Monday, February 12, 2007

Bruce Jacobs on Who Owns Taiwan in Taipei Times

Bruce Jacobs proffers an excellent piece that enumerates familiar themes, with a few errors, discussing the recent revisions to Taiwan's history texts:

The complaints have come largely from historians who believe that Taiwan is a part of China. The research of many current scholars shows quite clearly that Taiwan has never been a part of China except for 1945 to 1949 during the Chinese Civil War when the Chinese colonial regime occupied Taiwan and slaughtered many Taiwanese.

Actually Taiwan was not part of China then either. Taiwan had been handed over for administration jointly by the US and the ROC under the rubric of the wartime allies. Chiang derived his control of Taiwan from MacArthur's directive, not because he was dictator of part of China. This was repeatedly emphasized by the US during the 40s and 50s -- it was US policy to maintain that the status of Taiwan was undetermined, until that prize shit Henry Kissinger sold the island out during the Vietnam War negotiations in one of those archetypal FUBAR moves that are the invariable product of the real-men-decide-the-fate-of-nations crowd.

In fact in the whole history of the island no government has ever had undisputed control of both the entire island and the entirety of China. Chinese claims to Taiwan are simply expansionist fictions.

Gerrit van der Wees over on Taiwan Focus also pointed out that this too is in error:

Both colonial regimes clamped down very hard at first. Various estimates suggest the Japanese killed from 12,000 to 32,000 Taiwanese in their first few years of rule. The Chinese colonial regime killed 10,000 to 20,000 Taiwanese after the Feb. 28, 1947, uprising.

More reliable figures put out by the government in the early 1990s after the archives opened up are above 30,000. The numbers for deaths under the Japanese will never be known, but they are surely higher than 30,000. Pacification campaigns against the aborigines were conducted with great brutality, and entire villages were burned and regions stripped of their menfolk.

All in all, a great piece. Kudos to Jacob for a good thumbnail of the arguments, and for locating them in current scholarship.

18 comments:

Jinn said...

It's interesting to see western perspectives on the Taiwan independence issues. This sensitive topic has already manifested itself as the two main opposing parties in the country, and the polarized support for them have done a great deal of harm to the people. I've personally experienced extended family members turn on one another due to differences in political beliefs. If Taiwan does get annexed by the chinese, it'll be a sad day for its 20-something million population.

Patrick Cowsill said...

Does that 30,000 include White Terror during the fifties? I have heard that the 2-28 Museum tracks a number that is nowhere near as high 30,000 and that does include 1,000 mainlanders.

Neither the Japanese nor the Ching Dynasty controlled all of Taiwan. In fact, the former built a line/fence through mountainous areas to seal off territories controlled by the aboriginals and hardly dared to cross it (except in the air, to bomb Aboriginal villages).

The Japanese also killed some 6,000 locals in Yunlin (Yunlin Massacre) of 1896. I have wondered why the government doesn't emphasize this more, why it doesn't put Yunlin right up there with 2-28?

Michael Turton said...

Patrick, the fence story is a myth based on a garbled account of a failed attempt to use electric fencing to protect a single blockhouse from night raids by aborigines.

The Japanese did bring the whole island under control during the 1930s.

One important difference between Yunlin and 2-28 is that the beneficiaries of the Yunlin massacre are not still in local politics. Whereas the White Terror types are still around.

Michael

Arty said...

There is actual written account of Taiwan's rightful owner after WWII. It is called Cairo declaration. The only argument of its claims will be that it is not signed by Japan. However, Japan did signed the Instrument of Surrender of Japan which includes honoring the declaration.

Also, Chinese is not a ethnic race term i.e. American is not a ethnic race. So saying Chinese never ruled Taiwan, using Manchu rules as an argument is kind of weak.

Just my two cents

Michael Turton said...

Arty,

The Cairo Declaration is a declaration of war aims between several powers and has no standing in international law. Under both the San Francisco Peace Treaty and the Japan-ROC Peace treaty, the final disposition of Taiwan is left unspecified. This was deliberate, as everyone understood that Taiwan was not part of China and at some point its status would have to be determined -- which was the policy of the US, the UK, and Japan after the war. Under the UN agreements, Taiwan is a decolonized area that needs a referendum to determine its final status.

The irony is that if Chiang hadn't been such a looting, authoritarian dictator, had done a referendum, behaved scrupulously, and treated the Taiwanese with respect, they all would have voted to become part of China and Taiwan would have no standing to claim independence. That's what happens when you arrogantly set out to steal what you could have had with a little right behavior and some ethical courting. Ultimately the KMT shot itself in the foot, both in China, and again in Taiwan.

Michael

Arty said...

"The irony is that if Chiang hadn't been such a looting, authoritarian dictator..."

So that's why Taiwanese lives such good life and if not very rich compare to Philippine, Indonisia, etc. And Taiwan is among one of the 5 developed areas in Asia. After the death of Chiang's son, the second highest office is hold by a Taiwanese.

Also, Treaty of San Francisco wasn't signed by either ROC and PRC unlike Instrument of Surrender of Japan that is signed by all parties.

The current argument for Taiwan's right to gain independence is based on the right of self-determination which no nation in this world allows including US, UK, etc. The exception is made to the Old British Common Wealth; however, even Quebec can't do it becuause several groups within Quebec are against it. As for US, secession from the states is consider treason. Do you think Pureto Rican is going to be able to gain independence (and it is not even a state, yet)? And of course British, you can just look at Ireland as an example. IRA killed how many people? In the end, the political wing of IRA pretty much sell out and sign a treaty that stated Ireland will always be part of the Great Britian.

However, you can say that US herself was found it on self-determination, and that's true. I do believe that in the end, only the one who has the biggest gun will determine the fate of a nation. So who do you think have a bigger gun? PRC or Taiwan (ROC). Don't forget, in theory, China can destroy Taiwan in less than 30 minutes, several ICBM will do the job.

Personally, I think people of Taiwan lives too comfortable, and didn't realize what they have to lose.

Michael Turton said...

"The irony is that if Chiang hadn't been such a looting, authoritarian dictator..."

So that's why Taiwanese lives such good life and if not very rich compare to Philippine, Indonisia, etc.


Arty, I know history is hard when you're pro-KMT, but Chiang's corruption is rather widely known among those who read. Taiwan got rich in spite of, not because of, KMT policy (for the most part), which, as Lee Teng-hui magnificently demonstrated in his landmark PHD thesis, squeezed the Taiwanese to make the mainlanders rich.

Also, Treaty of San Francisco wasn't signed by either ROC and PRC unlike Instrument of Surrender of Japan that is signed by all parties.

Hey no shit, really? And if you read a little more, you'll soon find that the status of Taiwan is not specified in that treaty either. Why? Because it doesn't belong to any government of China.

The current argument for Taiwan's right to gain independence is based on the right of self-determination which no nation in this world allows including US, UK, etc.

It starts with the fact that Taiwan isn't and never was part of China. There is no argument for Chinese annexation of Taiwan.


the political wing of IRA pretty much sell out and sign a treaty that stated Ireland will always be part of the Great Britian.

I'm sorry. On my planet, Ireland is an independent country. Northern Ireland is part of the UK. Britain is an island to the east of Ireland.

nation. So who do you think have a bigger gun? PRC or Taiwan (ROC). Don't forget, in theory, China can destroy Taiwan in less than 30 minutes, several ICBM will do the job.

Ahhhh...now it comes out. Yours is a simple and straightforward worship of power.

Personally, I think people of Taiwan lives too comfortable, and didn't realize what they have to lose.

Yes, those Taiwanese are so dumb. It's good that they have you to teach them, eh?

Michael

Arty (I don't teach in Taiwan) said...

Michael,

I don't see why history is hard if I am pro-KMT. I am simply point out KMT is not that bad and give general wealth to the people of Taiwan. I think 228 did happen, and KMT did kill many Taiwanese. Likewise, I can say present is hard for pro-DPP people because Taiwan isn't doing so hot economically, as 2006 GDP growth, she ranked last in the Asian 4 tigers when she used to be NUMBER 1.

I don't live in Taiwan, and I certainly don't teach. I did get an offer to teach in National University of Taiwan, but an assistant professor there makes less than I am making. I don't know why you think that I teach English (you didn't state that but that's my guess) in Taiwan because my English is really bad. You can check my ip it is not hard...Did I miss something that only foreigners teach in Taiwan can read this blog?

Btw, Chaing's family are at best upper middle income family. So I don't know where the squeeze came from. Last time I checked, the richest person in Taiwan is a Taiwanese (the plastic king and the Evergreen Shipping company owner). And you bring up Lee Teng-hui? He is the vice-president of Taiwan when Chiang Ching-kuo died. Is he a Taiwanese? So KMT didn't treat Taiwanese with respect and yet the second highest office is hold by a Taiwanese when Chiang Ching-kuo died.

As for Instrument of Surrender of Japan. The sixth states "We hereby undertake for the Emperor, the Japanese Government and their successors to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration in good faith..." and in the third line of declaration it states "The terms of the Cairo Declaration would be carried out and Japanese sovereignty would be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and such minor islands as the Allies determined." And I don't think I have to tell you what Cairo declaration states. Btw, all above documents are signed by the winners (I know, I worship POWER).

Also, is there something wrong
worshipping power (I just about to say only people who have no power think there is something wrong; you know like how only poor people talk about evil of money)? As long as you use the power properly (btw, this is not a statement about China will use it power properly). However, such as real life and a person has to live or die for his/her own decision.

For Ireland, I do mean North Ireland. When I mention IRA, you should know I am talking about Northern Island.

Michael Turton said...

I don't see why history is hard if I am pro-KMT. I am simply point out KMT is not that bad and give general wealth to the people of Taiwan.

Arty, the KMT did not "give general wealth" to the people of Taiwan. The major growth industries of the Miracle comprised small and medium enterprises, almost entire owned by Taiwanese, in toys, textiles, and electronics, industries spurned by the KMT. The island's people took advantage of the opportunities offered by the special status granted to it by the US, and massive aid offered to the island by the US. The KMT, simply put, happened to be in power during the economic miracle. It had very little to do with it.

I think 228 did happen, and KMT did kill many Taiwanese. Likewise, I can say present is hard for pro-DPP people because Taiwan isn't doing so hot economically, as 2006 GDP growth, she ranked last in the Asian 4 tigers when she used to be NUMBER 1.

Growth has been slowing in Taiwan since 1991, for many reasons, but most importantly because Taiwanese have been investing in China, not Taiwan. In the past the government kept its capital at home. Taiwan's economic problems are not solvable until the legislature, currently shut down by your side, gets to work. In Taiwan's unbalanced system, the executive has very little formal power. Previous presidents drew their strength from the fact that they were Party Chairman in a one-party state...

I don't know why you think that I teach English (you didn't state that but that's my guess) in Taiwan because my English is really bad. You can check my ip it is not hard...Did I miss something that only foreigners teach in Taiwan can read this blog?

I never said or meant to imply that you taught here. Your english is excellent, BTW.

Btw, Chaing's family are at best upper middle income family.

Hahahahahaha. I think I'm going to die laughing.

Last time I checked, the richest person in Taiwan is a Taiwanese (the plastic king and the Evergreen Shipping company owner).

You're close, but actually he's moved down from number 1 recently. Wang is a good example though, a Taiwanese who got his start in plastics through US AID money and assistance.

And you bring up Lee Teng-hui? He is the vice-president of Taiwan when Chiang Ching-kuo died. Is he a Taiwanese? So KMT didn't treat Taiwanese with respect and yet the second highest office is hold by a Taiwanese when Chiang Ching-kuo died.

Of course! The Veep was a Taiwanese, so that means that the KMT treated Taiwanese with respect! It means that Taiwanese language wasn't forbidden! That Taiwanese weren't the last hired and first fired in state enterprises! That the university intake system didn't favor mainlanders! That the military officership wasn't controlled by the mainlander elite! That Taiwan independence wasn't illegal!

Etc.

As for Instrument of Surrender of Japan. The sixth states "We hereby undertake for the Emperor, the Japanese Government and their successors to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration in good faith..." and in the third line of declaration it states "The terms of the Cairo Declaration would be carried out and Japanese sovereignty would be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and such minor islands as the Allies determined." And I don't think I have to tell you what Cairo declaration states. Btw, all above documents are signed by the winners (I know, I worship POWER).

Please show me the exact line where the sovereignty of Taiwan is tranfered to China. Because, as any expert could tell you, it never was. That was the understanding of all the participants in the SFPT, which takes precedence over the ROC-Japan peace treaty.

BTW, what is the current status of the ROC-Japan Peace Treaty? Since, say, 1978....

Also, is there something wrong
worshipping power


I can't believe you even asked that question. Yes, there is something very wrong with worshipping power. It's the root cause of human misery.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Arty wrote:
"Do you think Pureto Rican is going to be able to gain independence (and it is not even a state, yet)?"
Actually Arty, several referendums have been held in Puerto Rico over the years in which Puerto Ricans were given the choice of pursuing statehood, commonwealth status or independence. If the majority of Puerto Ricans vote for independence, it would be granted.

Arty said...

Well, Michael, I will let your answers to be my proofs that KMT didn't squeeze Taiwanese. Because if KMT did, then Taiwan will be like Phillipine (Phillipine got all the special treatments US offered to Taiwan, and when KMT took over Taiwn, Phillipine also had higher GDP than Taiwan). Since I am scientist, I am using Phillipine as my control group.

To Anony...
Puerto Rico over the years in which Puerto Ricans were given the choice of pursuing statehood, commonwealth status or independence. If the majority of Puerto Ricans vote for independence, it would be granted.

So what happened to those referendums? US congress already make it clear it will strike down the indepence vote base on the plenary powers of the United States Congress and with the "right to establish a constitution for the internal administration of government and on matters of purely local concern."

SHADOW said...

Arty said...
There is actual written account of Taiwan's rightful owner after WWII. It is called Cairo declaration. The only argument of its claims will be that it is not signed by Japan.


To my knowledge, Cairo Declaration was NOT signed by any of the participants. Its legal power doesn't extend beyond the legal power of a news announcement.

Michael Turton said...

Well, Michael, I will let your answers to be my proofs that KMT didn't squeeze Taiwanese. Because if KMT did, then Taiwan will be like Phillipine (Phillipine got all the special treatments US offered to Taiwan, and when KMT took over Taiwn, Phillipine also had higher GDP than Taiwan).

Arty, do yourself a favor and get cracking on some economic history. Taiwan had a much higher GDP than the Philippines, the second highest in Asia, throughout the 1930s, in fact after 1937 it probably exceeded Japan proper. A temporary drop in income due to war is just that: temporary. The looting of Taiwan, and the squeezing, was so severe, that it took Taiwan until about 1965 to recover its ~1936 income levels. This is all well known, and discussed in many works, from Mendel's _the Politics of Formosan Nationalism_ to Ho's _Ecnomic Development of Taiwan. Kerr extensively documents the looting of the island in 1945.

Further squeeze, of course, came in amny ways -- the arbitrary arrests and shakedowns by the police, and system of payoffs, the 18% interest for the KMT and its servants, the unfair education system that favored mainlanders, the closing of paths in government and the military to the Taiwanese, the 22% transfer of funds out of agriculture to KMT-owned industries through the ag pricing mechanism etc, etc, etc. It's just that the Taiwanese made so much money that with US support they were able to support a huge population of economically unproductive parasites and still have enough capital left over to build the nation.

The Philippines is a totally different case, and no comparison is possible. It had little infrastructure, a divided population into many small ethnic units, a much greater size, etc.

I can recommend a good list of Taiwan economic and political history works if you like, Arty.

Michael

Arty said...

Michael,

Well, for you, KMT can do no right. The books that you have shown are old and political(in the 70s!?; at that time we still think Keynesian economic is right, and I really wish one day I can quote Bill O'Reily and Ann Coulter's books)...can you find something new i.e. Taiwan: From Developing to Mature Economy by Ranis, Social Expenditures in Taiwan. Washington: World Bank by Chow. However, I know your stands, and just like you can't change mine that I can't change yours.

Also, Shadow and Micheal here is the Ciaro declaration and as far as I know is signed and since you guys like Japan so much, I will give you the link to the Japan's source (Japan's National Library).

http://www.ndl.go.jp/constitution/e/etc/c03.html

BTW, Michael, can I ask what degree did you hold and have you ever took an economic course called Government and Economics (or Optium Regulation)?

Michael Turton said...

> Michael,Well, for you, KMT can do no right. The
> books that you have
> shown are old and political(in the 70s!?;

Yes, but you haven't read them; either the old stuff or the new. You're welcome to cite anything newer, but you don't appear to have read any of the key literature on Taiwan at all. All the books I've cited are important books from the lit about Taiwan.

> something new i.e.
> Taiwan: From Developing to Mature Economy by Ranis,
> Social Expenditures
> in Taiwan. Washington: World Bank by Chow.

OK. So how do they relate? BTW, the Ranis book is already 15 years old, and contains nothing that contradicts what I've said.

However,
> I know your stands,
> and just like you can't change mine that I can't
> change yours.

The difference is that mine are based on knowledge of the situation, whereas you hold yours because that's what you were brought up to think.

Also,
> Shadow and Micheal here is the Ciaro declaration and
> as far as I know
> is signed and since you guys like Japan so much,

Arty, the Cairo Declaration has no force in international law. Get over it.

And stop it with comments like "and since you guys like Japan so much" which simply reveal how you've been brought up to think about the situation. Whether you like Japan or not has nothing to with who Taiwan belongs to.

> Library).http://www.ndl.go.jp/constitution/e/etc/c03.htmlBTW,

> Michael,
> can I ask what degree did you hold and have you ever
> took an economic
> course called Government and Economics (or Optium
> Regulation)?

My BA is a double major in Anthro and Econ, my MA is in international affairs, with a focus on east asia and trade and tech, and my PHD work has all focused on Taiwan, its economic history, its small business, and technology.

Government and econ is part of the section of the econ course I teach at the university here, arty.

Michael

Arty said...

Arty, the Cairo Declaration has no force in international law. Get over it.

Please, enlighten me on this professor, if it has no force in international law. Then, why did the parties involved signed it or announced it. Also, how do you define International Law? For example, UN resolutions are rarely enforced. Most of them were passed simple for symbolic reasons. Recently, US used UN resolutions as part of its justification to invade Iraq. If that's how International Law is defined i.e. by force. Then, I will say military power = International Law, and PRC got plenty of it.

Btw, I will go read the books you suggested. Also, I think one key point we all forgot, if KMT didn't move to Taiwan, Taiwan will be part of China already just like Hainan island.

Michael Turton said...

Please, enlighten me on this professor, if it has no force in international law. Then, why did the parties involved signed it or announced it.

Because -- duh -- there is much propaganda purpose in announcing war aims. The western powers hoped to keep China in the war by dangling Taiwan in front of it like a carrot. But they had no power to give Taiwan away -- it was owned by Japan -- and no consent of the populace.

International Law is defined by the customs and usages of nations and the agreements they make. Under such norms, the Cairo Declaration is a simple declaration of war aims with no legal (normative) force. Taiwan's status is determined by the key treaties, and they specifically and deliberately refrain from making it clear. The indeterminate status of Taiwan was postwar policy for the US and the UK; it is clear how the treaties were made and how they were understood.

Also, I think one key point we all forgot, if KMT didn't move to Taiwan, Taiwan will be part of China already just like Hainan island.

No. Taiwan would have been preserved by the US navy regardless.

Michael

11:28 AM

Arty said...

International Law is defined by the customs and usages of nations and the agreements they make.

Thanks for the enlightment. I wounder why we still have war then...also since Taiwan's status is undefine and last holder is either Japan and US. What happen if they sign over Taiwan to China (or they just make a declaration together saying China can do whatever to Taiwan). Would that be legal? My guess is not, but how long can Taiwan last without aids from either US or Japan (that's my question, too)? Let's also assume China is blackmailing US and Japan with ICBM (acutally, China is doing it now).

The western powers hoped to keep China in the war by dangling Taiwan in front of it like a carrot.

Thanks for the enlightment. However, at that time, Japan was occuping about 1/3 to 2/3 of China, it will be hard for Chinese to put out do you think. No carrot on a stick needed! It will be hard for me to imagine if we lost 20 states to some enemies and we will consider pulling out of that war.