Does Anyone Officially Still Think Mainland China Is Part Of Taiwan?

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Taiwan-China-Textbooks.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

The title is inexact, but as someone who’s an outsider to the raucous world of Taiwanese politics (one of the routine fistfights in the Legislature gratifyingly did break out on my one visit), this story seems interesting if only because it suggests things have come full circle:

As I vaguely understood it, from 1948, the official position in Taipei/the KMT was that there was one China – the R.O.C., consisting of Taiwan and a bunch of breakaway schismatists on the mainland, but that the government in exile was still the legitimate (if in absentia) ruler of the entire nation. And I guess the Reds thought the converse.

Now Chen is taking a third position, that the two regions are unrelated. From what little I understand from my (hardline KMT-type) acquaintances who would know, the DPP of course has no interest in identifying itself with a KMT era (and increasingly notional) idea of one day reclaiming the mainland under R.O.C. rule, and I know there are a host of political, ethnic, linguistic divides (none of which I want to steer into GD territory here) in play here too.

My question is simply if (a) the R.O.C; (b) the KMT; and/or © any significant grouping of Taiwan residents or exiles still officially (or unofficially) holds the position that the R.O.C. is or ought to be the legitimate ruler of all China, that the R.O.C. should be the sole official “Chinese” representative in international bodies, etc., or that there is any chance, or should be an ambition, of reunification which takes place under R.O.C., not P.R.C., terms/aegis?

As the article mentions, it’s still the official position of the Republic of China that it represents all of China including the mainland. The Democratic Progressive Party is pushing to change this policy but has not done so officially yet. The Nationalist Party (and the People’s Republic of China) are opposed to this change.

Proposals submitted to the UN for reentry of the Republic Of China into that body have consistantly restricted its recognized soverignty and authority to only the island of Taiwan and the Pescadores. The main sticking point seems to be the use of the term “China”, although indications are that the PRC would use its Security Council vote to block entry of ROC regardless of whether it styles itself as a “China”, Taiwan, or The International Republic of Beebleboop.

Regardless, the government of the ROC is still the continuous governing authority, recognized until UNGRA 2758 in 1971 when United Nations recognition shifted to the Peoples’ Republic of China. The international abandonment of the Republic of China is as much a travesty of international justice to abate the absurd casus belli in the interests of “a peace for our time,” as the wholesale displacement of Palestine to create the Zionist state of Israel, or the acceptance of the partition of Czechoslovakia in the Munich Agreement between Germany, Poland, and Hungary (crossing many traditional ethnic borders and taking no account of the legitimate government of the Czechoslovak state).

There are two Chinas today; the mainland China, overtaken by a criminal regime since legitimized in the interests of regional peace (of a sort) and economics, and the continuous Republic of China, snubbed by the international community in hopes of easing Cold War tensions and allied, if sometimes tenuously, with the United States and its allies in the region. ROC will never reclaim authority over mainland China, and it seems unlikely that any reunification will occur as long as Peking remains authoritarian and (at least nominally) Maoist. The PRC, while sensitive to public opinion in its profit-driven international mercantile economy, still has little concern for basic human rights, while the ROC has progressed from a corrupt, authoritarian government in an indefinite state of martial law to a much more liberal and democratized state with reforms in worker’s rights and civil authority. But for the sake of convenience, we all pretend that there is just “one China”, headed by Deng Xaioping, with an only occasionally noted rogue provence with delusions of grandeur.

Stranger

Ah yes, the KMT govt that allied with the Japanese against the interests of their own people.

What exactly, causes you to call it a ‘criminal regime since leigitimized’? Sure it took power in a revolution, but so did, among others, the U.S.A. and most of Eastern Europe.
I’d grant that it’s authoritarian, even repressive, but I’m not sure that’s the same thing as a ‘criminal regime’.

I re-read it and it did not seem to explicitly state this (though I’m not saying it’s not true). What I saw was (a) the PRC most definitely sees Taiwan as an integrally-linked part of a single country; and that (b) KMT/Nationalists “favor eventual reunification.” On that latter point, the reason for my OP was that even some of the hardcore KMT types I spoke to seem tacitly or explicitly to assume or accept that this reunification will occur on P.R.C. terms, and will be modeled on Hong Kong – not on on say the Free French government returning in triumph to Paris.

I’m just wondering if officially or unofficially the R.O.C. or KMT thinks the “liberation of France” scenario with re-assertion of the Sun Yat Sen/Chiang Kai Shek-lineage Republic over the whole territory should or could happen.

From its inception the People’s Republic of China abrogated the rule of law, dispensing with previous treaties, agreements, and obligations as it saw fit (while continuing to demand that other governments acknowledge the PRC over ROC as recipient of spolis and titular holder of property formerly held by the acknowledged legitimate government of China, while internally persecuting any dissenting parties with nothing more than show trials, if that. Like the Soviet Union, the PRC established a large system of labor camps which were populated by political dissidents and mostly random people baselessly accused of crimes against the state. The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution were ill-advised plans that resulted in economic collapse, widespread famine, and senseless persecution of people who were not responsible.

Much of the internal politicking around the time of the Cultural Revolution through the Gang of Four regime involved various attempts at formenting revolt, assassination attempts, and military power plays that are still largely unknown (or at least, undocumented) by the outside world. And of course the Party apparatus has enjoyed the strictest control over the state-owned media, using it for propaganda, disinformation, and concealing actual facts and replacing them with Party-approved sloganeering; in Soviet Russia, this was so cynically called “Pravda” that the main news organ was actually titled such.

These people were criminals who ran the goverment however they saw fit, without check or concern for existing laws, executing whomever they wished–subject to their own level of power and authority–and disregarding civil and human rights without thought. I’ll not defend the KMT goverment–which itself was so problematic that the Allies actually considered backing Mao for a while–but it at least has a claim to being a continuous authority, and one amenible to reform when the US and other Western nations saw fit to demand accountability of it. The PRC, on the other hand, have continued to ignore human rights even as they’ve liberalized their economic system, lying through their teeth the entire time.

Stranger

So you think that the Chinese govt should have honored “treaties” that granted parts of the Chinese mainland to England, Germany, Portugal, Japan and other countries as a result of the use of force against the Chinese? You think that it was OK for England to use force to sell opium to China?

If this were GD, for myself, I would answer that my reply would be influenced by whether later governments, (quasi)-legitimate and (quasi)-democratic, tacitly accepted or abided by these (allegedly-coerced) agreements/arrangements. If so, or if they did not actively seek through diplomatic and economic leverage to undo “unfair” agreements or past outcomes, I could argue that they had adopted or ratified and hence in some sense legitimized what may have started out less than legitimately.

Mao’s Communist Party of China seized control of government apparatus, drove out, tortured, or executed anyone who disagreed with them, and then instead of normalizing relations with other nations simply threw out any agreement they didn’t like, relieved themselves of external debt at the expense of creditors, and otherwise ignored any and all rules of diplomatic and civil discourse as suited them. This wasn’t “regime change”; it wasn’t even overthrow of an existing goverment and transition to the new; this was, and in Mao’s own words, destroying the Chinese government as it existed and rebuilding it as a Marxist (later Maoist) ideal, complete with pogroms, persecutions of ethnic minorities, forced labor camps, kangaroo courts, and all three other trappings of despotism. Not long after China became ruled by a cult of personality with no fixed law or credible justice system whatsoever.

Yeah, I call that a criminal regime. And legitimizing it at the expense of the Republic of China is an example of debased realpolitik overtaking international ethics. Taiwan deserves to be recognized as a soverign nation, not as some “rogue provence” of the PRC. There are two Chinas, regardless of the schizod foreign policy of the West with regard to Taiwan, and it’s an elephant that needs to be acknowledged.

Stranger

While I would agree with much of what you said that preceded this quote if this were a GD, for the moment just let me ask you as a factual matter, if you know: is your above position consistent with the Constitution or whatever official policy is in force (I know the President has strongly hinted he agrees with your position; I just don’t know if it’s supported by the law in force)?

I’m in no way defending Mao and the way he and the Communists slaughtered thousands of innocent people, but let’s not forget that when Chiang Kai Shek and the Nationalists retreated to Taiwan they too, slaughtered thousands and “seized control of government apparatus, drove out, tortured, or executed anyone who disagreed with them”. They eventually mellowed, but the initial “invasion” of Taiwan was extremely brutal.

The official position is that there is One China, and it’s the only nation that receives official recognition. As a practical matter, there are two Chinas, and the goverment of the ROC will never regain authority over mainland China without somehow merging with the “real” goverment, and even that seems manifestly unlikely, a notion even the Republic recognizes and is willing to accept as a permanent situation.

Stranger

True, and one can scarcely defend the history of the Nationalists and the ROC without delving into the corruption and despotism of that era (which was in no small part tacitly supported by the United States). Regardless, the Nationalists were the legitimate authority, they have maintained, or rather attempted to maintain, normalized relations with other countries, upheld treaty obligations, operated a court system (within the context of an indefinite state of martial law), and until 1971 were considered the “official” China by virtually everyone. Mao and his gang were lawless upstarts from the very beginning, and fulfilled every Orwellian transgression of logic, reason, and order in the book.

Stranger

Keeping this answer factual and avoiding GD issues, as specifically requested by the OP, the answer is no. (Discloser. My wife is Taiwanese and pro-independence.)

Many in the KMT prefer to hold out for a continuation of the current status, more and more of the younger Taiwanese prefer independence. Only about 15% of the population are former “mainlanders” who came over after the war. Very few, if any of even these maintain hope of becoming the legitimate rulers of China. (Note my bias, in the lack of “all.”) While the KMT may have felt that at first, after some point it was used as a tool to maintain control of Taiwan.

The constitution isn’t specific about reunification. While it was previously official R.O.C policy, the policy is undergoing change further and further towards independence.

I’ll certainly concede that looking at the current situation, it looks like any theoretical reunification would be on Beijing’s terms. But you never know - thirty years ago, who would have predicted the Soviet Union was going to break up? In ten years, communism might disappear on the mainland and the Nationalist government might finally return home.

Anyone who’s pretending Deng Xiaoping is heading China is in some serious denial. He died in 1997.

That’s what they want you to think.

First, Wikipedia claims only 24 countries officially recognize the Republic of China http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_relations_of_the_Republic_of_China

Second, based on my experience in Taiwan, there are a lot more people that want to make the “mainlanders go back to China” than there are true believers that Taiwan will someday reclaim it’s right place as the legitimate government of all China including Outer Mongolia. (Yes, ROC still officially claims Outer Mongolia).

There are no cites for something like this, but I would be surprised if even 1% of the ROC population truely believes that the ROC is the legitimate government of China and Mongolia and reunification on such terms is nothing more than an outdated pipedream. The big sea change came after Chiang Ching-Kuo (Chiang Kai-shek’s son and successor) passed away and Taiwanese were allowed to visit the mainland in the 1990’s.

Don’t expect a HK style (50 years no change) or a liberation of France under the banner of Sun yat-sen change. Economic integration is driving the reunification, and therefore there will be a third model.

Stranger - You obviously know something about modern Chinese history and IMHO do yourself a disjustice by parroting the Chiang Kia-shek deification website. Mao was no saint, and Chiang Kai-shek was no saint. Stillwell and the American Experience in China is a decent starting point if you’re interested.