Friday, June 06, 2014

JapanFocus, forwarding Chinese propaganda again...

Wetlands in Changhua.

The other day JapanFocus posted another in the seemingly endless examples of Lefties forwarding the claims, language, and ideology of imperialism and expansionism -- apparently, so long as it is non-western imperialism, it is ok. This is Lin Man-houng's awful Taiwan and the Ryukyus (Okinawa) in Asia-Pacific Multilateral Relations – a Long-term Historical Perspective on Territorial Claims and Conflicts (アジア太平洋地域の多国間関係における台湾と琉球諸島(沖縄)領土権主張や紛争を長期的視野でとらえる), a turd so vast that, properly composted, it could fertilize California for a year. Ordinarily I'd just give this laugher a nod on my way by, but it contains new propaganda points that allow me to pass along some useful links and discussion. Onward and downward...

Early on, Lin observes:
Both areas [Taiwan and Ryukyus] were at one time central to the trading hub in East Asian waters (14th~17th Century): As the Ryukyus became the “Bridge to various countries” including China, Japan, Korea and South East Asia, it entered its “Golden Age” during the 14th~17th Century (Lin 2006b). In contrast, despite frequent trade between China and the South Seas during the 13th and 14th centuries, there were few contacts between China and Taiwan at this time. But between 1540 and 1700, the East Asian sea route became vibrant with trade pivoting on Japanese silver, Chinese silk and other commodities. At this time, three quarters of the silver China needed for its silver-based currency came from western Japan. Yet this vibrant trade was not conducted directly. Just as Hong Kong was a third party terminal for Taiwan and mainland China between 1988 and 2008, Korea, Hanoi, Macau, the Ryukyus and Taiwan were all important sites for this Japan-China silver-silk trade. (Lin 2006a: Chapter 1)

At the time, Taiwan had no substantial political organization or formal ties with the Chinese government, so Zheng Zhilong, the Fujian sea-trade businessman, followed by the Dutch, the Spanish and then the family of Zheng Chenggong, successively established trading entrepots on this island. The Zheng family’s wealth, rooted in Japanese silver, was an important means for establishing political power in Taiwan. With the Chinese silk—Japanese silver trade as the core, other goods from Europe, South East Asia, Japan, mainland China, and elsewhere were also traded in Taiwan, making it an Asia-Pacific commercial centre. This was also why in the 17th Century, Chinese people flocked to Taiwan, and from a minority group eventually became the majority population on Taiwan. However, by the second half of the 17th Century, Japan restricted silver to its domestic use. The result was that the Sino-Japanese silk and silver trade declined, and the Ryukyu kingdom also entered a period of decline. From 1609, while paying tribute to the Qing Dynasty, the Ryukyus also paid tribute to Japan, and the Qing replaced the Zheng family in ruling Taiwan between 1683 and 1895 (Lin 2006c).
I've bolded several of her claims. For those of you for whom these claims will be new (i.e., everyone not the author), you will probably nod when you realize that Lin has in fact cited herself for this set of claims.

Observe the second paragraph's first sentence with its telltale assumptive claims:
At the time, Taiwan had no substantial political organization or formal ties with the Chinese government, 
Why should it have formal ties with the Chinese government? And the aborigines had substantial political organizations, they just were not of the nature that the Chinese recognized, then or today. Next she says:
...Zheng Zhilong, the Fujian sea-trade businessman, followed by the Dutch, the Spanish and then the family of Zheng Chenggong, successively established trading entrepots on this island
Zheng was a pirate/trader, of course. Where does this claim come from? If you're feeling the tingle of right-wing Chinese expansionist propaganda because the Zhengs are conveniently re-located to the period before the Europeans, congrats, your spidey sense is dead-on. Tonio Andrade's excellent and eminently sensible How Taiwan Became Chinese is available for free on Gutenberg (note, I said FREE. Read it.). He writes in Chapter it most carefully:
Perhaps there were other Chinese organizations that sponsored Chinese colonization. Yang Yanjie, a historian from mainland China, argues that the pirates Yan Siqi and Zheng Zhilong established "political authority" (政權) on Taiwan before the arrival of the Dutch.11 His aim is to show that Chinese claims to Taiwan predate the Dutch, and he overstates his case (he also, perhaps intentionally, conflates Taiwan with the Penghu Islands, using the anachronistic term Tai-Peng, 台澎), but he does make an important point: Chinese pirate-merchant organizations may have contributed to the sinification of Taiwan. Still, it is difficult to determine the extent of the colonial involvement that these organizations had on Taiwan, because our evidence is scanty and indirect.8

For example, we know next to nothing about Yan Siqi. As we have seen, he did use Taiwan as a base before the Dutch arrived, and his organization is said to have been large and well structured, with ten "stockades" (寨), scores of ships, and hundreds of men, hierarchically organized.12 Did his people build actual stockades on Taiwan? If so, they were not in evidence when the Dutch arrived, and Chinese fortifications would have attracted Dutch mention in the voluminous and verbose records of the Dutch East India Company. More likely, his men lived among aborigines or in temporary camps near moored vessels. For the first twenty years of Dutch rule, the company struggled against Chinese "smuggling" organizations north of the Bay of Tayouan. It is possible that they were related to or descended from Yan Siqi. But there is no evidence of dedicated Chinese settlements in these areas, and the extent to which Yan Siqi encouraged colonization must remain in doubt.

We know far more about Zheng Zhilong, who, as we have seen, cruised the Taiwan straits under the Dutch flag. He likely had contacts with Chinese sojourners in the Bay of Tayouan and the deer- and pirate-rich areas northward, but the more interesting evidence for his role in Taiwan's colonization comes after he became a Chinese official in 1628. Chinese sources indicate that, during a severe drought in Fujian Province, he had a conversation with officials in Fujian and suggested moving drought victims to Taiwan, providing "for each person three taels of silver and for each three people one ox."13 This is a fascinating idea, but there seems to be no evidence that the plan was actually carried out. Until more sources are found, we must be careful not to overstate the role merchant-pirate organizations played in Taiwan's colonization. In any case, would-be settlers needed more stability and security than pirates probably would (or could) provide.
Reality: the claim that Zheng preceded the Dutch and Spanish is Chinese expansionist nonsense, deliberately constructed to create the false view that the Chinese were there first. An oft-overlooked aspect of this move is that it ignores prior aboriginal claims to Taiwan. Other scholars have also dismissed the (Chinese nationalist) claim that there were many Chinese on Taiwan before the Dutch, see also John Shepard's superb Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier, 1600 to 1800 for an accounting.

Where Lin got the idea that there was some kind of massive silver trade bringing Chinese thronging into Taiwan I have no idea, but Andrade has a thorough discussion of Chinese colonization in the book (well worth reading, accessible and erudite). His Conclusion summarizes how Chinese settlers under Dutch administration carried out colonization and trade, and the Spanish pursued similar policies. Japanese traders could be found on Formosa in those days, until 1635, when the ruler of Japan issued edicts against leaving Japan and closed the ports in 1639, freeing the Dutch from Japanese competition. The silver trade fell off after that time because its value eroded on the world markets and other reasons (see this fascinating overview paper). Though the Dutch used the port of Taoyuan/Tainan as a transshipment point for goods from China going to Japan sold by the Dutch for Japanese silver, Taiwan was not any major part of this flow of wealth from the silver mines of Japan and Mexico. The trade in silver for Chinese luxury goods went directly and illegally between Japan and China, as well as through Portuguese Macau and the central Vietnam port of Hoi-an. The Spanish silver trade flowed through Manila (the "almighty dollar" originally was the Spanish silver dollar). While there was trade, Taiwan could hardly be described as an Asia-Pacific commercial center. Note that Lin's pro-China presentation studiously avoids saying that Taiwan was a Dutch colony during this period. Inconvenient facts? Evanesco!

I should add that one reason Chinese settlement fell off after 1670 because the fighting between Ming and Qing died off and people who had fled that now sought to return. Not because the massive trade of the "Asia-Pacific Commercial Center" fell off.

In sections 2 and 3 Lin subtly forwards another common Chinese expansionist claim, that Japan incorporated Okinawa in 1879. The Ryukyu kingdom actually became a vassal state of the southern Japanese kingdom of Satsuma in 1609 (Wiki). Lin repositions this as "From 1609, while paying tribute to the Qing Dynasty, the Ryukyus also paid tribute to Japan..." with the Qing at the forefront. Wiki observes:
The kingdom's royal governmental structures remained intact, along with its royal lineage. The Ryukyus remained nominally independent, a "foreign country" (異国, ikoku)[32] to the Japanese, and efforts were made to obscure Satsuma's domination of Ryukyu from the Chinese Court, in order to ensure the continuation of trade and diplomacy, since China refused to conduct formal relations or trade with Japan at the time. However, though the king retained considerable powers, he was only permitted to operate within a framework of strict guidelines set down by Satsuma, and was required to pay considerable amounts in tribute to Satsuma on a regular basis.
In Chinese expansionist presentations this period of Japanese control typically vanishes. Like in this piece, for instance, when the sovereignty over the Ryukuyus suddenly jumps into view in 1879 -- it had been incorporated into the Japanese central government in 1868, and under Japanese rule as a vassal state since 1609. This should also be a signal to readers of China's coming claim to Okinawa. Chinese expansionists quietly complain from time to time that China should have been consulted when Okinawa was returned to Japan. Longtime readers know the drill.

Further down Lin gives the standard rightist Chinese reading of the Treaty of Taipei:
The sovereignty Japan gained over Taiwan from the Treaty of Shimonoseki was renounced in Article 2 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Article 4 (b) of the San Francisco Peace Treaty stipulates that: “Japan recognizes the validity of dispositions of property of Japan and Japanese nationals made by or pursuant to directives of the United States Military Government in any of the areas referred to in Articles 2 and 3.” The US Military order relevant to Taiwan was General Order No.1 of 1945, specifying that, “the senior Japanese commanders … within … Formosa… shall surrender to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.”  Article 26 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty provided that Japan shall conclude with any State which signed or adhered to the United Nations Declaration, and which is at war with Japan, which is not a signatory of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, a bilateral Treaty of Peace on the same or substantially the same terms as are provided for in the Peace Treaty. In terms of the conclusion of war between the Republic of China (“ROC”) and Japan, the Treaty of Peace between the Republic of China and Japan that was signed in Taipei on April 28, 1952 (Illustration 1), ratified by both the Showa Emperor of Japan and Chiang Kai-shek, the President of the Republic of China (Illustrations 2&3), and exchanged and became effective on August 5th of the same year, (hereafter “Taipei Treaty”), is one such international treaty specifying the transfer of sovereignty of Taiwan. The Taipei Treaty was registered in the United Nations in 1952 as Treaty Series, No. 1858 (United Nations, 1952). The Japanese Embassy in the ROC, which became the Interchange Association in 1972, has been based in Taipei since the Taipei Treaty became effective (Guoshiguan 1999, p.162). The articles in relation to the conclusion of war and transfer of Taiwan sovereignty in the Taipei Treaty were in the nature of having been executed, which is not comparable to articles providing for diplomatic relations that are executive in nature and were terminated in 1972 when Japan established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”).3 This is akin to the termination of consular jurisdiction of the United Kingdom in China in 1943 without terminating the 99 year-lease of Hong Kong.
  1. General order number 1 is here. It should be noted that the Japanese troops on Formosa are surrendering to the Allies and that Chiang was acting as their representative. Chiang IS NOT accepting surrender of Formosa on behalf of China alone as Lin appears to be implying. 
  2. Treaty of Taipei: This is basic knowledge: nowhere in the Treaty of Taipei is the transfer of sovereignty over Taiwan from Japan to the ROC implied or stated. It is an article of faith that the Treaty of Taipei transfers sovereignty to Taiwan only among Chinese right-wingers, ritually re-iterated periodically to remind everyone how out of touch they are. The Treaty of Taipei is subordinate to the San Francisco Peace Treaty which in turn deliberately does not specify who the sovereignty of Taiwan belongs to. Moreover, the ROC knows this perfectly well. As I have noted several times in posts and comments:

    After signing the treaty [of Taipei], the ROC delegate, then ROC foreign minister George Yeh (葉公超), faced harsh questioning from legislators in a Legislative Yuan meeting regarding why the treaty between the ROC and Japan did not state unambiguously that Taiwan and Penghu were returned to the ROC.

    Yeh replied that "No provision has been made either in the San Francisco Treaty or the Sino-Japanese Treaty as to the future of Taiwan and Penghu." Yeh further explained: "In fact, we control them now, and undoubtedly they constitute a part of our territories. The delicate international situation, however, means that they do not belong to us. In these circumstances, Japan has no right to transfer Formosa (Taiwan) and the Pescadores (Penghu) to us. Nor could we accept such a transfer from Japan even if she wished to do so."
Lin finally moves on to the Diaoyutai/Senkakus. She calls her article a "long-term historical perspective" on the Senkakus, but focuses on the period after 1895 and in fact lectures us at length on undersea geology. She says the Senkakus/Diaoyutai are separated from Japan by the Okinawa Trench, a common Chinese expanionist claim. Judge for yourself, or Google Search. More importantly, the reason she doesn't give us the long list of documents showing Qing control over the Senkakus is that there aren't any, which is why her discussion focuses on what the Japanese were doing. There's no reason to review her comments since I've discussed that so many times elsewhere.

Please my fellow lefties, stop forwarding Other People's Imperialism.

Droned on long enough, enjoy the weekend...
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Never Left, always right! said...

Bullshit like this is the reason I never identify as being of the left.

Michael Turton said...

The real bummer is that no amount of evidence get them to give up their positions

Whirled Peas said...

PART 1. So true and so sad. The pro-Diaoyu forces refuse to give up their viewpoint despite evidence that the Senkakus were never a part of Taiwan; and worse, their arguments and invented narratives over the years (since ca 1970's) have become increasingly contrived and labored. The arguments used to be simple and naive. (I remember because I had a number of friends/acquaintances who cut their political teeth on the "Diaoyu/Tioyutai" movements). Mainly Chinese (HK and TWN) student-intellectuals studying abroad in the US and elsewhere. Many with good intentions but sadly misinformed and like many in the 1960s and 1970s -- quite doctrinaire.

In the beginning of the Diaoyu movement (ca 1970) the student activists had limited knowledge of the real history of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. After the UN team announced there was oil in the seabed, Japan sent out its own team to explore --understandable since the Senkaku was Japan's territory (since 1895) and temporarily occupied by the US and soon to be returned to Japan's control.

In response the pro-Diaoyu activists agitated, leafleted, and organized against Japan on the premise that Japan had no business trespassing on the Senkaku waters! The student activists were spurred into acting before thinking by their anti-imperialist impulse (a good thing) but also by a sad lack of solid knowledge of the history the Senkakus (a bad thing! Political movements based on the wrong premise are not helpful! The Diaoyu activists accused Japan of going back to its "expansionist and greedy ways" of WWII by RECENTLY claiming the Senkakus as soon as they heard there might be OIL! Recently? Was 75 years ago recently? This shows how off-base the activists were! Though some were well-meaning and staunch anti-imperialists, in retrospect I'm afraid that they had launched an anti-Japan campaign before doing their homework. And having done so the most nationalist among them were committed to soldiering on right or wrong.

1977 chars.
To be Continued.

Whirled Peas said...

When the activists finally realized that Japan had owned and controlled the Senkakus since 1895 (with the exception of the US Occupation period (1945 to the upcoming Okinawa reversion in 1972) the activists had to quickly morph their arguments, and hoped no one would notice. They could no longer simply claim that Japan was being expansionist. So they hastily set up study groups and scanned their history books to cobble together a narrative that would support the idea that the Senkaku/Diaoyu always belonged to Taiwan or to China via Taiwan, or some other advantageous variation.

The Diaoyu activists' next line of reasoning was that Japan intentionally failed to renounce the Senkaku when Japan was told to renounce Taiwan after WWII. They argued that the Senkaku/Diaoyu was part of Taiwan since ancient time. The Diaoyu activists accused Japan of not complying with the Potsdam Terms of Surrender by holding on to the Senkaku. This was just plain silly! Japan was defeated in WWII and HAD to comply with whatever the Allies ordered. Furthermore, the Allies did not fight and sacrifice during WWII only to fall down on the job and overlook territory when the spoils of war were being divided up? The Allies (Chiang Kai-Shek included) were clear about what territory Japan was to renounce and what Japan was to keep. And what Japan kept was to be occupied by the Allies and eventually returned after Japan had been rebuilt as a a peaceful democracy.

At first Diaoyu activists used the argument that the Senkakus were part of Taiwan since ancient time because Taiwanese fishermen had fished in the Senkaku since "ancient time!" But it was pointed out to the Diaoyu proponents that fishermen from many parts of Asia have fished in the Senkaku for centuries, including Japanese and the ancient Ryukyuans. It was pointed out that simply fishing in a body of water, or writing poetry about a geographical feature you've sailed past, or picking flowers on a rock doesn't confer ownership.

There are of course many other variants on the pro-Diaoyu arguments cobbled together over the past four decades. But back to the article posted . . .

It is no surprise that pro-Diaoyu forces continue to attempt to squeeze water from a stone and try to find any small scrap of "evidence" that the Senkaku were part of Taiwan since the Ming or Qing dynasties -- though Lin's attempt to "prove" the Chinese were on Taiwan before the Dutch really doesn't provide any historical perspective on the Senkaku as promised in the title! Since the fishing argument doesn't hold water, some Diaoyu supporters now claim that the Senkaku had been administered by Taiwan's Yilin County since the Qing Dynasty! Qing Dynasty? More like the CCP Dynasty since ca 2011. I would surmise that around 2011 some political advisor told the CCP or ROC to try to mimic effective control by lying that the Senkaku were under Yilin County since Qing. This is one of those stratagems or ruses that Professor Luttwak talks about. END

3003 chars.

Michael Turton said...

Great posts whirled peas. Its become tiresome -- you smash one fake claim and another appears, like this one with Zheng Zilong. The flow of shit is endless...


Whirled Peas said...

Correction/Addendum to my previous post re YILIN COUNTY. I should have first read Michael's blog post from Sept 29, 2012 called: " Paper on Parade: The Diaoyutai Islands on Taiwan’s Official Maps: Pre- and Post-1971." It's good reading: ( This article explains how Taiwan's maps were altered after OIL was discovered in the Senkakus.

Briefly, from 1946 to 1971 the Taiwan Statistical Abstract identified the northernmost point of Taiwan as PENGJIA ISLET, which is south of the Senkakus.

"But on Dec 2, 1971 the Executive Yuan announced that the Senkakus/Diaoyutai belonged to China and were administrated by Yilan county. The 1972 abstract was then duly altered, and Kuba Jima and Taisho Jima in the Senkakus were presented as the northernmost and easternmost points of Taiwan, respectively, thus creating a great trivia question for stumping the locals."

And accordingly, all the Taiwan official maps were hastily altered to reflect this transparent attempt at a greedy land grab!

So, the phoney claim about the Senkakus being administered by Yilin County actually originated in 1972 -- though I personally didn't hear this particular tall tale until ca 2011.

yankdownunder said...

"Please my fellow lefties, stop forwarding Other People's Imperialism."

It's a custom strongly supported by FDR(a saint of lefties).

"President Roosevelt also recalled that Stalin is familiar with the history of the Liuchiu Islands and that he is in complete agreement that they belong to China and should be returned to her"

If lefties hero,FDR had lived Okinawa and Taiwan would be part of China.

Anonymous said...

how do you interpret article 4 of the Taipei treaty: "It is recognized that all treaties, conventions and agreements concluded before December 9, 1941, between China and Japan have become null and void as a consequence of the war."

my interpretation is the Treaty of Shimonoseki was nulled, and this new fact takes priority over order number 1 with regards to Taiwan's ownership.

so Taiwan belongs to China because of article 4 ? i must be wrong because even the KMT don't use article 4 to justify its claims to Taiwan.

Michael Turton said...

""o Taiwan belongs to China because of article 4 ? i must be wrong because even the KMT don't use article 4 to justify its claims to Taiwan.""

The article merely nullifies previous treaties. It says nothing about who owns Taiwan. That is because it could not, the San Francisco Peace Treaty had already left that question open for the future.

Even in those days, you couldn't transfer sovereignty over a population to a new sovereign without a plebescite. Thus, the claim that the Treaty of Taipei gives Taiwan to the ROC is in part a way to prevent democracy from working on Taiwan.

Ironically if the Chiang regime had been less arrogant and more thoughtful, they probably could have won a plebescite in 1945. Fortunately for us the KMT's arrogance will always trump good sense and planning.


Anonymous said...

"The article merely nullifies previous treaties."

thanks. i thought if it was nulled, it reverted back to its previous state.

anyway, the Treaty of Taipei is now invalid: abrogated by the Japanese and not recognized by the PRC.

Readin said...

"right-wing Chinese expansionist propaganda"

"standard rightist Chinese reading"

"among Chinese right-wingers"

So you're talking about the pro-freedom pro-family-values limited-government anti-tax pro-life pro-liberty Chinese???


Michael Turton said...

Nope, just nationalists. The right-wingers in China are expansionists... but you are correct. Either terminology is confusing -- nationalist Chinese can mean only KMTers, while right-wingers is a null value for many Americans. The Europeans know what I am talking about though.

Readin said...

"Nope, just nationalists"

That helps. So then Lee Deng-hui and Chen Shui-bian are Taiwanese right-wingers.

Ben Goren said...

Such has been the total victory of rightist ideology in the US that most American's can't even perceive of it. It has become normative, the default from which other positions are judged and categorised. In this way, any discussion on class, gender, race, or environment can easily be undermined or derailed by characterising anything that challenges the dominance of right-wing ideology as 'un-American', against the 'American Dream', unpatriotic, lacking common sense, anti-individualist, and anti-economic and personal freedom. I can't imagine the trouble election analysts have when trying to explain shifts in voting patterns - oh wait its easy right? Hipsters, Blacks, Latinos, and women for Dems, elderly, fox-viewers, whites, and plutocrats for Reps. Just don't ask why because then you have to explain why so many Americans (and Brits and Taiwanese) consistently vote for parties that shaft them about 0.1 secs after getting their votes.

Readin said...

"Such has been the total victory of rightist ideology in the US that most American's can't even perceive of it. It has become normative"

This is part of the problem of using the left-right spectrum in the context of Taiwan and in an international discussion: I have no idea what Mr. Goren is talking about.

If by "right" you mean "nationalist", I would point out that we have a president and two of our largest politcal party that are pushing to keep our borders open to pretty much unlimited illegal immigration (and to amnesty those who come here illegally).

If by "right" you mean the things I listed earlier, "pro-freedom pro-family-values limited-government anti-tax pro-life pro-liberty ", our current president and his party are opposed to these things and both parties are seeking to replace American voters who value these things with voters from south of our border who don't (as can be seen by their voting patterns when they arrive).

Finally, if by "right" you're referring to free market capitalism in opposition to socialism, again we have a president and his party who oppose the right.

I think you have it pretty much reversed, Europe has so internalized government management of their lives that while the term "individual liberty" sounds nice they reject in horror at the idea of actually having it (much the way many Americans do).