Bandits and Thieves and Why Ma Ying-jeou Never Passed the Bar Exam?

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Saturday October 11, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

YThe foreign media which seldom does its homework about matters Taiwan often describes Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou as the Harvard educated lawyer. However, though Ma did attend Harvard Law School, and did graduate from that school with an S.J.D., the fact remains that Ma never did pass the bar exam in the USA where he worked for law firms. (Would that be a reason why he returned to Taiwan?) But then, Ma also did not pass the more difficult bar exam in Taiwan where as a darling of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) he would have had a somewhat more favored status.

Why all the fuss about Ma the Lawyer? Certainly there can be numerous and varied reasons why people both do not pass the bar exam and/or why they avoid even venturing the risk of taking it and failing. Nonetheless, in a recent visit to Taiwan's President and Vice President Records Museum, Ma may have provided a good explanation as to why he never passed or possibly even never risked the bar exam. During that visit, Ma in true eloquent fashion stated that Taiwan belonged not to Taiwan but to the Republic of China (ROC). That is the same ROC that Ma claims the People's Republic of China (PRC) belongs to as well as Mongolia and Tibet. How so?

Ma further went on to say that the ROC has had sovereignty over Taiwan since 1943 when a press release (AKA the Cairo Declaration) was signed by Chiang Kai-shek, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill and should be treated as a "treaty" in international law. Of course! Presume there was a question on the bar exam such as this, "A press release is the same as an international treaty and has the same binding power, True or False?" What do you think that Ma's answer would be? Or, "True or False, a statement of intent by powers involved in a war has the binding power of a treaty regardless of who wins the war and when?" What would Ma's answer be?

Help me out in my history please, but I do believe that the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1952 some eleven years later did not specify to whom Taiwan should be given. Could we say that given the precedent of the Cairo Declaration press release there may have been a different intent as to the reason for the press release? Who should Taiwan be given to? Could one possibility be the people of Taiwan?

Having an audience of the loyal KMT followers, Ma continued to explain matters; Ma stated that though Japan had gotten Taiwan from the Manchu Qing Dynasty by the Treaty of Shimonoseki (1895), Japan had really "stolen" Taiwan from China, by treaty of course.

Again help me out in my history, but who are bandits and thieves? Did not the Manchus step in and "steal" Ming China when the rebel Li Zicheng was trying to "steal" Ming China from the Emperor? This was the time when Taiwan belonged to the Dutch. At that time did not Ming general Wu Sangui ask the Manchus to come in and help out with these bandits of Li? Or was there a treaty or at least a press release explaining things? I don't recall.

Anyway, it appears that the Manchus then went on and proceeded to "steal" Tibet, Mongolia, and Xinjiang; they also occupied the west coast of Taiwan as well and repatriated any Ming loyalists found there. So when Japan "stole" Taiwan from China, it was by the Treaty of Shimonoseki. That is real stealing of course, the others don't count.

Some may even want to go back to when the Mongolians stole everything from Korea to Hungary, but let's not go there; let's focus on the Japanese, for according to Ma, they are the real thieves of Taiwan. There are of course other bandits out there such as those in the PRC, but then the ROC did end the Period of National Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion in 1991. So do we still call them the Communist Bandits even if they belong to the ROC? Or is it the ROC that is the real bandit here? I guess we better ask Ma the Lawyer.