barely scratched the surface. Even Taiwan faces a host of problems: a low birthrate, rising unemployment, poverty, relations with China, the government-forced closure of hundreds of well-established restaurants in Taichung and Aboriginal protests.
Wanting to understand the Taiwan perspective, I finally decided to tune in to one of Taiwan’s amazing 24-hour news channels. I ended up on TVBS, of all places. What does the TVBS news group see as the most important issues in Taiwan? I was dying to know.
In case you are curious, they mostly talked about President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) wife, Chow Mei-ching (周美青), and the dress she wore on Double Ten National Day — which was already four days ago when I switched the news on — as it was the same one she wore last year; the fact that some people learned how to use a parachute for the National Day celebration; and the fact that one of their reporters figured out how to use YouTube to find a scooter accident.
What a fitting name for the station. It looks like TVBS took my TV and simply added the BS.
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