By Cheng Chung-mo 城仲模
Thursday, Feb 26, 2009, Page 8
On Feb. 5, I attended the oral arguments in the case of Roger C. S. Lin v. United States of America, in the US Court of Appeals, Washington. Later that afternoon I held a press conference at the National Press Club, where I declared “Taiwan belongs to the Taiwanese people” and “Taiwanese people need truth and honesty.”
The present court action is an indication that the Taiwanese are anxious to obtain liberty, democracy, human rights and rule-by-law, and to take charge of their own affairs. Here in 2009, 64 years after the end of fighting in World War II, the Taiwanese have finally been able to bring their grievances to the US Court of Appeals, and to allow the American people and the world community to understand the inequalities they have suffered, including the status of being “stateless” (as specified in the ruling of the District Court on March 18 last year).
Japan was defeated in 1945, and the US allowed the troops from the Republic of China (ROC) — which later deteriorated into a government-in-exile — to undertake the military occupation of Taiwan. The newest research on Taiwan’s legal status has found that today Taiwan is still under the jurisdiction of the US Military Government, and hence that the US still has administrative control over Taiwan. The Taiwanese must recognize these facts and then step forward and speak up.
It is my belief that all Taiwanese are willing to accept the following premises:
One, Taiwan’s sovereignty should belong to the Taiwanese body politic.
Two, after World War II, the document that determined the disposition of Taiwan was the San Francisco Peace Treaty (SFPT) of 1952.
Three, the SFPT contains the complete specifications for the disposition of Taiwan.
Four, all military attacks against Taiwan in the World War II period were conducted by US military forces, hence the US is the “conqueror,” and in the specifications of the treaty “the principal occupying power.”
Five, according to the directions of General Douglas MacArthur’s General Order No. 1 of Sept. 2, 1945, the military troops of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) came to Taiwan to undertake the military occupation as agent for the US, and later went into exile on Taiwan in December 1949.
Six, the ROC was exterminated by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 and lost its legal status of representing the Chinese people. Moreover, the PRC did not participate in the Pacific War against Japan, and was ineligible to sign the SFPT.
Seven, according to the provisions of the ROC Constitution, Taiwan is not included in the national territory of the ROC.
Eight, the Taiwanese should fully support the US’ “one China” policy, three joint communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act.
Nine, with consideration of all relevant US court decisions and other relevant precedents in dealing with conquered territory, it can be completely ascertained that the jurisdiction of the US Military Government over Taiwan has not yet ended.
Ten, the Taiwanese hope that the current lawsuit can rescue them from their status as stateless orphans.
With your graceful manner, open heart, careful thought and lengthy experience in legal matters, I believe that you have the skill to weigh all necessary considerations, and to arrive at a solution to the Taiwan question that will bring a lasting peace to the western Pacific. In this way, the 21st century will certainly mark a new era in fulfilling the aspirations of the Taiwanese people, and see the US again take leadership in promoting human rights and liberty. This indeed will be a wonderful legacy for your term of office as US secretary of state.
Cheng Chung-mo is a former Supreme Court justice and minister of justice.