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Friday, April 3, 2009

What’s missing in the Taiwan Relations Act?

A Taiwanese American’s concept:

“… develop a contingency plan to empower an international commission to conduct and supervise a plebiscite on Taiwan under the right circumstances to allow the Taiwanese people to exercise their basic human right to decide their future without outside pressure or internal subversion.” said Li Thian-hok (link to see what the Taiwanese wanted back in the 50’s) in his op-ed commenting on the 30th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act.

A European parliamentarian’s concept:

“If China wants to test whether it represents Taiwanese people, it should allow a referendum to be held in Taiwan so that Taiwanese people can determine whether China represents Taiwan.  I find it inconceivable that an authoritarian dictatorship, the People's Republic of China, can represent 23 million Taiwanese people who live in democracy and freedom.” said Graham Watson, MEP Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament.

But contrast to the above two,

a concept of total ignorance by American politicians, past and present, of the rights of Taiwanese people followed,

“the fact remains “that the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to resolve.”" said  Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, Chairman US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia (see how his performance is judged at home), the Pacific and the Global Environment, in his rebuttal to a Taipeitimes’ report and an editorial.

Who has rights to decide the future status of Taiwan?

I think a plebiscite on Taiwan supervised by an independent international human rights committee (I have no faith in current UN operation) outside of the ROC’s constitution is long overdue.

The US brought to Taiwan the KMT’s ROC administration after WWII as a temporary governing authority on behalf of the Allied Forces, then betrayed the Taiwanese by continuing its support of the Chiang Kai-Shek’s KMT regime after the suppression of the 228 Incident in 1947, continued its betrayal a second time by Henry Kissinger’s visit to China (highly recommended research link) on the Shanghai Communiqué point 12, and may be contemplating on a third betrayal.

Why do we see this clause as a betrayal to the rights of the Taiwanese people?  Because this clause, while addressing the views of Chinese people on both sides of the Strait, had failed to include the majority of the people in Taiwan who would never identify themselves as Chinese, in the decision making process of their future fate.

After all, we never call the American, Canadian, and Australian people “British”, even though their ancestry may have come from the United Kingdom many generations ago.  Not to mention that the Taiwanese people’s ancestries are quite complex with the indigenous, Han, and the European factors.

If China could claim Taiwan as an inseparable part of its motherland, so could today’s Mongolia claim any part of the historical Mongol Empire, including some countries in Europe; and so could Turkey on what used to be the Ottoman Empire, including some countries in south eastern Europe (Greece for example) and north eastern Africa etc.

If a Taiwanese was to be asked of his opinion on the possible amendment to the Taiwan Relations Act, a clause including the Taiwanese people’s rights (and therefore a plebiscite) is the one to be added.  Why should we be governed under the ROC’s Constitution, one that discriminates the local residents and in favor of the people brought along by the exiled Chinese government?

The Taiwanese people have never had any representation since after WWII, and the ROC administration cannot represent them.

A referendum on the 23 million people in Taiwan is the only correct concept to solve the misfortune brought upon the Taiwanese people by Allied Forces, and is a peaceful resolution to the unfinished, undetermined, delayed process that conforms to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In conclusion, I would like to refer the readers to this blog’s post, which quoted me correctly the voice of the Taiwanese people, and was chosen by him to be one important post among twenty selected marking his 200th post (indeed an interesting blog on international politics).

Yes, this is a repeated advice to the politicians, especially those in Washington D.C. on the 30th anniversary of the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act:

“Western countries that claim to support democracy and freedom must be much more assertive in their support for Taiwan’s right to self-determination… Their prevailing lip-service to the status quo fails to recognize that China’s missiles are the destabilizing factor in the Taiwan Strait… their failure to support democratic referendums on Taiwan betrays their hypocrisy and cowardice.”

Note: I am a member, a volunteer staff, of the FAPA Europe, not of the FAPA, there was an e-mail request from me to the Taipeitimes for correcting my title, but it has not been corrected so far.  I wrote my title as FAPA Europe Researcher to mean (FAPA Europe’s) (Researcher), but it was mistakenly interpreted as (FAPA’s) (Europe Researcher) because the organization FAPA Europe was not well-known, and the way I wrote down was not so clear.  Sorry for the mix-up. 

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