no. 1: TAIWAN
HAS ALWAYS BEEN PART OF CHINA. Reality: Taiwan has its own
history, language and culture. Taiwan was under the rule of
the Manchu Dynasty for only eight years, from 1887 to 1895.
In 1895, it was ceded in perpetuity to Japan under the Treaty
no. 2: TAIWAN IS A RENEGADE PROVINCE OF CHINA. Reality:
In 1945 Taiwan was part of the Japanese Empire. After Japan's
defeat, Taiwan was occupied on behalf of the Allies by Chiang
Kai-shek’s Nationalists who were fighting a losing Civil War
on the mainland. Taiwan and its people had nothing to do with
the war. In 1949, Chiang lost and moved his government to
the island and subjected the people of the island to 40 years
of Martial Law. During those 40 years, the Kuomintang authorities
kept the anachronistic fiction alive that they were the legitimate
government of all of China, and considered Taiwan a province
of the China they didn't rule.
no. 3: THE FUTURE OF TAIWAN SHOULD BE DECIDED BY THE
CHINESE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE TAIWAN STRAIT. Reality: The large
majority of the people on the island (85 percent) do not consider
themselves Chinese but Taiwanese. They have their own language,
culture and history, and are as distinct from the Chinese
as the Americans are distinct from the British. During discussions
at the San Francisco Peace Treaty conference of 1952, delegates
determined that the future status of Taiwan should be decided
in accord with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
The Charter of the UN states that one of the purposes of the
UN is "to develop friendly relations among nations based on
respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination
no. 4: U.S. TENSION WITH CHINA IS CAUSED BY TAIWAN'S
ATTEMPTS TO ENHANCE ITS INTERNATIONAL STATUS; in particular
by President Lee Teng-hui's June 1995 visit to Cornell University.
Reality: Mr. Lee earlier visited the Philippines, Singapore,
Indonesia and Thailand. China's reaction was minimal. Only
when Mr. Lee visited his alma mater Cornell -- he did not
come to Washington -- did the Chinese Communist leaders in
Beijing manufacture a crisis atmosphere.
no. 5: ADVOCACY OF TAIWAN INDEPENDENCE WILL PROVOKE
A CHINESE ATTACK ON TAIWAN. Reality: The government of the
PRC never ruled Taiwan, not even for one day. The "Taiwan
is part of China"-line is a remnant of an outdated fiction
kept alive during the past forty years by the Chinese Communists
and the Chinese Nationalists. Reality is that Taiwan has always
been a separate country.
independence is as provocative as American independence was
to the British in 1776. Still, American colonists decided
to write the Declaration of Independence. Why? "Life, Liberty
and the Pursuit of Happiness." These are precisely the ideals
the Taiwanese aspire to.
During its 400 year history, Taiwan was never a part of
China. It is a free, democratic and de facto independent country,
and should be fully recognized by the international community