China's White Paper, Part I
Since the Taiwan Relations Act was signed back in 1979, U.S. /
Chinese relations have been guided by a "One China" policy
when it comes to the issue of Taiwan. Basically, the U.S. hopes
that, over time, the peaceful reunification of Taiwan and China
will take place. However, should China act aggressively towards
Taiwan, it is commonly thought that the U.S. would come to
Taiwan''s aid. This last point is purposefully nebulous.
For more details on how the 1979 Act came into being you can
check out the archives for September where I discuss it in great
detail. Today, I want to begin a series on the "white paper" that
the Chinese government recently issued. It is an 11,000-word
policy statement on the current state of China / Taiwan relations
and it has drawn a great deal of attention, particularly as it was
issued just weeks before Taiwan''s presidential election (March
China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949. Taiwan is
viewed as a breakaway province by the mainland. For its part,
Taiwan says it will unify only when China is democratic and
more economically developed.
Following are extensive excerpts from the white paper. It is a
little dry but the history is generally accurate. The text below is
"The One China Principle and the Taiwan Issue"
From 1979, the Chinese government has striven for the peaceful
reunification of China in the form of "one country, two systems"
with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort. Economic and
cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts between the
two sides of the Taiwan Straits have made rapid progress since
the end of 1987. Unfortunately, from the 1990''s, Lee Teng-hui,
the leader (president) of the Taiwan authorities, has progressively
betrayed the One-China Principle, striving to promote a
separatist policy with "two Chinas" at the core, going so far as to
openly describe the cross-Straits relations as "state-to-state
relations, or at least special state-to-state relations. This action
has seriously damaged the basis for peaceful reunification of the
two sides, harmed the fundamental interests of the entire Chinese
nation including the Taiwan compatriots, and jeopardized peace
and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. The Chinese government
has consistently adhered to the One-China Principle and
resolutely opposed any attempt to separate Taiwan from China.
The struggle between the Chinese government and the separatist
forces headed by Lee Teng-hui finds its concentrated expression
in the question of whether to persevere in the One-China
Principle or to create "two Chinas" or "One-China, one Taiwan."
"The Basis For One China, De Facto and De Jure"
Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. All the facts and laws
about Taiwan prove that Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese
territory. In April 1895, through a war of aggression against
China, Japan forced the Qing government to sign the unequal
Treaty of Shimonoseki, and forcibly occupied Taiwan. In July
1937, Japan launched an all-out war of aggression against China.
In December 1941, the Chinese government issued the
Proclamation of China''s Declaration of War Against Japan,
announcing to the world that all treaties, agreements and
contracts concerning Sino-Japanese relations, including the
Treaty of Shimonoseki, had been abrogated, and that China
would recover Taiwan. In December 1943, the Cairo
Declaration was issued by the Chinese, U.S. and British
governments, stipulating that Japan should return to China all the
territories it had stolen from the Chinese, including Northeast
China, Taiwan and the Penghy Archipelago. The Potsdam
Proclamation signed by China, the U.S. and Britain in 1945 (later
adhered to by the Soviet Union) stipulated that "The terms of the
Cairo Declaration shall be carried out." In August of that year,
Japan declared surrender and promised in its instrument of
surrender that it would faithfully fulfill the obligations laid down
in the Potsdam Proclamation. On October 25, 1945, the Chinese
government recovered Taiwan and the Penghu Archipelago,
resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Taiwan.
On October 1, 1949, the Central People''s Government of the
PRC was proclaimed, replacing the government of the Republic
of China to become the only legal government of the whole of
China and its sole legal representative in the international arena,
thereby bringing the historical status of the Republic of China to
This is a replacement of the old regime by a new one in a
situation where the main bodies of the same international laws
have not changed and China''s sovereignty and inherent territory
have not changed therefrom, and so the government of the PRC
naturally should fully enjoy and exercise China''s sovereignty,
including its sovereignty over Taiwan.
Since the KMT (Kuomintang forces led by Chiang Kai-shek)
ruling clique retreated to Taiwan, although its regime has
continued to use the designations "Republic of China" and
"government of the Republic of China," it has long since
completely forfeited its right to exercise state sovereignty on
behalf of China and, in reality, has always remained only a local
authority in Chinese territory.
On the day of its founding, the Central People''s Government of
the PRC declared to governments of all countries in the world,
"This government is the sole legitimate government representing
the entire people of the People''s Republic of China. It is ready
to establish diplomatic relations with all foreign governments
that are willing to abide by the principles of equality, mutual
benefit and mutual respect for each other''s territorial integrity
Shortly afterwards, the Central People''s Government telegraphed
the United Nations, announcing that the KMT authorities had
"lost all basis, both de jure and de facto, to represent the Chinese
people," and therefore had no right to represent China at all. One
principle governing New China''s establishment of diplomatic
relations with a foreign country is that it recognizes the
government of the PRC as the sole legitimate government
representing the whole of China, severs or refrains from
establishing diplomatic relations with the Taiwan authorities.
These propositions of the Chinese government met with
obstruction by the U.S. government. On January 5, 1950, the
U.S. President Truman issued a statement, saying that the U.S.
and other Allied countries recognized China''s exercise of
sovereignty over Taiwan Island in the four years since 1945.
However, after the start of the Korean War in June, 1950, to
isolate and contain China the U.S. government not only sent
troops to occupy Taiwan, but it also dished out such fallacies as
"the status of Taiwan has yet to be determined" and later, step by
step, lobbied for "dual recognition" among the international
community in order to create "two Chinas." Naturally, the
Chinese resolutely opposed this, insisting that there is only one
China in the world, Taiwan is a part of China and the
government of the PRC is the sole legal government representing
the whole of China. China has evolved the One-China Principle
precisely in the course of the endeavor to develop normal
diplomatic relations with other countries and the struggle to
safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity.
This is the background, from China''s standpoint. Next week I
will present the bellicose statements that attracted so much
attention in the U.S.