To maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they presently are, but when it comes to describing the situation in the Taiwan Strait, the “status quo” is never equilibrium, it is indeed a hoax.
“Strategic ambiguity” is a term widely used by the US government officials to describe Taiwan’s legal status. On page 4 of this CRS report dated Feb. 2006 on Taiwan’s Political Status, it has detailed description of the “strategic ambiguity”. As a matter of fact, the “status quo” as interpreted by the US is based upon its policy of strategic ambiguity. Following this policy, Taiwan’s UN referendum was heavily criticized, but China’s every hostile move to annex Taiwan was condoned.
The policy makers in the US State Department think that by keeping Taiwan’s legal status ambiguous, it has served the purpose of preserving peace in the Taiwan Strait, but this policy has totally trampled the basic rights of Taiwanese to participate in international organizations, such as the WHO (the most crucial health rights), and in the meantime ignored China’s gradual annexation of Taiwan through unilateral declaration of territorial rights on international organizations’ documents, example below (click the Cached link as Taiwan’s MAC office under Ma Ying-jeou's leadership is trying to appease China by self-censoring these type of documents)
MAC: The United States should respect and understand that the ...China presumptuously includes Taiwan's ports under its territorial ... where China included some of Taiwan's ports in the list of its domestic ports, ...www.mac.gov.tw/english/english/news/07117.htm - Cached - Similar
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on its website the list of qualified ports under the International Health Regulations (IHR), where China included some of Taiwan's ports in the list of its domestic ports, which fully revealed that the political oppression and interference that China has imposed onTaiwan's international space and sovereign status has reached an extreme level. In response to this, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has strongly expressed its dissatisfaction and condemnation.
Further, the WHO’s apartheid against Taiwanese caused many problems, the immediate effect of this was evidenced by Taiwan not being able to receive prompt assistance from the WHO’s health authority to control the SARS epidemics in 2003, the delay of assistance (while the WHO contemplating for China’s approval?!) caused many unnecessary deaths.
Later the secret Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between China and the WHO’s officials further damaged Taiwan’s autonomy by allowing China to “manage” the procedures in which how WHO should or should not interact with Taiwan, instead of its initial intent of allowing Taiwan’s meaningful participation in health meetings and international cooperation tasks without Taiwan being an actual member.
Facing China’s suppression of Taiwan’s international space (a must read link), the so-called meaningful participation was replaced by all kinds of Chinese tactics to prevent the participation by Taiwanese delegations. Tactics used include Taiwanese officials were informed at the last minute for health meetings that they either missed the deadline of registration for the event or could not prepare themselves properly for the event; in many instances, the event host countries, after being pressured by Chinese authority, simply didn’t grant visas to Taiwanese delegations. If Taiwanese delegations were allowed to participate in an event, China would designate their choice by picking their preferred candidates to represent Taiwan for the event.
The participation of Taiwan in the WHA meeting as an observer this past June was simply a plot, a political victory for China. Participation in a week’s meeting as an observer does not in reality protect Taiwanese universal health rights because only with Beijing's approval could Taiwan observe the WHA meeting. The fact that Taiwan must re-apply each year for its WHA observer status implies that Beijing wants to hold leverage on future Taiwanese leaders depending on their stance towards Beijing.
The strategic ambiguity is a total failure in terms of protecting the basic universal rights of Taiwanese.
If a person was born in Taiwan, he or she cannot work for any UN or its sub organizations even if he or she holds any other country’s passport.
I will give an example:
A friend of mine was born in Taiwan to a missionary couple stationed there. My friend does not live in Taiwan anymore. When she was applying for a humanitarian job from some UN sub organization, on the application form she had to choose, among the pre-entered choices, the country of her birth. She was born in Taiwan but because the country “Taiwan” was simply not included in the choices, she didn’t know what to do. Immediately she faced the problem of leaving this question blank (but it was a required entry), or just picked any arbitrary country on the form (that would be lying against her passport entry), or abandoned the application? Why shouldn’t Taiwan be included in the choices, is Taiwan an entity in the outer space? Does the strategic ambiguity address this problem? No!
There is no need to mention those Taiwanese people born in Taiwan and carry a ROC passport who wish to contribute their talent in the UN or its sub-organizations because no matter how gifted or how distinguished they may be, they are doomed to be excluded from working for the UN. And Taiwan does have the technical know-how and many talented people who could contribute their expertise.
Taiwanese want a locally-designed constitution to consolidate domestic democracy replacing the imposed ROC constitution, but the US opposed because that would be a change of the status quo.
Taiwanese have no rights to a nationality of their choice, holding a passport called ROC, an occupying authority that double as Chinese exile government with only a few countries recognizing it.
If Taiwanese do not challenge these unequal treatments, how can they obtain the basic rights inscribed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
Similarly, if there were no abolishment of slavery and no civil rights movement from the predecessors, I wonder if president Obama would enjoy the status he enjoys today?
The status-quo is shifting bit by bit, tilting in favor of China because the US executive branch allows it to happen, it never stays at equilibrium.
The most recent omission of the Taiwan Relations Act on the written statement in Beijing by president Obama coupled with his indecision on the F-16 C/D jet sales are an indication of another shift, which may have been pre-negotiated by Secretary of State H. Clinton back in her February visit to China. Is this the 3rd round of betrayal after 1947 and 1979?
Due to US’s other domestic and global interests in which China’s cooperation are being sought, Taiwan is being bargained away little by little leaving the rights of Taiwanese citizens unprotected.
Why do the US government officials make foreign policies that often trample the human rights of citizens of other countries? While I don’t agree with innocent US citizens being held as hostages on many confrontational situations abroad, but how can anyone help when their government officials designed foreign policies to invite danger for its citizens?And for Taiwanese who believe in the choice of keeping the status quo, this post is a reminder for them to review what has happened from keeping the so called “status quo”.