Taiwan is its Own Motherland: Pelosi Part II
Friday, August 26, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.
The recent visit to Taiwan by US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi exposed the true colors and position of all involved with the de facto independent nation of Taiwan.
The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) as expected, responded negatively. It first sent some missiles over Taiwan and followed with the outlandish claim that its “territorial sovereignty” had been violated. Immediately following, its Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) produced a white paper The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification, to justify its hegemonic aims.
However, for anyone familiar with Taiwan’s history, the TAO’s claims of “indisputable facts” proved highly disputable and in many cases ludicrous and laughable.
Where to start?
First begin by going down the PRC’s rabbit hole of Taiwan’s need to return to the proverbial “motherland.” Follow that with the question: “How do you “reunify” two lands that have never been united in the first place?”
As for “motherland,” Taiwan’s 16 recognized indigenous tribes and “unrecognized” Pingpu all see Taiwan as their motherland. Most Taiwanese who were born there during the Japanese colonial era and afterwards also see it that way.
Many in fact, see Taiwan as “motherland” to the vast Austronesian Empire that stretches from Madagascar on the west to Easter Island on the east and from Taiwan in the north to New Zealand in the south.
Whether Taiwan is that motherland and empire source is an anthropological issue but Fengtian jade artifacts from eastern Taiwan have been found throughout southeast Asia, and by linguistics and DNA, Taiwanese are linked to the Austronesians. Who can forget, anthropologist Peter Bellwood’s catchy phrase of the “express train out of Taiwan” to Polynesia.
Since “time immemorial,” Taiwan has been totally separate from and predates any TAO “claims” that link it with the continent’s Warring States period. The TAO ironically argues that since Taiwan had been seen from the coast, then somehow visualization equals sovereignty.
However, the vast majority of Taiwanese (85 % by some estimates) share the indigenous DNA as opposed to those who later came with Chiang Kai-shek when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) fled the continent at the end of World War II.
There is more. The flags of numerous other nations have flown over the island. The Dutch and the Spanish were the first colonials. They were followed by the fleeing Ming loyalists and the pursuing Manchu Qing. The French flag made a brief appearance as well as the Taiwan Republic and finally there was Japan. The PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan.
The TAO paper paints Zheng Chenggong (aka Koxinga) as a General and Chinese hero, but in reality he was more a merchant. pirate, and on the run from the Manchus. He died of syphilis in the year he drove the Dutch off Taiwan after a nine month siege. Not long after that, the pursuing Manchus quickly brought his Ming loyalists back to the continent, but kept a base on Taiwan to prevent others from returning.
The TAO, white paper also ignores how China had been swallowed up by one of the four Khanates of the Mongol Empire. It stretched from present day Korea to Austria and included Russia and Ukraine. The Ming Dynasty later emerged as “China” with a much-reduced land base from its Mongol Khanate.
Also glossed was how the Manchus had been let in through the north east gates to quell a later Ming rebellion. Unfortunately the Manchus decided to stay. They conquered Ming China and went on also to conquer Tibet, Xinjiang and Mongolia. This set the boundaries of what is now called present day “China.”
Japan defeated the Manchus and gained Taiwan and Penghu through the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, thus Japan became the first nation to control and rule the whole island of Taiwan. It put its cultural stamp on the island.
A later determining point for Taiwan was the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty, which formally ended World War II. It left the US as the chief victor; it then set the terms of surrender and how Taiwan was to be dealt with. Japan surrendered sovereignty over Taiwan but did not name a recipient.
This important “detail” is only mentioned in a footnote in the TAO’s white paper. Neither the KMT nor the CCP were invited to sign the treaty nor was Russia, (then the USSR).
The USSR had entered the Pacific war at its very end. The US dropped an atom bomb on Hiroshima on August 6 and on Nagasaki on August 9. In between, on August 8 the USSR broke its April 1941, Neutrality Treaty with Japan. That Neutrality Treaty no doubt had influenced Japan’s decision to attack Pearl Harbor in December 1941. In short, the USSR came in for the spoils, yet ironically Russia still has disputes with Japan over its northern islands.
All this is behind the official US position on Taiwan, which to this day is “undecided.” This is why former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would say with confidence that Taiwan does not belong to China.
From that time, the Taiwanese have miraculously managed to wrest a democracy from the KMT one-party state in exile. This is also why there is a vast difference between the US’s “one China policy” and the PRC’s “one China principle.”
Other unsaid points include how UN Resolution 2758 tossed the “followers of Chiang Kai-shek” out of the UN but did not toss out the Taiwanese who still have not been given their right of post- colonial self-determination.
Taiwan fits all the requirements of a nation by the standards of Montevideo Convention where recognition by other nations is not a factor in determining statehood. Yet even there, Taiwan’s passport ranks #32 granting visa free or visa on arrival entry in 145 nations in contrast to China’s passport, which ranks #64 with only 80 nations.
Finally, China does not abide by international rules; it broke its promise with Hong Kong; it lost its case in its UNCLOS dispute with the Philippines but has not accepted that loss. And in the name of the “motherland” it commits cultural genocide in Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia.
Taiwan is not part of China. At the end of the day, after reading the TAO white paper, anyone who knows Taiwan history would ask: “Is that the best you’ve got and all that you have?”
The PRC leans on former Chairman Mao Zedong’s argument that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
Taiwan does not accept that and responds that one cannot “reunify” that which has never been united in the first place.