Taiwan Matters! The PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan, and don't you forget it!

"Taiwan is not a province of China. The PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan."

Stick that in your clipboards and paste it, you so-called "lazy journalists"!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

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Taiwanese demand a referendum on ECFA

Be there, or watch it live

Approximately 60% of Taiwanese of all political stripes support a referendum on the so-called "cross-Strait" [sic -- it should be between two countries] Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA, 經濟合作架構協議) which President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) insists will be signed in June.

If you can't be there either today (Thursday, May 20, 2010), tomorrow, or Saturday, you can watch the protest live via Ustream:
Online video chat by Ustream

For more info visit the ECFA Referendum Alliance (ECFA 公投行動聯盟) site directly.

And never forget what Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) said about ECFA being one step toward "complete unification of the motherland [sic]":

0:35 YouTube video: "DPP ECFA referendum ad - with English titles"

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

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

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Clarifying distortions about Taiwan's relations with China

Nat Bellocchi puts things in focus

Nat Bellocchi
Voice of America image of
Nat Bellocchi via NTDTV
Former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Nat Bellocchi had an editorial piece titled "The myth about reducing tension" in Friday's Taipei Times. In the eye-opening piece, Bellocchi deconstructs the illusion of the "reduction of tension" between Taiwan and China.

It deserves to be read in full, so here's the whole piece [highlights mine]:
In a world filled with political tension, cutthroat economic competition and even open warfare, many people long for a reduction of tension, leading to more peace and stability among nations. As such, it was no surprise that when the newly elected Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government started its policy of rapprochement with China in the spring of 2008, the US welcomed the "reduction of tension" across the Taiwan Strait.

The question is whether there really has been a long-term "reduction of tension" and whether that means long-running disagreements might be resolved.

It is a fact that for the past two years the People's Republic of China (PRC) has been less bellicose than it was during the eight years of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration. However, that is only true because China sees "Taiwan" as moving in its direction, increasing the likelihood that in due time it will be able to force Taiwan — through economic and political means — into some kind of political unification. [Maddog note: While the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is moving in China's direction, the people of Taiwan are not.]

The present "reduction of tension" is thus artificial in nature as it is predicated on Taiwan capitulating under duress to China in the long run. That is tantamount to saying that law-abiding people giving in to mafia threats reduces tension, when in reality the underlying tension is caused by the aggressor. Now, what will happen if the Taiwanese decide — for whatever reasons — to not re-elect President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in 2012 and a DPP government returns to power? Such a government would want to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, but at the same time retain Taiwan's hard-won freedom, democracy and independence.

It is easy to predict that such a new policy would be labeled as "increasing tension" by the defeated KMT as well as by the PRC itself. It is thus an ironic contradiction that attempts to consolidate Taiwan's democracy and its acceptance by the international community may be seen in some quarters as "increasing tension."

For those who study Taiwan and observe it closely, there are other seeming contradictions: Shirley Kan of the Congressional Research Service in Washington mentioned three of them during a recent seminar at George Washington University: one, if you want consensus, don't call it a consensus (referring to the so-called "1992 consensus" which has been a divisive issue in Taiwan); two, if you want independence, don't say so; and three, if the US wants to reduce the threat of conflict in the Taiwan Strait, it has to sell arms to Taiwan.

Against this background, what should the US say or do? For one, it should be more careful in referring to the present trend as "reducing tension."

There can only be a true reduction of tension if China moves in the direction of accepting Taiwan for what it is — a lively democracy that wants to chart its own course and determine its own future without undue pressure from the Chinese side.

There is no evidence that China accepts or will ever accept this point. It continues its military buildup, has hardly moved on giving Taiwan international space and continues its attempts to lock Taiwan into a position of dependence through economic means.

The US thus needs to be more insistent on reducing the Chinese military threat against Taiwan and on the issue of increasing international space for Taiwan.

A good start would be for the US to fully support Taiwan's membership in international organizations as stipulated in the Taiwan Relations Act and to refrain from anachronistic statements that it only support membership in organizations "that do not require statehood."

The US also needs to do better at creating an atmosphere wherein efforts by Taiwan's government to consolidate democracy and increase its international presence are seen as enhancing long-term peace and stability in the Strait — in spite of possible objections from a still quite repressive government in Beijing.

The basic idea is that — instead of Taiwan moving in the direction of Beijing — the PRC should move in the direction of freedom and democracy. Only then can there be any substantive "reduction of tension."
Further reading:
* Full text of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA)

* September 3, 2007: Ma Ying-jeou seriously misrepresents Taiwan Relations Act

* April 12, 2009: Taiwan Relations Act at 30 (Michael Turton points out a common misconception about the US' "obligations" related to the TRA.)

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

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

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How the ISO helps China change Taiwan's status quo

A harmful meme which replicates itself with ease
Many organizations, corporations, governments claim that they are "apolitical" and that they simply use the "standard" International Organization for Standardization (ISO) country codes as a guide to determine how they list Taiwan.

The problem with this is that in the ISO country names and code elements list, Taiwan's "short form" is given as "Taiwan, Province of China." This name is neither short nor does it reflect Taiwan's de facto independent status.

However, it does function as a "meme" or "verbal virus."

Furthermore, the ISO has also listed Taiwan as China's Region 7, basically ignoring Taiwan's de facto status and annexing the smaller country to the larger one.

This is outrageous!

No, it's not enough for the 50 Cent Army to dominate the Internet with pro-CCP/China/anti-Taiwan propaganda -- now the ISO is helping China to annex Taiwan by spreading the standardized-coding "virus" around the globe.

This "virus" created by the UN Statistical Division (which is under the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs [UNDESA] has been headed by Chinese official Sha Zukang since July 1, 2007) was designed to annex Taiwan by using the convenient excuse of ISO "standardization" codes, which are used by many businesses. On many university advertisements for recruiting international students on the Internet, Taiwan has been erroneously listed as a "province of China" most likely due to this ISO country code "virus."

Background
Readers who are unfamiliar with the following subjects might want to take a look at the links below before continuing:
* ISO 3166 FAQs
* ISO 3166-1 (scroll down to "Criteria for inclusion")
* ISO 3166-3
* UN Report of the Working Group on Country Names

Since Taiwan's application to enter the United Nations was rejected by UN in July 2007, not being a UN member, Taiwan is not listed in the United Nations Bulletin Country Names.

The UN Terminology Section is the current authority on country names in all of the official languages of the UN, and it does not have Taiwan listed.

The list of names in Country and Region Codes for Statistical Use of the UN Statistics Division is based on the Bulletin Country Names and other UN sources, the name "Taiwan, Province of China" has obviously come from "other UN sources."

What are these so-called "other UN sources"?

The UN always cites UN Resolution 2758 as "proof" that Taiwanese people should not have their own seat at the UN because it interprets this resolution as meaning that "Taiwan is a province of China" and that Taiwanese people should therefore be represented by the Chinese government -- a government that has never governed Taiwan and has not even been chosen by its own people to represent China through democratic elections.

UN Resolution 2758 actually resolves the question of who should represent China, but it mentions nothing about who should represent the 23 million people of Taiwan.

On the contrary, the Standard country or area codes and geographical regions for statistical use has included this:
The designations employed and the presentation of material at this site do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
Read that again: The designations do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever concerning the legal status or delineation of frontiers or boundaries of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities. The UN terribly contradicts itself by doing those very things when it wrongly interprets Taiwan's status as being part of China (citing UN Resolution 2758 as the authoritative source), but the UN Secretariat also declares that it has no opinion on the legal status of any country.

How ridiculous!

The freedom to speak the truth
But Taiwan is a country, says a geographic expert who does not work for any UN organizations and who can therefore speak the truth. There is no doubt whatsoever that Taiwan fulfills all the criteria for a country. The only reason Taiwan isn't a member in the UN is the political pressure from China, a country which frequently reminds the world that it doesn't rule out the use of force in order to annex Taiwan as one of its provinces.

Logical breakdown
Many countries existed long before the creation of the UN. If a country decides not to join the UN as a member, it does not mean this country doesn't exist. (See also: this comment by Andrew Kerslake.) In other words, it's not up to the UN to determine whether a territory is indeed a country. It can only decide whether it wishes to accept the application of a country which decides to join and either welcome them or not.

Many countries represented in the UN are led by authoritarian governments which have not gained their rule via any democratic elections at home. Consequently, the UN has many problems, and its original mission of promoting world peace has not been fulfilled.

The UN has no rights (see reference number 2 below, regarding MOU) to sign any memo against a non-member state (such as the WHO's secret MOU with China which says that communications between the WHO and Taiwan be routed through China), nor to arbitrarily change a country's name because of pressure from another bullying state.

The Taiwanese people had a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration imposed upon them. They've experienced the KMT's 228 Massacre, and they've suffered under the suppression of White Terror and the longest period of martial law in modern history. Taiwan's gradual transition to democracy requires further support from strong democratic nations.

Taiwan's people want a new Taiwan constitution to replace the flawed ROC constitution (promulgated 63 years ago in a foreign country) so that the occupying administrator's rules of law can be declared obsolete, and its legislature can function normally through fair elections. Otherwise, committees such as the Legislative Yuan's Procedural Committee (because of this pan-blue dominated committee's arbitrary prioritization of proposed bills, certain important bills are purposely delayed or blocked completely from being included in the agenda for discussion), the Executive Yuan's Referendum Review Committee, the unconstitutional National Communications Commission (NCC), and others will continue to hinder Taiwan's full democratic reform.

The controversies of a rising undemocratic China and the business opportunities there have put Taiwan's democracy in jeopardy. Once Taiwan is taken into the sphere sucked into the black hole of an authoritarian China, the rest of the neighboring region will be in danger.

The UN's geographic "experts" have simply ignored Taiwan's de facto status and have helped their Chinese chief of UNDESA to achieve his country's agenda by spreading the ISO country code "virus" around the global business community, using this so called "standard" code to shift the status quo towards China's favor. This calls their professional ethics and expertise into question.

If the UN is serious about the promotion of human rights and human dignity, its geographic "experts" should be investigated for giving in to "pressure" from above, and the UNDESA head, Sha Zukang, should be probed for "incompetence" and for his role in helping the spread of the Taiwan ISO country code "virus" around the globe.

Suggested actions
Since the ROC has never been recognized as having taken over Formosa's sovereignty, any Taiwanese organization(s) with sufficient financial resources should sue the ISO. If the ISO is as innocent as it claims to be and merely updates their records by "default" (i.e., transferring UN "expert advise"), then there is no need for the ISO to exist at all. Since the ISO's mission is to standardize things, they shouldn't just follow orders from other "experts" without judging or adding its own input; otherwise, they are no experts themselves.

Since freedom of expression should be encouraged in universities, Taiwanese studying abroad or planning to do so can also help out when discovering errors about how Taiwan is listed. Write (politely) to school officials letting them know that such errors are offensive, and ask them to label your home country in a way which reflects Taiwan's de facto status.

USCIS: preserving the truth, setting the right "standard"
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is not ambiguous about Taiwan's status. It is a US executive branch that honors Taiwanese people's right to call their country "Taiwan." In an official memorandum dated December 1, 2008 [62 KB PDF], it states that for purposes of the United States immigration law, Taiwan is to be considered a separate independent country despite the Department of State's "one-China" policy.

Consequently, a United States passport may not be issued showing its owner's place of birth as "Taiwan, China," "Taiwan, Republic of China," or "Taiwan ROC." For post-WWII immigrants to Taiwan who were born in China, it should show "People's Republic of China" as their country of birth; however, their country of nationality (on application form N-400) should still be listed as "Taiwan" as explained below.

Here's an excerpt from the memo:
The adjudicator must not require an applicant to list "Taiwan, PRC," "Taiwan, China," "Taiwan, Republic of China," "Taiwan, ROC," or "People's Republic of China" as the country of birth or nationality on Form N-400 if the applicant has indicated "Taiwan" and the documentary evidence submitted supports their claim.

[...]

Note that some applicants may have been born in the PRC but currently hold a
Taiwan passport because they moved from the mainland (PRC) to Taiwan long ago.
For those applicants, the country of birth should be listed as "People's Republic of
China" and the country of nationality should be listed as "Taiwan" on their
Form N-400.
Reference:
1. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - an agency affiliated with the US Department of Commerce, after consulting with the American Institute in Taiwan, has stopped referring to Taiwan as "Chinese Taipei" and refers to Taiwan simply by its proper name: Taiwan.

2. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) should involve the mutual benefits of the signing parties only. It should contain nothing about a third party -- that is, it shouldn't involve anyone outside of the negotiation process.

3. When it comes to Taiwan, National Geographic is "NG".

(Tim Maddog edited this post)

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