Monday, November 06, 2006

Did Chen mention Taiwanese independence in his speech?

Edward Cody of the Washington Post writes,
Acknowledging the damage to his presidency and to the cause of Taiwanese independence from China, as well as the disappointment felt by many of his followers, Chen apologized both to the Democratic Progressive Party and to inhabitants of the self-ruled island in general. (emphasis added)
Did I miss something? Did Chen mention the cause of Taiwanese independence from China in his speech? I can't find anything about it in this Chinese transcript, either.

It doesn't surprise me that the Post would misrepresent Chen's speech in this way, though. As Tim mentioned, they got all bent out of shape over Chen's use of Taiwanese. (So did the other Post, which accused Chen of "ignor[ing] the foreign journalists and most TV audience to use mostly the southern Fujianese dialect (prevalent in a southern China district) to cater his remarks to his own supporters in southern Taiwan" (emphasis added). I think the words they use to describe Taiwanese are quite... ummm... interesting. They're really emphasizing the mainland-Chineseness of the Taiwanese language, aren't they? I'll agree, though, that Chen was speaking more to his supporters than to anyone else...)


Michael Turton said...

Hahahaha. I think he got his info from Jane Rickards, who was with the China Post until recently.


Taiwan NewTruth said...

President Chen was interviewed by the Financial Times in October 2006. In that transcript, which was released by the Government Information Office in Taipei on Nov. 1st, Chen made the following notable points --
(1) Very clearly, the national moniker according to the Constitution of the Republic of China is the Republic of China, which was founded in 1912. Taiwan, however, came under Japanese colonial rule in 1895, and the ROC did not include Taiwan when it was born.

(2) Similarly, the precursor of the ROC Constitution - the Five-Five Draft Constitution formulated in 1936 - did not include Taiwan within the existing national boundaries, as Taiwan was still under Japanese colonial rule at the time.

(3) Therefore, up until the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty [with Japan at the end of World War II], as many people have said very clearly, Taiwan was not turned over to China, and the view that Taiwan's international status is undetermined is quite well-known to many of us.

(4) It is therefore quite clear that "the existing national boundaries" of the ROC do not encompass Taiwan.

(5) Being a democratic country is not enough for Taiwan, however. It has to become a nation based on the rule of law.

CONCLUSION: The ROC on Taiwan is not a sovereign nation, because its boundaries do not include Taiwan. Obviously, Taiwan remains under the jurisdiction of the "conqueror" and the "principal occupying power" of the post-war San Francisco Peace Treaty -- the United States of America.

This is exactly the point of view brought out in a new lawsuit launched in a federal court in Washington D.C. in late Oct. 2006 by a group of Taiwanese people. A summary of the case is here --

Did Chen mention Taiwan independence in his Financial Times interview? Yes, he did .... saying that that was the eventual goal for Taiwan.

Of course, the US government can have no argument with that, after all both Cuba and the Philippines attained independence after a period of direct US administrative authority as US overseas territories.

Jonathan Benda said...

Thanks for the summary of the Financial Times interview--I saw that interview on the President's website, but didn't read it.

I was referring to Chen's television address of Nov. 5 and the Washington Post's coverage of that address. My concern is not whether or not Chen is pro-independence; I wanted to point out an inaccuracy in the Post report that I think reflects a tendency in the Western news media to paint everything about Chen in terms of the issue of Taiwanese independence.