Infighting over Lin vs.US case - We forget whom we should have been fighting

Taiwan Civil Government (TCG), a group of Taiwanese led by Roger Lin (林志昇) and Richard Hartzell (何瑞元), attended a USA court hearing on Feb. 5th in which they appealed to revoke a previous court decision that declined their argument on US government's sovereignty right over Taiwan.

Michael talked about this in his recent blog (Lin Trial Transcripts: Does the US have sovereignty over Taiwan?). His opinion, as well as the comments given there by readers, seem to go overwhelmingly against TCG's cause or the current lawsuit:

"a crank lawsuit that is simply a waste of the Court's time"

"another aspect of this folly is that it further serves to divide the pro-Taiwan community into more disparate factions"

"The ever fractious nature of Taiwanese movements divides the amount of donated funds available to promote the cause and renders each group in the movement impotent"

"what is the real motivation behind this pointless lawsuit?"

"The whole thing seems more like a vanity project"

I want to remind readers that the situation Taiwan is in right now is very different from 4~5 years ago when TCG started their campaign along this course.

At that moment Taiwan was in control of a pro-independence government marching toward promising self control of sovereignty and a more advanced democracy society. Looking at TCG from that path, it might be easy to conclude that TCG's idea was unnecessary.

But Taiwan is now in a fast slip into China's pocket, i.e., a direction that's totally reverse of that we were going. Ma Ying-jeou has downgraded Taiwan from a state to an area of China, and made cross-strait policies with that China seems to be the only one who gains. The police and judiciary systems are abusing their power, and many regulations to protect Taiwanese rights against the encroachment of China are lifted. Ma Ying-jeou is recreating a pre-228 society in which Taiwan's resources are meant to serve the interests of China nad China only. Long before we have a chance to pick a new president next time, we will most likely lose our rights as a Taiwanese on all fronts. In fact, Ma Ying-jeou said in more than one occasion that his term of presidency is 8 years, despite the fact that 4-years-per-term is defined clearly in the Constitution. In one interview he assured he has 8 years even after the interviewer corrected him. It's very likely that we will not even have the chance to vote for a president any more.

So, how can TI supporters, or any other Taiwanese for that matter, fight against the fast approaching of a total lost ? Does any one have any idea as exactly how ?

The significance of TCG's approach, especially the lawsuit against US government, should therefore be re-visited with this updated context in mind. Contrary to most comments in Michael's blog (and in many other blogs or forums) saying that the lawsuit is useless, I think it plays a very important role to bringing the international attentions to details of Taiwan history. One of the possible positive side is that no matter if TCG wins or not, more people would recognize that either USA is somehow responsible for Taiwanese rights, or Taiwan's status is undecided. In other words, more people will learn that China has no hand in this matter at all. Statements like "Taiwan split from China civil war" would automatically becomes a lie. That is, this would be an add-on to what we have been doing all along.

IMO, with the current situation, TCG's approach might even be the only way out for Taiwan.

As a more specific response to some of the critics, I have been very puzzled by claims like "TCG divides the amount of donated funds available to promote the cause." TCG got their money by fund raising. How can anyone claim that "the money you donate to TCG should have been donated to my cause" and uses that as a base to blame TCG ? In a forum that I participate, a seasoned TIer did just that, blaming TCG when some TI supporters make their own choices to donate money to TCG. How can we assume that if people don't donate their money to TCG they will definitely donate that money to the TI cause ? This sort of fantasy is something I don't get.

As some claimed, the existence of TCG seems to create a situation of splitting among Taiwanese. But, again I have to remind readers, many of those who made this claim play no small part in the splitting they accused TCG of. By launching waves after waves of brutal verbal attacks blaming TCG a splitter, some of them in fact actively play the role of a splitter themselves. The in-fightings extend from Ah-bian's presidency into Ma Ying-jeou's administration (that is, now), and seems to get heated up and up by the recent lawsuit against US. As far as I know, one of the reputable pro-TI columnists has devoted 5 of his recent 6 articles to attacking TCG, turned his column into one that specializes at anti-TCG. In another case the fight went so ugly that some private info of a TCG members was posted to the web.

All these infightings result in an unbelievable situation that when Ma is already half-way done cutting Taiwan's throat, we are still focusing in hand-in-hand wrestling among ourselves.

How can any of us expect to survive Ma using this approach ? When we are fighting a battle against someone, could we possibly win that battle by fighting someone else ? What can we possibly gain if we leave Ma alone but work so hard trying to annihilate TCG ?

On the way of reaching down the end of this article, one voice kept coming out from my mind --- why are you spending time on this, Echo? Ministry of Justice is covering up the crime of Ma Ying-jeou and his sister (Non-lawyer Ma Ying-jeou misrepresents reality yet again); Taichung Mayor Jason Hu says he did nothing wrong when he violated the law (1健身車5發票 胡志強拚消費 帶頭違法), Ma government is opening doors for China to invest in (and control) Taiwan's internet (Newslets (09.02.10, Tue)), etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc ... There are tons of more serious problems to tackle, and every split of seconds you spend on writing (and someone reading) this, Ma and his cohort are getting away from their crime and Taiwan is one step closer to slavery. So JUST-WHAT-ON-EARTH-ARE-YOU-FREAKING-DOING-HERE, ECHO ?

Note: New announcement from TCG.



habeas [14/2/09 10:10] said...

After reading through the Nov. 3 and Dec. 17, 2008 Court documents ( available at http://www.civil-taiwan.org/usca.htm ), I believe that the legal logic of this court case is much more sound that the rationale that TI supporters are promoting.

A great majority of the TI people believe that Taiwan needs to be independent from the ROC. However, Hartzell-Lin point out that the Allies have never recognized Taiwan as being incorporated into ROC national territory. Thus, all the efforts to "revise" or "amend" the ROC Constitution are poppycock . . . . and aren't helping the causes of Taiwanese self-identity or Taiwanese self-determination at all.

Taiwan today remains under the jurisdiction of the military arm of the US government. That is the historical and legal truth that this lawsuit points out. Hence, native Taiwanese people are entitled to certain fundamental rights under the US Constitution, and these include the right to travel and to hold a passport, which are included in the "liberty" of the Fifth Amendment.

Contrastingly, there is no basis under ROC LAW for native Taiwanese people to be holding ROC passports and identification documents. The most commonly quoted legal reference for the mass naturalization of native Taiwanese persons as having ROC nationality is a military order of Jan. 12, 1946, issued during a period of military occupation (and therefore a war crime). Moreover, this order was never affirmed by the Legislative Yuan or otherwise made into a law. Hence, the notion that native Taiwanese people have "ROC nationality" is a fraud perpetrated on Taiwan (and the international community) by the ROC regime. It is only via the US court system that this injustice can be rectified.

Taiwan Echo [14/2/09 14:20] said...


I am not sure at this moment if Lin's arguments are more sound than TIers, but I support their move to bring this issue to the court.

>>> Hence, the notion that native Taiwanese people have "ROC nationality" is a fraud perpetrated on Taiwan (and the international community) by the ROC regime

How about the Article 10 of Treaty of Taipei ?

habeas [15/2/09 21:34] said...

Article 10 of the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty (Treaty of Taipei) of August 5, 1952 specifies: "For the purposes of the present Treaty, nationals of the Republic of China shall be deemed to include all the inhabitants and former inhabitants of Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) and their descendents who are of the Chinese nationality in accordance with the laws and regulations which have been or may hereafter be enforced by the Republic of China in Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores)...."

The ROC Nationality Law was originally promulgated in February 1929, when Taiwan was a part of Japan. It was revised in February 2000, however there were no Articles addressing the mass naturalization of Taiwanese persons as ROC citizens. Hence, the conditions of Article 10 of the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty in regard to "in accordance with the laws and regulations which have been or may hereafter be enforced by the Republic of China in Taiwan...." have yet to be fulfilled.

Anonymous [16/2/09 14:39] said...

If you are familiar with Art 5, Treaty of Shimonoseki for the "interim nationality" of Formosans in 1895, then you will further understand Art. 9, Treaty of Paris for "interim nationality" of Cuban, Puerto Rican, Filipino, and Guam in 1898. The civil rights of islanders was "defined" for Art. 9 in Downes v Bidwell, 1901. So the former Japanese national of Formosan island residency are also "interim nationality" of SFPT. It is customary law of SFPT that is also the domestic law of US. Interim nationality of SFPT is the crux of the court debate for the US case because of the civil rights protections for interim nationality. The State Dept lawyer tries to argue the INA statutes strictly defines "non-nationals" as American Samoa. The State Dept does not want "ROC Chinese" to have the Art. 9 civil rights of Formosans under SFPT. Bottomline, this is just "Chinese exclusion" from SFPT by proponents of One China but SFPT islanders of Art. 2 and 3 cessions got the same civil rights of Art 9 in 1983.

Richard@insular [16/2/09 19:28] said...

A lengthy explanation of why native Taiwanese people are entitled to hold "US national non-citizen passports" is available at http://www.taiwankey.net/dc/applyp6.htm

This online explanation also explains why the current classification of native Taiwanese people as having "ROC nationality" is totally without legal basis.

Taiwan Echo [17/2/09 01:42] said...

habeas: 'Hence, the conditions of Article 10 of the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty in regard to "in accordance with the laws and regulations which have been or may hereafter be enforced by the Republic of China in Taiwan...." have yet to be fulfilled.'

Thanks, habeas, this is very helpful.

Taiwan Echo [17/2/09 02:27] said...

Anon: If you are familiar with Art 5, Treaty of Shimonoseki for the "interim nationality" of Formosans in 1895

The term "interim nationality" is just a term we use to describe the situation, but not a formal legal definition of that, right ? I tried to search it on the net but it seems only appears in the case related to Taiwan.

So the former Japanese national of Formosan island residency are also "interim nationality" of SFPT

In the Art. 5 of Treaty of Shimonoseki, the 'interim nationality' is to describe the 'transitional nationality' between the Qing (the loser) and Japan (the winner).

How is this 'loser-to-winner' transitional nationality apply to SFPT ? Japan-to-USA ? For how long ?

If we define Taiwan residents as having 'interim nationality' now, that would mean that Japan still have the right. This doesn't seem to apply.

I am a bit confused what the role of 'interim nationality' is here. Or maybe I misunderstand it ?

Taiwan Echo [17/2/09 02:34] said...


Thanks for the link:
Statement of Historical and Legal Evidence for US Nationality Status

There's another page on taiwankey seems to be worth reading:
The ROC/Taiwan and the Montevideo Convention

Richard, are you in any way associated with Taiwankey, or know someone there? I think adding a navigation menu on that website will be helpful.

Taiwan Echo [17/2/09 02:53] said...

There's a discussion over Asia Times back in 2004 in which Richard Hartzell and Jeff Geer participated:


It's lengthy and the way Asia Times published it (mixed with other subjects) makes it very hard to follow.

taiwan keyman [17/2/09 23:58] said...

Here is one mini-menu from the Taiwankey site

Viewpoint on the Taiwan Question

Dixteel [18/2/09 02:33] said...

I agree with you, Echo. I am not totally convinced by Mr. Lin argument but he has a case, and the US courts, and other people around the world should hear it, to clear out misconception and get clear picture on Taiwan's history, legal status and situations.

I would say that different movement within the TI are not totally contradicting to each others. I think all the different claims and theory leads to similar end: ending the control of ROC over Taiwan and get away from PRC...give Taiwan back to Taiwanese.

So indeed, TI people should not attack each others. We just put our effert in and help out in different ways. Some discussions are of course necessary, but attacks are not.

To all those who try to help Taiwan in this dire situation...I solute you.

Taiwan Echo [18/2/09 07:36] said...

taiwan keyman: Here is one mini-menu

Thanks, taiwan keyman

Taiwan Echo [18/2/09 21:51] said...

To Dixteel,

Yes, infighting will only benefit those pro-china power.

But there's a subtle difference here. Although the common effect as you described is the same (that is, ending the control of ROC over Taiwan and get away from PRC), Lin/Hartzell's group don't seem to be a TI group.

If we support L/H, does that mean we are supporting a non-TI group? Doesn't that violate the idea that we have been fighting for ?

This actually brought up a more fundamental question that I have been asking myself for years:

Is TI our ultimate goal?

What is there beyond the point of TI? Shouldn't we think about that too?

After years of observations and thinking, I already put the idea of "TI as the gold" aside. Instead, I now believe:

TI is our TOOL, not our GOAL

TI should be taken as a tool to reach a better society, in which very one can benefit, not just pan-green or pan-blue.

This thinking immediately brought me to a new direction, a new horizon that is very different from TIers. It also made me see things a lot different from TIers do.

Since to me TI is just a tool but not my goal, it's actually much easier for me to acknowledge the work of L/H's -- their's is just another tool for a better Taiwan (my goal that is). So why not ?

cheerleader [19/2/09 22:35] said...

Here is a Chinese language chart which the Lin-Hartzell group put up which explains how Taiwan could achieve independence via their methodology.


This chart shows the path to independence for any territory which has come under United States control as the result of "conquest" and was then ceded in a peace treaty.

So, it is relevant to the situations of Puerto Rico, Guam, and Taiwan in the present era. (These areas have not yet achieved independence.)

Meanwhile, the path by which the Philippines and Cuba became independent can easily be followed on the chart as well.

Note: All military attacks against Taiwan during the WWII period were conducted by US military forces. The ROC military troops did not participate. Hence, the USA is the "conqueror."

Taiwan Echo [19/2/09 23:24] said...

Many thanks for the chart link, cheerleader.

I am still puzzled why people keep spreading the rumor that TCG's goal is to eventually hand Taiwan over to China.

When Hartzell talked about what he thought the intention of US is through all those treaties, he was obviously providing his interpretation based on his expertise on law.

Those anti-TCG people just distort 'interpretation' as 'goal', and started spreading rumor. That is very very low ...

TI doubter [20/2/09 09:56] said...

The tw_steps.htm chart provided by Roger Lin's group is very good.

Can anyone direct me to any sort of chart or analysis on the internet posted by the Taiwan Independence supporters regarding the step by step progression of how Taiwan can obtain nationhood under their agenda?

I seem to recall that former President Chen promised a new Taiwan Constitution by 2006, and then implementation of it before he left office. However, I don't recall the TI supporters ever explaining how that was to be accomplished in a step by step progression. Obviously, the new Taiwan Constitution never happened.

Where is the analysis of the TI people as to how Taiwan can obtain nationhood? (I would hope to see specific details as opposed to a lot of sloganeering and psychological hype.)