- The fundamental views of Taiwanese regarding the relationship between Taiwan and China -
(Chinese original text)
  2. History of Sino-Taiwanese Relations
  3. The Intrinsically Colonial KMT Regime
  4. The KMT Should Take Full Responsibility For Its Diplomatic Failure
  5. Our Vehement Objection to China's "Basic Guidelines" Regarding Taiwan
  6. Taiwan's Status According To International Law
  7. Crisis Engendered By The Economic Activities Across The Strait
  8. Democratic Independence: The Only Hope For Taiwan
  9. Taiwan Is Qualified for Membership Of The International World



The raison d'Ítre of a government is to provide and guarantee liberty, equality, and welfare to its people. The principle of "self-determination" has long been recognized by the civilized world as a fundamental idea of democracy. On December 16th, 1966, the United Nations passed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article I of this resolution proclaims that all people have the right to self-determination, and thus the right to choose freely their political status, their pursuit of economic, social and cultural development.

For hundreds of years, Taiwan has been ruled by alien regimes. Modern Taiwanese history is a chronicle of the Taiwanese struggles against oppression and fight for independent survival. Since 1945, Taiwan under the KMT (Kuomintang) regime has been subject to the threat of China's invasion. Even though the tensions across the Strait of Taiwan have loosened gradually recently, to the Taiwanese, the unification policy stressed by both the KMT regime and the Chinese government still poses a grave danger of a forced and forcible merger with China.

On August 31st, 1993, the People's Republic of China issued a document titled, ,,The Taiwan Question and the Reunification of China." Circulated in seven languages, this diplomatic White Paper manifested its intent and ambition of annexing Taiwan through its distortion of history, misconstruction of the international law and treaties, and disregard for the will and welfare of the Taiwanese. Though less dogmatic and more pragmatic than before, the KMT's response remains ambiguous and problematic: The KMT still insists that the Communist regime cannot legitimately represent China while emphasizing its own capability of resolving this "Chinese problem" eventually. Under such circumstances, we think it necessary to explicate our point of view from the perspective of the Taiwanese.

I. History of Sino-Taiwanese Relations

Situated in the west Pacific, the island of Taiwan was originally inhabited by the Austronesians. These aborigines, like those spread across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, mainly lived on fishing, hunting, and slash-and-burn agriculture. Their life style was distinctly different from that of the Fukienese across the Strait of Taiwan.

In the mid-sixteenth century, a little after the beginning of European imperialist expansion, some inhabitants along the southeastern coast of the Chinese Empire started to emigrate. In contrast to the European case, these Chinese immigrants took leave due to the hardships and poverty in their homeland. Thus, those who immigrated to Taiwan during that time, not of a significant number, were indigents pirating on the high seas or engaging in trade with the Japanese. In 1624, the Dutch East India Company occupied the southern coast of Taiwan and made it a Duth entrepot in East Asia. During Dutch occupation, Dutch missionaries preached christianity to the inhabitants of the plains in southern Taiwan. The Dutch developed colonial agriculture in Taiwan. To keep up with the exportation of sugar to the Middle East, they also recruited laborers from Fukien Province to work on the sugar plantations. At the end of the Dutch colonial period, there were about a hundred thousand Chinese plantation workers on Taiwan.

In the PRC's White Paper, great efforts were made to prove that Taiwan historically belonged to China. Nevertheless, it is greatly misleading to equate the Pescadores with Taiwan: administrative connections between the continental regimes and the Pescadores during the Sung, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties cannot prove that such relations had also been established between the mainland regimes and Taiwan. In fact, the rulers of the mainland ignored the existence of Taiwan completely; even until the seventeenth century the border of the Ming Empire covered only the Pescadores while excluding Taiwan. That is why the official chronicle of the Ming Dynasty stated that Taiwan was "the Mountain of Kee1ung according to foreign legend." In the Chronicle of Yung-cheng of the Ching Dynasty (Yung-cheng Shih Lu), it recorded an imperial paper of 1722 stating that, Taiwan. historically not of China, was conquered and became Ching's territory under the great power of Kang-hsi." This statement should be compelling enough to refute the PRC's claim of China's , "historic ownership" of Taiwan.

In 1662 Cheng Ch'eng-Kung expelled the Dutch and took over Taiwan. Taiwan was ruled by three generations of the Cheng-clan over the subsequent twenty-one years thus marking the beginning of political regimes by people from China. A general named Shih Lang led the Ching-dynasty's troops and defeated Cheng's army in Taiwan in 1683. Following was a heated debate as to whether or not to annex Taiwan to the Ching Empire. The Ching government founded a metropolis and three counties (yi fu san hsien) in Taiwan the next year under the governance of Tai-Hsiah (Taiwan-Hsiahmen) commander-in-chief. This was the first direct political tie between China and Taiwan. Until the Ching Empire ceded Taiwan to Japan in 1895, Taiwan did undergo two hundred and ten years of Chinese rule.

However, Taiwan's experience during those two centuries was distinctive. Since Cheng Ch'eng Kung was waving the "anti-Ching, restoring-Ming" (fan Ching fu Ming) banner in Taiwan, the Ching imperial court had developed a persisting hostility towards Taiwan as a result. lt also prohibited the crossing of the Taiwan Strait to prevent Taiwan from becoming an asylum for political dissenters. Meanwhile, there remained a consciousness of resistance among the local Taiwanese: at least forty uprisings took place and twenty of them succeeded in warding off Ching's troops from Taiwan temporarily.

The banning of strait-crossing continued for around a hundred and ninety years until its abolishment in 1875. During those years the Han who immigrated to Taiwan risked their lives to sneak on shore. They not only were in constant fear of being arrested, but also had to desert their families in China while persevering in the hardships of pioneering. All in all, this prohibition policy stalled the development of Taiwan and affected Taiwanese attitude towards China later on.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the second wave of imperialism hit East Asia. Taiwan was again a juicy piece of meat in the international market. The British, the Japanese and the French had initiated military actions on the island whereas the United States and Germany both attempted to occupy it. In 1895, the Ching government ceded Taiwan to Japan after its defeat in the Korean Peninsula and Manchuria.

Over the subsequent fifty years, the Japanese ruled Taiwan in a highly authoritarian and oppressive manner. Later, they even involved Taiwan in their war effort for imperialist expansion. Under Japanese colonial rule, both military and unarmed resistance movements arose. Although these movements took place partly under the influence of the Chinese notion of "revolution for the founding of a different dynasty", the main reason for their occurrence should be largely attributed to the idea of defending one's homeland. The pursuit for liberation or the goal of democracy under colonial rule sprouted from circumstances vastly different from China in the early twentieth century. Between the years 1928 and 1931, Taiwanese communists brought forth a declaration of Taiwanese independence. Meanwhile, the May 5th Draft for a Constitution by the Nanking government in 1936 precluded Taiwan from the status of a province or an occupied territory. As a matter of fact, both the KMT and the Communist Party had made public statements in support of Taiwan's independence.

On the other hand, the fifty years of effective Japanese rule had made an immense impact on Taiwan. Established was an islandwide, efficient bureaucracy. Modern education substituted traditional superstition. The standard of living in Taiwan was much higher compared with that in warring China. Ties with China were mostly cut off during this colonial period as the Japanese advocated Shinto, the Japanese-language movement, and the military-volunteer movement. All these factors contributed to the differentiating of Taiwan from China and the forming of the reality of a nation on Taiwan. By and large, Japan failed in its attempt to "japanize" the Taiwanese and yet successfully transformed the Taiwanese into "non-Chinese."

When World War II ended in 1945, the defeated Japanese left Taiwan. Taiwan came under Chinese rule once again. However, history had created an unfathomable discrepancy between China and Taiwan. Consequently, an uprising known as the "228 Incident" erupted in 1947 and resulted in numerous deaths among the Taiwanese - a traumatic tragedy resulting from forced unification.

II. The Intrinsically Colonial KMT Regime

After the conclusion of World War II, Taiwan was transferred from a colony of a foreign people to that of the same ethnicity. Because of the illusion of a powerful mother country, the Taiwanese embraced and welcomed the landing of the Chinese troops wholeheartedly despite of the slight disappointment at the shabby clothes and undisciplined conduct of the Chinese army. On the other hand, these Chinese did not consider the Taiwanese their compatriots. Instead, they thought of themselves as victors in a conquered land, successors to the Japanese viceroy. They took on not only the colonial measures of economic exploitation but also all sorts of legislation that discriminated against the Taiwanese. Completely surprised by such unequal treatment, the Taiwanese felt disenchanted and shocked as their naive conception of the "mother country" proved utterly wrong. This disillusionment eventually led to the tragic 228 Massacre.

In essence, the 228 Massacre was quite similar to massacres during early Japanese colonial rule for the fact that they were colonial efforts to suppress resistance of the colonized. After 228, Taiwan was dragged into the Chinese civil war which had nothing to do with Taiwan itself. In the end, Taiwan actually became a base for Chiang Kai-shek's plot to "take back the mainland." While the military attack to regain control of Mainland China never happened, Taiwan in the meantime has changed greatly. The KMT has exploited the land and the people of Taiwan: rampant deforestation continues as the land no longer holds water; illegal deals, bribes and embezzlement take place regularly between and among government employers and business people; black lists and the so-called period of "white terror" have not only violated human rights but also instigated fear and distrust in the heart of the Taiwanese.

By and large, international factors also contributed to the KMT occupation of Taiwan. The Cold War made it necessary for the United States and its allies to strike a balance of power to counter the USSR. In so doing they chose to overlook the universal trend towards independence in former colonies in the post war era. In the Peace Treaty of San Francisco, Japan ceded control of Taiwan and yet the status of Taiwan was left open for debate. This ambiguity seemed to have embraced the idea of self-determination while leaving room for diplomatic maneuvers for Cold War strategy. In the end, the international world acquiesced and consented to the KMT regime's takeover of Taiwan as a result of the interplay of the Cold War and the Red Scare engendered by McCarthyism in the United States.

As the Cold War dragged on, the fact that Taiwan was under the KMT's colonial rule was forgotten. The reality of a Chinese rule somehow was treated as a justification for the claim that Taiwan was a part of China. Additionally, after China's breakup with the USSR in the fifties, the US and its allies strategically had to lure China for the balance of power. As a result, Taiwan again was a victim in the game played among the imperialistic powers.

While the international world remains close with China and sometimes comes under China's dictating threat, some people in Taiwan have also complied and acknowledged the notion of "unification". These people, blinded by the propaganda of the KMT and adopting Chinese chauvinisrn, deem the Chinese imperialistic, colonial pretension as a legitimate claim; they completely ignore the sovereignty of Taiwan. It was not until the failing of the KMT's diplomatic efforts in the seventies that this regime began the policy of localization. However, while co-opting the Taiwanese elite into its system, the KMT still vehemently denied the people of Taiwan their right to self-determination. This situation resembles the limited self-rule a colony was permitted in colonial times.

The Chinese policy of Chiang Ching-Kuo insisting on "One China" has remained the same after Lee Teng-hui succeeded Chiang. "The Principles for the Unification of China" (kuo tung kang ling) best illustrate this point. This document was drafted without consultation with Taiwanese society at large or the endorsement of the Taiwanese. Although emphasizing flexible, pragmatic objectives for different stages, it presupposes the ultimate goal of unification. Moreover, Taiwan is considered a tool for China's achieving "democracy, liberty and equality." This exploitative, colonial policy certainly cannot be accepted by any Taiwanese with political awareness.

Constitutionally or administratively, during the forty odd years of KMT rule, Taiwan has fundamentally been a colony. Realpolitik in the international world and selfdesertion of some Taiwanese have justified the KMT regime on Taiwan while consenting to the PRC's claim of authority in and ownership of Taiwan. However, no foreign governments or regimes should ever be allowed to seize the sovereignty of Taiwan.

III. The KMT Should Take Full Responsibility For Its Diplomatic Failure

The United States had given up on the KMT shortly after World War II ended, but the Korean War altered the situation. Geopolitical and strategic reasons prompted the US to include Taiwan among its defense missions. The KMT therefore acted obsequiously toward the United States to play the role of a loyal ally. The United States responded by backing up the KMT regime in the United Nations as the sole legitimate govemment of China. The KMT regime also established close ties with authoritarian regimes sponsored by the US in Latin America under the principle of anti-cornmunism - an act that damaged Taiwan international reputation.

During the seventies, the US sought to reconciliate with China and attempted to persuade the KMT to consent to the Chinese Communist regime's admission to the United Nations according to the policy of "One Country - Two Representatives" and "Two Chinas". However, Chiang Kai-shek refused and the KMT regime was expelled from the United Nations. From then on, Taiwan, as a political unit, has become delegitimized by the international community.

The US and China established formal diplomatic relations in 1979. And yet the KMT administration persisted its claim of "One China" and itself as being the only legitimate government. This insistence forced other countries to choose between the KMT and Communist China when the usual result was the cutoff of diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Although Chiang Ching-kuo brought forth the principle of "flexible diplomacy" which attempted to maintain substantial ties without formal recognition with other states, he still preposterously proclaimed to represent all Chinese in the world without recognizing the diplomatic embarrassment.

Due to the illegitimate nature of the KMT regime, Lee Teng-hui has grabbed every possible chance that he can use to consolidate and legitimate his regime. Confronted with Taiwanese frustration at its diplomatie failure and growing pressure from opposition campaigns, the KMT regime has come up with "pragmatic diplomacy", meaning acknowledging the reality of two political entities even though retaining the belief that "there is only one China" and that "Taiwan is a part of China." Efforts were made for "re-entry" to the United Nations as the KMT has turned itself back to the offer the US made before: "One Nation, Two Representatives" and "Dual Recognition."

For now, China's refusal and pressure constitute the main impediments to the KMT's diplomatic efforts. In our view, however, this impasse is mainly due to the decision makers' failure to recognize Taiwan's independence from China. They consider consent to "Dual Recognition" an expedient means for the immediate diplomatic necessity while the goal of unification should remain the ultimate goal in all eases. That is why any label or title can be used but the name "Taiwan".

International reality points to a different direction, however. As we can see, as long as the KMT uses any appellation using "Chinese" or "China", it will be less possible for Taiwan to gain formal support in international organizations. This is why the European Community will not recognize or backup "The Republic of China on Taiwan". Lee Tung-hui has recently expressed his willingness to concede to the open-up of "three ways of communications" (san tung) in exchange for admission to the United Nations. In any case, diplomatic obstacles cannot and will not be easily overcome unless the KMT regime gives up its "One China" policy and uses "Taiwan" as a formal title in the international arena.

IV. Our Vehement Objection to China's "Basic Guidelines" Regarding Taiwan

The White Paper China released in August 1993 states that "Peaceful Unification" and "One Nation, Two Systems" are the basic principles of its Taiwan policy. The paper lists four guidelines: one China, coexistence of two systems, extensive autonomy, and peaceful negotiations. China warns that the Taiwan question is a purely domestic issue and thus to be solved under the premise of "One China". It further pronounces that peaceful unification is a fixed policy of the Chinese government, however, this government will reserve the right to take all actions necessary, including military actions, to protect its territorial integrity and governing authority. As a note directed at foreign states, the paper delivers its intention to keep out foreign intervention. "The Chinese government is not obliged to any foreign country and makes no promise whatsoever."

In our opinion, the Chinese assumption and interpretation of the Taiwan issue are extremely absurd. Taiwan by no means is a part of the People Republic of China, whether looking from the perspective of history, international law, or reality. This being the case, what position does the PRC have to formulate the "peaceful unification, one China" policy which aims at devouring Taiwan? Chinese chauvinistic ambitions are clearly manifested in light of this.

The White Paper further contends that the status quo, ie separation, is most unfortunate to the Chinese people: every Chinese yearns for this grievous separation to end. This is one-sided and biased. First of all, the Chinese administration should know better that its adversary is the KMT, not the Taiwanese. Furthermore, if China took notice of the humiliation the Taiwanese felt under the KMT colonial rule, it should know that the Taiwanese will not allow anything similar to happen again: not another alien Chinese regime. Thus, what the paper claims, that "Taiwanese pervasively desire unification" and that "the majority of powerful political figures in Taiwan hold the belief in unification", merely reveals how ignorant China is about the will of the Taiwanese. While we think it pathetic of China to make up such a lie, it also makes us seriously suspect what ill intention is really behind all this.

China address to the Taiwan issue is prevailingly inconsistent. On the one hand, it acknowledges the rightful demand of the Taiwanese for the jurisdiction of self-rule; on the other hand, it refuses to see such jurisdiction as being the same as "independence". How is it possible for the Taiwanese to have jurisdiction of self-rule, ie sovereignty, if Taiwan is not an independent nation? Would Taiwan be able to retain its sovereignty were it not an independent country?

The White Paper delivers the gravest insult to the Taiwanese by alleging that "Taiwan's independence movement is a sell-out to foreign countries that hope to see a divided China". It even forewarns that China will not simply sit and watch the occurrence of any action that may possibly lead to Taiwan's independence. We are telling the Chinese government now: the right to pursue the founding of an independent country is an inalienable right that the Taiwanese are entitled to; all peoples with dignity deserve this right. In our fight for an independent state of Taiwan, we need and welcome international support. Such support is the major force to ensure justice and peace in the international society. By voicing its threat, China not only expounds its disrespect for moral courage in the international world but reveals its disdain for human rights. 

V. Taiwan's Status According To International Law

China attempts to claim its jurisdiction over Taiwan using four principles of international law: first, every sovereign country has the right to protect its unity and territorial integrity, second, Taiwan historically belongs to China; third, the proclamation issued at the Cairo conferences in 1943 states that Taiwan be returned to China; lastly, Taiwan is considered a part of China in the international community. The above may sound reasonable at first glance; however, we will prove that these so-called "principles" cannot hold under an intensive scrutiny of international law. Taiwan, logically or juridically, is a sovereign state that should attain an international status equivalent to that of its equals. It should also be stressed that Taiwan's future can only be decided by the Taiwanese themselves, not by any superpowers or alien regimes.

First of all, China's claim regarding the territorial integrity of a sovereign country is a conception of a traditional school of international law. Modern international law pronounces the idea that people have a right which is above the territorial right of a state, to found a government that can truly represent all the people in the said region and not to be subject to oppression as a result of racial, religious, ethnic or other differences. This principle has been asserted time and again in the International Court of Justice. Therefore, when a certain number of people, or the minority groups within an existing state are oppressed, they have the right to demand independence and self-determination. That is, a state territorial right cannot override the principle of self-determination. Tibet under Chinese regime best illustrates this point. It is widely recognized and supported that the Tibetans are entitled to the right of self-determination which overweighs China's right of territorial completeness. In the case of Taiwan, this is even more the case since Taiwan has never been ruled by the People Republic of China. In other words, Taiwan's effort to become an independent country conforms fully to international law.

Secondly, China's justification that Taiwan historically has been a subject of China cannot definitively determine whom the jurisdiction of Taiwan should belong to now. While such a rule may have applied to the resolution of territorial disputes in the past, it was mainly used to settle disputes among two or more states. Therefore, it is inappropriate to apply this principle to our case. Moreover, this rule was adopted during the feudal era, when a lord treated the people of his land as his own possession at his disposal. In modern societies, the will of the inhabitants on the land in dispute has become decisive in the judicature of the International Court of Justice. Therefore, Taiwan should not be at the disposal of any alien power; the will of the people should decide the future of the land, not vice versa.

Thirdly, China uses the Cairo Declaration of 1943 and the Potsdam Declaration of 1945 to prove that Japan returned Taiwan to China after the war. However, it is questionable whether the proclamation made at the Cairo and Potsdam conference is legally equivalent to an international treaty. Above all, since Japan was not among the attendants of these conferences, it was not legally bound by the proclamations made during these conferences. That is, the Cairo Declaration had no virtual constraining power with regard to Japan and its occupied territories. Since international law recognizes only mutual peace treaties signed by warring states, the San Francisco Peace Treaty is much more appropriate according to international law in determining the status of Taiwan.

The San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 stated that Japan give up its claims on Taiwan and the Pescadores. However, there was no mentioning of Taiwan being handed over to China. What China would gain was stated in clauses 10 and 14. After signing the treaty, Japan no longer has any right to give Taiwan away because under international law it does not own Taiwan anymore.

Fourthly, China suggests that one hundred and fifty-seven countries contend that Taiwan is a part of China to justify its intention to annex Taiwan. Yet, it fails to point out the fact that these countries use phrases such as "understand" or "notice" instead of "endorse" or "confer" when referring to the "One China" policy. Above all, according to international law, countries not directly involved in a territorial dispute have no right to decide on the ownership of a territory. For example, it means little if Japan recognizes Hawaii as a part of Canada.

All in all, international law is built on facts and actuality. If in fact, countries recognize Taiwan as a part of China, they would, and would have to, acquire China's permission when they trade with Taiwan and their people, when aircraft and ships travel in and out of Taiwan, otherwise these actions would clearly violate China's sovereignty. The fact is, they do not have to deal with Taiwan vis-a-vis China. The direct activities between Taiwan and foreign countries reinforce the actuality of Taiwan being an independent political entity.

Lastly, by asking the international world to recognize Taiwan as a part of China, the Chinese government indeed exposes its insecurity towards this false claim. Why would a country request that others recognize its sovereignty over a piece of land if it really governs and owns this land? Obviously, China knows that its claim to Taiwan is factually and logistically weak.

VI. Crisis Engendered By Economic Activities Across The Strait

"Under the premise of one China, socialism on the mainland and capitalism in Taiwan will coexist and develop symbiotically. No one will be devoured. After unification, Taiwan will become a special administrative zone that retains a great degree of autonomy and its own army." The above quotation from China's White paper indicates that China deems Taiwan a part of China. If China is going to make Taiwan a special zone, would it not be the case that Taiwan will be devoured? Furthermore it is unrealistic that capitalism and socialism can coexist within a country in the long run.

While making promises that Taiwan will be allowed to run its own economy, military and party politics, it has attempted all efforts to keep other countries from selling arms to Taiwan. How is it possible for an unarmed army to protect Taiwan's economic and political institutions, and most importantly, its autonomy? The White Paper purposely fails to make proposals as to how economic transitions would be made with regard to taxation, finance, currencies, stock markets, exchange rates, foreign reserve and so forth. These issues are too complicated to be brushed over simply by the "Peaceful Unification" slogan. Germany's unification shows the cost of a peaceful unification. Economic questions cannot be answered by political slogans. China's failure to address the economic aspect of unification is either because it intentionally avoids the key problems or because of its inability and inexperience in economic management. A government incapable of administering and managing its domestic market economy does not seem competent enough to govern Taiwan.

Between the years 1945 and 1949, Taiwan and China were literally under the policy of "One Nation, Two Systems." Taiwan had its own administrative, financial, taxing, and currency system. However, it was still not able to sustain its economic autonomy. China's economic policy exploited Taiwan and ultimately caused the 228 Uprising and the ensuing massacre.

There is a great discrepancy between Taiwan's GNP per capita of US$ 10,000 and that of China's of US$ 400. These days, Chinese who desire a higher standard of living have attempted to sneak into Taiwan in great numbers already. If Taiwan were to merge with China and the Chinese could enter Taiwan freely, the impact on Taiwan as a result of a possible population boom would be inestimable. Taiwanese labor would be the first to suffer. Many social problems may erupt while the economic order would be disrupted. There is also the question of whether or not Taiwanese business people would enjoy the same privileges after unification.

The White Paper also states that "before the realization of unification, both sides should actively promote economic cooperation and other exchanges under the guideline of mutual respect. The opening of channels such as postal services, commercial activities and aviation will be necessary steps leading to the peaceful unification of China." China has repeatedly requested for direct contacts in all areas in the hope of speeding up the pace of unification. Its "friendly" attitude, however, is rnerely a gesture. In the same paper that emphasizes the importance of cooperation and mutual help, statements are made regarding China's objection to Taiwan's right to participate in international organizations as an independent entity. Meanwhile, China also denounces Taiwan's aviation rights. In this context, we can see that China's policy in favor of Taiwanese investment is aimed at its own economic development. After all, obtaining foreign capital and technology is perhaps the only way for China to industrialize and Taiwanese investment provides exactly what China needs.

Taiwanese investment in China has nevertheless more cons than pros to Taiwan. In the short run, lower labor costs and cheaper raw materials may seem profit-promising. In the long run, several problems will emerge:

  1. Chinese products will create intense competition with Taiwan's exports,
  2. Taiwan's effort for industrial upgrading will slow down,
  3. there will be a hollowing-out,
  4. Taiwan's economic edge over China will diminish,
  5. Taiwan will gradually fall in the trap of China's strategy of speeding up the pace of unification through commercial activities.

China is undertaking a carrot-and-stick policy that seeks to drain Taiwan's economy, erode its sense of unity among Taiwanese with sweet talk on one hand, and disintegrating Taiwan's international network with threats of violence on the other hand. Economy is perhaps the only area where Taiwan has a comparative advantage over China. But this advantage may soon recede when more Taiwanese capital flows to China and makes Taiwan economically dependent on China. 

VII. Democratic Independence: The Only Hope For Taiwan

There are about twenty-one million people in Taiwan. Four ethnic groups constitute the population: the aborigines, Hakka, Fukienese and the Mandarin speaking population. The end of Japanese colonial rule in 1945 and the massive Chinese immigration flow in 1949 produced fundamental changes in the population composition. Since then, people in Taiwan have developed as a coherent unit. The economic power, area of arable land, and educated population of Taiwan should promise a high quality standard of living in the modern world. And yet, due to the KMT's colonial mentality, the Taiwanese seemed to be living in a state of anarchy, culturally and institutionally. Politically, there was nothing to identify with. In the midst of this desolation burgeoned an opposition movement that emerged in 1986 as a dynamic opposition party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Its agenda of building an independent state has gained support in Taiwanese society. The percentage of votes the DPP gets in elections increases every time - evidence that more and more Taiwanese approve of and identify with the cause of Taiwan's independence.

While the ban on new newspapers and on political parties was lifted and censorship on freedom of speech and other liberties was loosened in 1987, forty years of martial law had distorted the social structure in Taiwan so much that it cannot be undone promptly. As a result, the KMT's party-owned businesses still dominate the economy and the media. An austere and inept educational system keeps stifling the creativity of the youth. Meanwhile, persisting authoritarian rule has quenched the confidence and interest of the Taiwanese in political reforms.

In fact, there is an urgent need for a Taiwanese constitution to serve the people of Taiwan in place of the Constitution of the Republic of China ratified in China in 1946. Pushed by the students’ movement in March 1990, the KMT under Lee Teng-hui responded to the call for constitutional reform. However, its answer was to mobilize the representatives of the People's General Assembly (kuo min ta hui), most of whom had been elected forty years before, to ensure that only few changes would be made. As a result the text of the ROC-constitution was not touched at all and the "temporary measures in war time" were sneaked in in the form of amendments. This undertaking clearly violated the right of the Taiwanese to make a constitution and overlooked our demand for social welfare and other concerns. On August 25th and 26th, 1991, the DPP and several social groups and political organizations gathered for the People's Constitutional Conference. The conference concluded with the "Draft of the Taiwan Constitution" outlining the institutional structure of government such as a unitary congress. lt also asserts the fundamental social rights and the right to local self-rule and direct election of the president.

For future development, Taiwan should join the United Nations and other international organizations. But first, we have to break away from the fallacy of Chinese chauvinism and the unification reverie. Democracy has to be institutionalized and other things normalized for Taiwan to become a civilized and humane country. In this context, the name "Taiwan" will be accepted more easily in the international world. Taiwan can thus engage in international activities under the auspices of equality, liberty, and mutual benefit.

VIII. Taiwan Is Qualified for Membership of thc International World

China chose to issue its White Paper for the purpose of exerting pressure on other countries while nipping Taiwan's effort to expand foreign relations in the bud. We are protesting against China's hostile move by asserting the point that Taiwan is an autonomous, sovereign political entity. As an independent country, Taiwan has every right to participate in any international activity or organization.

As far as the United Nations Resolution 2758 of 1971 is concerned, we think that it merely assures the Chinese Communist regime's legitimacy of representing China. Its denouncement of the CKS regime's claim is not synonymous with renouncing Taiwan's status as an independent country. It does not grant China the right to claim Taiwan a part of its territory in any sense. In fact, in the debate regarding Chinese representation, there was a consenus that:

  1. the PRC be admitted to the UN as China,
  2. Taiwan was not a province of the PRC,
  3. the future of Taiwan be decided by the Taiwanese according to the principles of the UN Charter and of self-determination.

The Taiwanese demand for a vote on entering the UN in the name of "Taiwan" is precisely a deed of self-determination to ensure Taiwan's international status.

Compared with the one hundred and eighty-four members of the UN, Taiwan ranks medium in population and territory; it is in the upper tier in terms of cultural and economic level. Taiwan's trading volume ranks fourteenth; the ranking of our GDP is twentieth while that of GNP per capita is twenty-fifth in the world. Taiwan's foreign reserves come closely after Japan's and Germany's while it has become the seventh biggest country in foreign investment. Taiwan has provided technical assistance, human resources and monetary aid to help many developing and under-developed countries.

Article Four of the UN Charter states that members can be admitted if they be peace-loving states that accept the obligations in the Charter and be able and willing to carry out these obligations. Taiwan is well qualified for UN membership under this condition. Its request to enter the UN should therefore be taken seriously.

It should be clarified that the KMT's proposition of "parallel representation of a divided nation" is nothing more than a game of words. The truth is, that the KMT has no intention of becoming a member of the UN. This can be seen from Lee Teng-hui's remark that "the effort to get into the UN should not be used by the DPP as a scheme for Taiwan's independence". The Taiwanese desire formal admission to membership of the UN rather than the position of an observer. Lee's approach, willing and bound to settle for less due to his refusal to use the name "Taiwan" cannot be accepted by the Taiwanese.

We demand that China stop interfering with Taiwan's international relations. It is about time that China acknowledge Taiwan's sovereignty and respect the will of the Taiwanese. We also call on the international community to recognize the right of the Taiwanese to found an independent country.


Ancient Chinese philosophy stresses the moral difference between a lord and a bandit. Coming to power by killing the innocent is unacceptable. However, this political virtue is not performed by the contemporary Chinese rulers who continually oppress the Tibetans, intimidate the Taiwanese, and test nuclear bombs regardless of the danger and pollution from these tests. The White Paper uses the term of "Chinese Ethnicity" (chung hua min tsu) in an attempt to draw connections and affiliations. The fact is, that this term comes from around a hundred years ago when Chinese intellectuals coined the term for the formation of a national identity. From the works of Sun Yat-sen and Chang Tai-yen, one can see the discriminatory, chauvinistic attitude behind this. In the past, it served to unify the Republic of China by the Han-Chinese. Today, it serves the People's Republic of China of the Han-Chinese. If the KMT regime continues to use the term of "Chinese Ethnicity" in creating an illusion to fool the Taiwanese, it is positioning Taiwan in danger of Han-Chinese invasion by the PRC. Therefore, we ask all political factions and parties to hasten themselves to the development of an independent Taiwanese identity through reforms in the media and in the educational system.

In conclusion, the Taiwanese have the right to decide their own future. Any political party hoping to win support from the Taiwanese will have to identify with Taiwan, recognize and share the common destiny of all inhabitants on Taiwan. To terminate the tragedy of years of colonial rule, the Taiwanese have to establish an independent country by their own effort and with the help of the international community.

We believe that there is no "China question" of "Taiwan question". Taiwan and China should share the belief that the two nations should normalize their relationship under the premises of mutual respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of either side, for peaceful coexistence and mutual cooperation. Then there will be peace and prosperity for the two peoples of the two nations.


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