Isn't Taiwan independent?
April 08, 2007
Comment: The following editorial in the China Post includes a categorical assertion that "Taiwan is an independent, sovereign state."
The fact that an ostensibly pro reunification oriented "tong pai" newspaper would make such an obtuse remark is one of the most serious problems on today's Taiwan -- hopeless befuddlement about the real world status of the Chinese province of Taiwan relative to the Republic of China (ROC).
It's bad enough that the Pan Green camp conflates Taiwan with the ROC. After all, the Pan Green camp is committed to the overthrow of the ROC and the establishment of an ROT (Republic of Taiwan). It has every reason to conflate Taiwan with the ROC. It has every reason to obliterate the distinction between Taiwan and the ROC.
But what reason does the ostensibly pro reunification oriented China Post have for doing so?
The fact that some "Pan Blues" seem to be as confused about this critical distinction as Taiwan independence fundamentalists is far more worrisome.
The simple fact is, Taiwan is not an independent, sovereign state. Taiwan is merely part of a independent, sovereign state -- the Republic of China.
Taiwan is not synonymous with the Republic of China, and must not be treated as if it was.
Ordinary Americans can be forgiven for dismissing these distinctions as unworthy of their attention, but ostensibly "pro reunification media" on Taiwan really ought to know better. These constitutional law distinctions lie at the very heart of the cross-straits conflict, and may spell the difference between lasting peace and nuclear catastrophe.
These legal distinctions are not subject to "interpretation." They are explicit provisions of the Republic of China Constitution. Taiwan independence leaders know this better than anyone else. They know it, and they hate it. They might try to deceive their fundamentalist supporters about Taiwan's current status. They might repeat the catechism, "Taiwan is already independent!" But in their heart of hearts they know that until and unless they author an new constitution and declare formal independence, Taiwan will remain an integral part of China.
The answer to the China Post's rhetorical question "Isn't Taiwan independent?" is:
"No, it isn't, and a newspaper named The China Post ought to know better."
The Republic of China is not Taiwan
Isn't Taiwan independent?
The China Post
Taiwan is an independent, sovereign state. But three academics who have drafted a "second republic" constitution do not seem to think so. If they do, they shouldn't have written a self contradictory passage in the preamble of the draft constitution, the one which President Chen Shui-bian believes is "timely," "apt" and "viable."
That passage says the Republic of China was founded in 1911. That is a slip of the pen, perhaps. The Republic of China was proclaimed on Jan. 1, 1912. The Chinese Revolution that toppled the Manchu Qing dynasty and put an end to China's monarchical rule took place in 1911. Practically everyone in Taiwan who has learned history knows that. Are the three constitutional scholars "old professors" who are supposed to be absent-minded? Or are they trying to rewrite Chinese history?
That aside, the professors wrote into their draft constitution Taiwan and China are two different countries and the people in the former have the final say in their country's future. Any change to the political relationship between the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China must be decided by negotiations between the two sides and subject to approval of the people of Taiwan, they added.
Do they have to state in the constitution the universally acknowledged inalienable right of the people to determine the future of their country? We don't think the constitution of any country in the world makes mention of that self determination right. But the professors seem to forget no independent, sovereign state has to negotiate a change in its political relationship with any other country. A sovereign state makes decisions on any change in foreign relations by and for itself. In fact, there is no political relationship between two independent, sovereign states that needs to be changed. Negotiations are necessary between a suzerain and a vassal or between the central government and a province, if they want to change their relationship. Do the three learned professors regard the relationship between China and Taiwan as one between a suzerain and a vassal or between a sovereign state and one of its provinces as Beijing claims?