Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Monday, December 1, 2008

Status of Native Taiwan People

Back in August I wrote a little piece about the tribes of Taiwan, including a comment that the native people may have a more legitimate claim to the island than anyone else.

I just received a very interesting email from Richard Hartzell regarding a court case, "Roger C. S. Lin et. al. v. United States of America," that was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on November 3, 2008.

As Richard explains, "This court case is arguing that the native inhabitants of the Taiwan, currently under the jurisdiction of the "Republic of China" cannot be correctly classified as ROC citizens or as having any sort of Chinese nationality. There are no legal documents which can prove that Taiwan is a part of China."

Back in the days when we were all stationed on Taiwan, we were mostly concerned about helping the "good" Chinese (ROC) defend themselves against the "bad" Chinese (PROC). This case, however, raises some fascinating legal points about the status of the native people of the island (as well as the island itself) and I'm eager to see how the court responds.

For more details on this case, follow these links:



5 comments:

George said...

It seems to me that the fact that the US did not and does not, on an ongoing basis, maintain a "Military Government" in Taiwan and in the early-mid 1950's and throughout until about 1975 recognized Taiwan as "The Republic of China" indicates that the United States recognized a legal government that continues to exist today. The fact the the US no longer recognizes that government today does not change this status....this is very clear to me. Also, the fact that the majority of native Taiwan citizens continue to recognize that current government makes it even more clear.

Strategos said...

i guess the Indian Natives of the United States deserve a similar court case.... .. right!!

Richard@insular said...

George made several points.

George: It seems to me that the fact that the US did not and does not, on an ongoing basis, maintain a "Military Government" in Taiwan ...
Comment: The authority for USMG is there and it is active. The day to day administrative duties have been delegated to the Chinese Nationalists. Legally speaking, it is the "law of agency." That is a valid legal arrangement.

George: ... in the early-mid 1950's and throughout until about 1978 recognized Taiwan as "The Republic of China" indicates that the United States recognized a legal government that continues to exist today.
Comment: The United States recognized the Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of China up through Dec. 31, 1978. At no time did the US Executive Branch recognize the ROC as the legitimate government of Taiwan.

US State Dept. documents from the late 1940s and early 1950s make this very clear.

Essentially, the position of the ROC in Taiwan is (1) subordinate occupying power, beginning Oct. 25, 1945, and (2) government in exile, beginning mid-December 1949.

The USA is the principal occupying power.

Stev said...

At the end of World War II, the United States led the Allied Powers in the occupation of Japan, but under the terms of the Japanese surrender the conditions of the Cairo Conference were accepted returning Taiwan to the Republic of China. On October 25, 1945, the Japanese governor-general of Taiwan signed an instrument of surrender completing the official return.

After the war, the United States recognized the Republic of China and Chiang Kai-shek as the government of China, but provided little support in the struggle against the Communists. In January, 1950, President Truman proclaimed the United States would not interfere or give military assistance to Chiang’s government if it was attacked by the Communists. It wasn’t till after the outbreak of the Korean War that the United States reversed its policy of non-support for the Nationalists, renewing military assistance and establishing MAAG.

History is often a tangled web, but from my casual reading I don’t see that the United States was ever an occupying power of Taiwan. In my time there in 1959-60, Gemo was the boss.

cheerleader said...

Stev: At the end of World War II, the United States led the Allied Powers in the occupation of Japan, but under the terms of the Japanese surrender the conditions of the Cairo Conference were accepted returning Taiwan to the Republic of China. On October 25, 1945, the Japanese governor-general of Taiwan signed an instrument of surrender completing the official return.

This is incorrect! None of the Allies recognized any transfer of the sovereignty of Taiwan to the ROC upon the Oct. 25, 1945 Japanese surrender ceremonies in Taipei. The transfer of sovereignty must be completed by treaty.

The date of Oct. 25, 1945 only marks the beginning of the military occupation of Taiwan.