History of Sino-Taiwanese Relations

Situated in the west Pacific, the island of Taiwan was originally inhabited by the Austronesians. These aborigines, like those spread across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, mainly lived by fishing, hunting, and slash-and-burn agriculture. Their life style was distinctly different from that of the Fukienese across the Straits of Taiwan.

In the mid-sixteenth century, a little after the beginning of the European imperialist expansion, some inhabitants along the southeastern coast of the Chinese Empire started to emigrate. In contrast with the European case, these Chinese immigrants took leave due to the hardships and poverty in their homeland. Thus, those who immigrated to Taiwan during the time, not of a significant number, were indigents pirating on the high seas or engaging in trade with the Japanese. In 1624, the Dutch East India Company occupied the Bay of Daiwan located in the southwestern coast of Taiwan and made it a Dutch entrep{SYMBOL 244 \f "Times New Roman"}t in East Asia. During the Dutch occupation, Dutch missionaries preached Christianity to the inhabitants of the plains area in southern Taiwan. The Dutch developed colonial plantations in Taiwan. To keep up with the exportation of sugar to the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, they also recruited laborers from the Chinese Fukien Province to work on the sugar plantation. At the end of the Dutch colonial period, there were about a hundred thousand Chinese plantation workers on Taiwan.

In the PRC's white paper, great efforts were made to illustrate how historically Taiwan had been part of China. Nevertheless, it is greatly misleading to equate the Pescadores with Taiwan: administrative connections between the continental regimes and the Pescadores during the Sung, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties were not tantamount to the relation between the mainland regimes and Taiwan. In fact, the rulers of the mainland had ignored the existence of Taiwan completely; even until the seventeenth century, the jurisdiction of the Ming Empire covered only the Pescadores while excluding Taiwan. That is why the official chronicle of the Ming Dynasty stated that Taiwan was "the Mountain of Keelung according to foreign legend." In the Chronicle of Yung-cheng of the Ching Dynasty (Yung-cheng Shih Lu), it recorded an imperial paper of 1722 stating that, "Taiwan, historically not part of China, was conquered and became Ching's territory under the great power of Kang-hsi." This statement should be compelling enough to r efute the PRC's claim of China's "historic ownership" of Taiwan.

In 1662, Cheng Ch'eng-Kung (Koxinga) expelled the Dutch and took over Taiwan. Taiwan was ruled by three generations of Cheng over the subsequent twenty-one years, thus marking the beginning of political regimes by people from China. Admiral Shih Lang led the Ching's troops and defeated Cheng's army in Taiwan in 1683. Following was a heated debate as to whether or not to annex Taiwan to the Ching Empire. The Ching government founded a metropolis and three counties (yi fu san hsien) in Taiwan the next year under the Special Military Command of Tai-hsiah (Taiwan-Amoy). This was the first direct political tie between China and Taiwan. Until the Ching Empire ceded Taiwan to Japan in 1894, Taiwan did undergo two hundred and ten years of Chinese rule.

However, Taiwan's experience during those two centuries was distinctive. Since Cheng Ch'eng Kung was waving the "anti-Ching, restoring-Ming" (fan Ching fu Ming) banner in Taiwan, the Ching imperial court had developed a persisting hostility towards Taiwan as a result. It also prohibited the crossing of the Taiwan Straits to prevent Taiwan from becoming an asylum for political dissenter. Meanwhile, there remained a consciousness of resistance among the local Taiwanese: at least forty uprisings took place and twenty of them succeeded in warding off Ching's troops from Taiwan temporarily.

The banning of strait-crossing continued for around one hundred and ninety years until its abolishment in 1875: During those years, the Han who immigrated to Taiwan risked their lives to sneak on shore. They not only were in the constant fear of being arrested, but also had to desert their families in China while persevering in the hardships of pioneering. All in all, this prohibition policy stalled the development of Taiwan and affected Taiwanese' attitude towards China later on.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the second wave of imperialism hit East Asia. Taiwan was again a juicy piece of meat in the international market. The British, the Japanese, and the French had initiated military actions on the island whereas the United States and Germany both attempted to occupy it. In the year of 1895, the Ching government ceded Taiwan to Japan after its defeat in the Korean Peninsula and Manchuria.

Over the subsequent fifty years, the Japanese ruled Taiwan in a highly authoritarian and oppressive manner. Later, they even involved Taiwan in their imperialist expansion. Under the Japanese colonial reign, both military and unarmed resistance movements persisted. Although these movements took place partly under the influence of the Chinese notion of "revolution for the founding of a new dynasty," the main reason for their occurrence should be largely attributed to the idea of defending one's homeland, Taiwan. The pursuit for liberation or the goal of democracy under the colonial rule sprouted from circumstances vastly different from China in the early twentieth century. Between the years 1928 and 1931, Taiwanese communists brought forth a declaration of Taiwanese independence. Meanwhile, the May 5 Draft of Constitution by the Nanking government of China in 1936 precluded Taiwan from the status of a province or as an occupied territory. As a matter of fact, both the KMT and the Communist Party had made pub lic statements in support of Taiwan's independence.

On the other hand, the fifty years of de facto Japanese rule had made an immense impact on Taiwan. Established was an islandwide, efficient bureaucracy. Modern education substituted traditional superstition. The level of life in Taiwan was much higher compared with that in the warring China. Ties with China were mostly cut off during this colonial period as the Japanese advocated Shinto, the Japanese-language movement, and the military-volunteer movement. All these factors contributed to the differentiating of Taiwan from China and the forming of the reality of a nation on Taiwan. By and large, Japan failed in its attempt to "Japanize" the Taiwanese and yet it successfully transformed the Taiwanese into the "non-Chinese."

When World War II ended in 1945, the defeated Japanese left Taiwan. Taiwan came under the Chinese reign once again. However, history had created an unfathomable discrepancy between China and Taiwan. Consequently, an uprising known as the "228 Incident" erupted in 1947 and resulted in numerous deaths of Taiwanese Ал a traumatic tragedy resulting from a forced unification.

* I. History of Sino-Taiwanese Relations
* II. The Intrinsically Colonial KMT Regime
* III. The KMT Should Take Full Responsibility for Its Diplomatic Failure
* IV. Our Vehement Objection to China's "Basic Guidelines" Regarding Taiwan
* V. Taiwan's Status According to International Law
* VI. Crisis Engendered by The Economic Activities across the Straits
* VII. Democratic Independence: The Only Hope for Taiwan
* VIII. Taiwan Is Qualified for Membership of The International Community
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