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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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Taiwan's legal status has its place inscribed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 15

Preface
Translation is a difficult job, and the purpose of this post is by no means to criticize either the translator or the newspaper's editor, but rather to raise concerns over the Taiwan's prosecutors' active pursuit of Roger C.S. Lin and former President Chen Shui-bian with charges of treason following the KMT's misinterpretation of the recent outcome of the US Supreme Court's dismissal of Lin v. USA and to stress the rights of Taiwanese to choose their own nationality.

Main content
The editorial page of the Friday, October 23, 2009 Taipei Times has a translation of a piece by Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) chairman Chen Yi-shen (陳儀深) titled "Taiwan's history has no place in US courts" which discusses the results of the case of Roger C. S. Lin (林志昇) et al v. United States of America. After reading it through, I wasn't quite sure whether the author's message had been translated completely or correctly.

Fortunately, I was able to find the original Chinese-language piece to compare with the original as well as another related piece. I don't know if the changes were due to a lack of space in the newspaper or for other reasons, but I just don't know if it was such a good idea to cut off some of the author's words in a translated piece.

The following is the comparison of a paragraph from the original alongside the Taipei Times' translation. Note that the text I've colored red in the original is missing from the translation:
不過,中華民國政府流亡台灣雖然曾經得到美國的承認與協助,但是「台灣與澎湖的地位問題迄未確定(其實就是不屬中國的意思)」,為何每在關鍵時刻如一九五四年、一九七一年乃至最近的二○○四、二○○七年,美國官方都一再表述?必須從上述的背景才能理解。何況自從一九七九年台灣關係法生效以後,連中華民國「政府」也不被承認了。在國內,一九九九年民進黨「台灣前途決議文」對中華民國的暫時承認,實與九○年代李登輝的民主化台灣化密切相關,如今馬英九的路線顯然與李登輝時代背道而馳,如此下去確實有重新釐清、重新「決議」的必要。

[Taipei Times' translation:]
While the US recognized and supported the ROC government in exile on Taiwan, US officials reiterated at major times such as 1954, 1971, 2004 and 2007 that the status of Taiwan and the Pescadores (Penghu) was yet to be determined. [My note: The reference to the status being "undetermined" means that neither Taiwan nor Penghu belonged to China from the outset. The author was trying to say that if it belonged to China, Taiwan's status would not have been said to be "undetermined." This crucial phrase from the original piece was either not translated to begin with or was omitted by the editor.]

Why would they have made these comments if Taiwan really was an unincorporated territory under USMG? [My note: This whole sentence didn't exist in the original text, but was added to explain the meaning of "undetermined," and I think the omission of the above phrase and the addition of that "explanatory" sentence was not very fair to the author.]

Also, why has the US not dared to refer to our government as the ROC "government" and simply addressing it as the ROC ever since the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) took effect in 1979? [My note: If the phrase "the ROC government has not been recognized since 1979" was translated out instead of simply quoting the word "government," the author's idea would have been conveyed more clearly here. See also the "Editor's note" at the bottom of this post.]

We have to understand the issue of Taiwan's status in light of the abovementioned background. The Resolution on Taiwan's Future ratified by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 1999 posed new directions for Taiwan's future and this was closely linked with democratization and localization actions taken by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in the 1990s. However, President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) current line is in complete contradiction with Lee-era policies and there really is now a definite need for things to be clearly reviewed and new "resolutions" to be made.
Below, I will share my thoughts derived from reading this piece.

Analysis
All we can see from the case of Lin et al v. US is that the US court does not want to give a ruling involving US foreign policy as it has no jurisdiction over a matter that is to be determined by the US executive branch. But the fact remains that neither the US nor any other country in the world (except the KMT-ROC) has ever recognized the transfer of Formosa's sovereignty from Japan to the ROC. Even then-ROC foreign minister Yeh Kung-chao admitted that the delicate international situation makes it that Taiwan and Penghu do not belong to China. They have the intention of settling the status of Formosa pending on the outcome of the Chinese Civil War. But in the meantime, as Taiwanese opposed the KMT's dictatorial rule and Taiwanese nationalism evolved, local residents' rights as guaranteed by Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) will have to be respected.

Unfortunately, this simple rejection of US Supreme Court to review the previous court ruling of lack of jurisdiction is being taken by the KMT-ROC as meaning that the US recognizes the ROC's sovereignty over Formosa, and therefore in active pursuit of charging Lin and former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) with treason. That is just too much!

The US must react to this latest judicial nonsense. Otherwise, people in Taiwan doing research on Taiwan's legal status could all-too-easily be charged with treason by the biased KMT-ROC kangaroo court for simply not recognizing the ROC's sovereignty over Taiwan. The KMT-ROC is scared only of the US. I wonder why. (A hidden boss?) It is OK for US officials to say the ROC is not a country or that the ROC has no sovereignty over Taiwan. But it is not OK for the Japanese representative to say so. KMT legislators want the Ma administration to evict the current Japanese representative. Worse still, Taiwanese residents are definitely not allowed to speak the truth in this matter. They might be charged with treason when, ironically, the people whom public opinion says would deserve this the most would only be people like Ma Ying-jeou, Lien Chan, etc.

After the war, the Allies did send the KMT-ROC to administer Formosa, but as early as 1947, Formosan residents showed signs of discontent (which, actually, was building-up long before February 28, 1947) due to the KMT administration's corruption and its discrimination against local residents. But the problem was not addressed immediately. The US supported Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and ignored the discontent simply because he was an ally who fought communism.

It's too late to reverse history, and too late to comfort those families whose loved ones were executed by dictator Chiang during Taiwan's White Terror. But it is never too late to speak one's conscience now and to support the rights of Taiwanese as guaranteed by the UDHR. Taiwanese have the right to a nationality of their choice, and since there is no longer a Chinese Civil War, mainlanders who prefer to go back to embrace their original motherland are free to go, and any mainlanders who wish to become Taiwanese citizens are free to stay. But forcing all Taiwanese to become Chinese citizens -- whether it be citizens of the no-longer-recognized ROC or the currently-recognized PRC -- is totally unacceptable.

Contrary to its founding principles (especially noting the one that says that governments "deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed,"), the US government has ignored human rights of others while giving priority to its own national and international interests. As democracy and human rights developed in Taiwan and have been in conflict with the US foreign interests, the human rights of Taiwanese have been ignored again and again. There is a consistent trail of betrayal of these principles.

It is inevitable that a referendum must be held by Taiwan's residents to resolve the future status of Taiwan. Then the people be guaranteed their rights to move freely according to their choice of nationality. It is not like the US says, that as long as it is resolved peacefully between the people on two sides of the Strait (adding one condition: that the US's China policy does not support Taiwan independence to give a tilted favor obviously towards the evil human rights abuser, CCP-PRC), anything goes.

I simply hope that countries -- especially the European ones listed in the UN's "Human Development Report" (15 of the top 20 are in Europe) -- can soon realize that if the CCP-PRC government can threaten Taiwan with missiles now and can even extend its influence onto Australian and German soil now, the CCP-PRC will continue to be increasingly encouraged to increase its bullying around the world.

So, Europeans, speak up, and support Taiwanese rights to a nationality of their choice through a referendum. No one should be denied the rights guaranteed to them by the UDHR. No country's status should remain undetermined for more than half a century just because it suits some other country's strategic plan.

Further references:
* The ROC didn't include Taiwan in its territory in the 1925 draft of its constitution which listed all the provinces of China:
Though the constitution promulgated in 1946 did not define the territory of the Republic of China, while the draft of the constitution of 1925 individually listed the provinces of the Republic of China and Taiwan was not among them, since Taiwan was part of Japan as the result of the Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1895.
* An excerpt from the Starr Memo of 1971 states:
The same language was used in Article 2 of the Treaty of Peace between China and Japan [My note: AKA the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty or the Treaty of Taipei] signed on April 28, 1952. In neither treaty did Japan cede this area to any particular entity. As Taiwan and Pescadores are not covered by any existing international disposition, sovereignty over the area is an unsettled question subject to future international resolution.
Editor's note on problematic translation
Once again, from the Taipei Times version:
Also, why has the US not dared to refer to our government as the ROC "government" and simply addressing it as the ROC ever since the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) took effect in 1979?
This sentence makes it sound like the US refers to Taiwan as the "ROC" even today. The fact is that in the TRA (whose "T" stands for "Taiwan"), the "ROC" is basically consigned to the dustbin of history from the US perspective. Each and every reference to the ROC in that document talk about "the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the Republic of China prior to January 1, 1979."

(This post was edited by Tim Maddog.)

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

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Referendum on the Referendum Law?

At a recent private meeting of the Anti-Gambling Alliance featured a Swiss gentleman, Bruno Kaufman, who as Director of the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe had some interesting ideas:
  • Taiwanese should petition for a referendum on the 2003 Referendum law, a vote on which coinciding with the 2012 Presidential election because only then will turnout be sufficient to come close to meeting the current 50% of all voters threshold.
  • The referendum could be worded as follows (my idea here) "Do you agree that the threshold for the Referendum Law should be lowered to 50% of all participating voters and that review of referendum petitions must be made by a body independent of the Executive Yuan and Legislative Yuan?"
  • Following the success of the Penghu referendum, more localities should be encouraged to raise petitions and hold referendums on critical local issues.
  • The proposed Erlin Science Park chemical waste controversy  in Changhua is a good example of an issue that could go to a referendum.
  • Referendums are therefore critical direct democracy tools which can first be used to curb the impact of the industrial-political complex and protect the environment.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

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Support for Taiwan's immediate independence increases by more than 25%

... in just five months!

UPDATE 2a: The title and subheadline of this post [originally: "Support for Taiwan's immediate independence nearly triples ...in just six months!" -- based on a comparison with the MAC survey quoted below] has been changed to reflect a better comparison with a survey done by the same pollster the month after the MAC poll. Details from that poll and a link to the original are included below in "Update 2b." [/update 2a]

An article from Now News shows that a poll released today by the deep-blue Global Views Magazine (遠見雜誌) has some very interesting numbers related to the desire for Taiwan's formal independence:
民調顯示,19.0%民眾贊成台灣應該儘快獨立、10.3%認應先維持現狀再獨立(急獨與緩獨合計29.3%),40.7%先維持現狀再看情形、 11.0%永遠維持現狀(維持現狀合計為51.7%),4.3%先維持現狀再和大陸統一、4.0%台灣應該儘快和大陸統一(緩統與急統合計為8.3%),與馬總統執政以後,民眾贊成統一的比率並無變動。

[Tim Maddog translation:]
The survey says that 19.0% support independence as soon as possible. 10.3% want to preserve the status quo for now but declare independence later. (Supporters of immediate independence and delayed independence amount to 29.3%.) 40.7% want to preserve the status quo and decide later, while 11% want to preserve the status quo indefinitely (totaling 51.7% in favor of preserving the status quo [sic]). 4.3% want to preserve the status quo but unify with the mainland [sic] later. 4.0% of Taiwanese want to unify with the mainland [sic] as soon as possible. (Those in favor of unification add up to 8.3%.) After President Ma took office, there has been no change in support for unification.
UPDATE 1: Here's a direct link to the latest Global Views survey [464 KB PDF file]. [/update 1]

UPDATE 3: Here's the English version of the Global Views survey [152 KB PDF file]. [/update 3]

Just six month's ago, Taiwan's so-called Mainland Affairs Council (大陸委員會) did a survey which said that "6.7%" supported independence as soon as possible [12 KB PDF file].

A Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) survey from April 17 to 20, 2009 in which only 8.8% state a desire for unification with China
A Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) survey from April 17 to 20, 2009
in which only 8.8% state a desire for Taiwan's unification with China.

UPDATE 2b: A May 13 - 15, 2009 survey from Global Views [744 KB PDF file] says:
[...] 15.0%贊成儘速獨立 [...]

[Tim Maddog translation:]
[...] 15% support immediate independence [...]
The current figure of 19% support for immediate independence would therefore amount to an increase of 26.66% (a four percentage point increase from the earlier 15%). The total support for unification in the May 2009 poll amounted to 8.3% -- precisely the same as the most recent poll. [/update 2b]

China's Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) -- chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait -- is coming to Taiwan for talks (and possibly to sign agreements) with Straits [sic] Exchange Foundation (海峽交流基金會) chairman and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) vice-chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) this December. Will you be out there protesting?

You are not in the minority. You'd better let the world hear your voices!

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

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Trampling the UN Declaration of Human Rights for 60 years

Chinese officials celebrate -- regular Chinese citizens, not so much

The United Nations (UN) will soon be celebrating the 61st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (ratified December 10, 1948), a declaration which says that "the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." The People's Republic of China (PRC), on the other hand, just proudly celebrated 60 years (and still counting) of trampling over the UDHR.


PRC missiles with which to enforce that belligerent country's economic terrorism and hegemonic desires
PRC missiles on display during their National Day
Screenshot from SETN (三立新聞)
(Click to enlarge)

The Empire State Building was at the center of a controversy for cheerleading Chinese Communism by lighting up the building's spire in red and yellow on China's national day. Such offensive behavior demonstrates that people with corporate minds but without business ethics do exist in capitalist America. The good side of this is that America is a country where there is enough freedom for others (Americans and foreigners alike) who don't agree with economic terrorism and cultural genocide to express their support for the oppressed people of Tibet.

Here's a YouTube video of a protester discussing the lighting ceremony of the Empire State Building in honor of the 60th anniversary of China's revolution and another one showing protesters outside the building Saying NO to China's Empire! Bravo to the Tibetans who stood up for themselves and fought back by projecting pro-Tibet messages from the base of the Empire State building onto other buildings in the vicinity!

On the same day, the blog of the conservative Heritage Foundation suggested that the Empire State Building should be lit up in blue and red to "honor the 'free' Chinese," but two wrongs don't make a right. Such a display would be the second half -- within 10 days! -- of a double insult to the people of Taiwan who suffered the 228 Massacre (二二八大屠殺) at the hands of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), a party which is now preparing to surrender to China -- taking the majority Taiwanese population along as hostages.

The people of Taiwan do not need the Empire State Building to be lit up in any color for them. We simply need our rights to build a normal nation to be respected.

Meanwhile, the Internet was shut off in Xinjiang (新疆, AKA Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, 新疆維吾爾自治區, East Turkestan, شەرقىي تۈركىستان, 東突厥斯坦) in early July and has still not been turned back on nearly three months later.

Chinese authorities simply don't want to give their citizens any freedom of expression. China's domestic Internet companies like Tencent currently has to share their records with the Chinese authorities as requested.

[See more, very interesting, and link-filled related information from Rebecca MacKinnon and Radio Free Asia on how Chinese authorities launched the latest cyber wars against their own citizens -- and more -- in the "References" section below.]

In addition to China's declaration of cyberwarfare against its own citizens, hackers known to the PRC government also attacked cultural events sites like those of the international film festivals in Melbourne, Australia and Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Some Chinese citizens do dare to stage demonstrations against their authorities, but they only do so because Hong Kong has received more tolerant treatment from the rest of China. Watch a video of Hong Kong's police standing by observing demonstrators demanding more freedom and respect for human rights without harassing them (noticeable at the 0:38 and 0:57 marks in the video). The protest against the nearby Chinese National Day celebration (中國國慶 香港議員示威抗議) was organized by some Hong Kong councilors.

In contrast, under the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration, Taiwan's police force has treated citizens with double standards, allowing some people to celebrate and parade the PRC's five-star flag while interrupting and then arresting a patriotic demonstrator as he burned the PRC flag. (video: KMT-ROC police suppress a patriot in favor of their enemy). Shame on Taiwan's police!

However, the same day that China was parading a fake "Taiwan float" in its National Day celebration, across the Strait thousands of real Taiwanese were attending screenings of Kadeer's "The 10 Conditions of Love" in 5 major cities across Taiwan. (The "Kaohsiung" link 3 paragraphs above has a preview of "The 10 Conditions of Love.") Many others viewed their beautiful island via a link posted on Michael Turton's blog, The View from Taiwan. Check out the superb quality of Taiwan's High Definition video -- the clearest video I've ever seen on YouTube.

China, already armed with nuclear weapons and continuing to increase its military spending, is also known for its cyber spying all over the globe and its disrespect for intellectual property rights. The potential merger of the world's two richest parties -- the KMT and the CCP -- is the biggest threat to world peace economically as well as militarily since the Chinese government's daily operations need not be subject to the approval of a parliament, and without transparency, they can do anything they want to undermine global security.

Remember also how Beijing blocked WHO assistance to Taiwan for two months during the SARS crisis of 2003? Remember how China spread the avian flu by smuggling chicken? These are the kinds of examples from which the world should have learned a lesson, but it seems that too few people have.

At least one person has jokingly commented:
[...] maybe China owns the Empire State building now, lol. ???
If the Chinese haven't bought it yet, they might just do so in the not-so-distant future. This is what we call economic terrorism!

But, if the world's politicians wake up and support China's true ambassadors -- the human rights activists perishing in Chinese jails -- then maybe soon Chinese and foreigners can together celebrate a responsible Chinese government that poses no threat to world peace.

Stop appeasing to CCP's bullying around the globe, and help Chinese citizens build their dream nation, one that respects the UDHR!

References:
* A March 2009 poll on national identity by pro-unification TVBS:
台灣人或中國人?二選一時,逾七成(72%)民眾認為自己是台灣人,較去年兩岸復談前增加4個百分點

[Tim Maddog translation:]
Taiwanese or Chinese? Given only these 2 choices, over 7/10 (72%) of respondents identify selves as Taiwanese, an increase of 4 percentage points since last year's cross-strait talks
* A June 2009 poll on national identity by National Chengchi University (NCCU) shows that only 4.3 percent of respondents identify themselves as "Chinese" (as opposed to "Taiwanese" or "both Taiwanese and Chinese").

* Previously on Talk Taiwan: "Growing Taiwanese identity despite KMTs policy of warming relationship with China"

* Rebecca MacKinnon's RConversation has a couple of posts related to this: "China's censorship arms race escalates"; and "China's new real-name requirement: another global trend."

* On Radio Free Asia, read "'New Era' of Controls" and "China Boosts 'Great Firewall'."

* Taipei Times editorial about China's display of weapons: "It's scaring the neighbors"

(Tim Maddog contributed to this post)

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