Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Supreme Court ruling leaves Taiwan status for Obama to resolve

October 6, 11:51 AM 2009
Boston Progressive Examiner Michael Richardson

The United States Supreme Court has declined to review the San Francisco Peace Treaty leaving stand a lower court ruling that Taiwan's longstanding unresolved nationhood is the responsibility of the President as a political issue.

The Supreme Court gave no explanation for its refusal to review an appeal in the case of Roger C.S. Lin, et al vs. United States. The case, brought by Taiwan residents, sought use of U.S. passports for the 23 million island residents until an internationally supervised referendum allowed the people of Taiwan to determine their own form of government.

Earlier this year the District of Columbia U. S. Court of Appeals ruled that although Taiwan has been in "political purgatory" for six decades because of a deliberate "strategic ambiguity" imposed on the island at the end of World War II by the United States the responsibility belonged to the executive branch of government because the courts lack war powers.

Taiwan, commonly called Formosa at the close of World War II, was a Japanese colony since 1895 and the islanders looked with hope to the United States for self-determination after the surrender of the Japanese. Instead, the 7th Fleet of the U.S. Navy landed Republic of China troops on the island in October of 1945 as an interim occupation force. Then followed an ethnic-cleansing massacre, a terror campaign, and four decades of harsh martial law by the Chinese.

The Chinese civil war between the Communists and the Kuomintang or Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek raged during World War II and for four years after. The Cold War began as soon as World War II ended and Taiwan was caught in the middle as the United States recognized the exiled Kuomintang government located in Taipei as the legitimate government of mainland China.

The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 further cemented the Republic of China hold over Taiwan as the United States battled the Communists in Korea. Chiang-Kai-shek's secret police apparatus became working partners with America's Central Intelligence Agency and self-determination for the people of Taiwan was ignored.

When Japan formally dropped all claims to Taiwan at the San Francisco Peace Treaty with the United States in 1952 the future status of the island was left undetermined because of the ongoing Korean conflict. President Harry Truman declared Taiwan's status must await resolution until there was peace in the Pacific.

In the struggle between "Red China" and "Free China", the concept of "One China" emerged and independence for Taiwan was regarded as sedition and treasonous. Now, sixty-four years after America landed the Chinese on Taiwan, the People's Republic of China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and militarily threatens the island.

Roger Lin, a Taiwan politician and legal scholar, filed suit to end the "political purgatory" and achieve the promise of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. The response of both the Bush and Obama administrations has been to ignore the legal challenge and instead assert the issue of Taiwan's status is purely political and not the business of the courts.

Charles Camp, attorney for the Taiwanese plaintiffs, minces no words in describing the Supreme Court's refusal to examine the San Francisco Peace Treaty's mandate.

"It is unbelievable to me that the Supreme Court would let stand a decision that for the first time in our jurisprudence puts the political question doctrine ahead of the obligation of the Courts to read and interpret treaties and to determine the existence of Constitutional rights."

"The Supreme Court's failure to grant cert is a dramatic u-turn by our Court system that I believe will haunt our country and the world unless and until this grave injustice is corrected, given that Constitutional rights and rights granted under treaties can no longer be enforced through our court system whenever the shadow of a political question exists."

Taiwan's unresolved international status leaves the island populace threatened by China, ruled by a government in-exile imposed on the island by the United States, and unable to be represented in the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

The Supreme Court's refusal to accept the Lin case leaves intact the ruling of the District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals where Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote that Taiwan's "political purgatory" has infected the daily life of the stateless people of Taiwan and urged President Barack Obama to act "expeditiously" to resolve the matter.

President Obama has thus far been silent on Taiwan's status and has avoided Taiwan on his international travels.

For more info: www.examiner.com/x-1969-Boston-Progressive-Examiner~topic72211-Taiwan

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