Tell it to SunStar: History and legal facts of Taiwan

·3 min read

Taiwan has been an inalienable part of China’s territory since ancient times. The history and legal facts are very clear. There are plenty of historical records and documents that show how the Chinese people developed Taiwan in earlier periods. The world’s earliest account of Taiwan could be found in the Seaboard Geographic Gazetteer compiled in 230 A.D. by Shen Ying of the State of Wu during the Three Kingdoms period. In 1335, the Yuan dynasty set up a patrol and inspection agency in Penghu to administer civil affairs in Penghu and Taiwan, and the Chinese central government has since exercised effective jurisdiction over Taiwan. “Taiwan” was first used in official documents during the reign of Emperor Wanli (1573-1620) in the Ming dynasty, and has become the established name ever since. In April 1895, Japan forced the defeated Qing government to cede Taiwan and the Penghu Islands. Chinese people, including our fellow countrymen in Taiwan, began their fight against Japanese colonial rule.

During the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the Communist Party of China and the Nationalist Party both put forth the goal of recovering Taiwan. The Cairo Declaration released by China, the US and the UK on 1 December 1943 stated that it is the purpose of the three countries that all the territories Japan had stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Taiwan and Penghu, shall be restored to China. The Potsdam Proclamation signed by China, the US and the UK on 26 July 1945 reiterated that “the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out.” On 15 August 1945, Japan accepted the terms of the Potsdam Proclamation and surrendered unconditionally, marking victory in the World Anti-Fascist War and the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. Taiwan was recovered on 25 October of the same year. Since then, Taiwan and Penghu have been put back under China’s sovereign jurisdiction and recognized as a part of China legally and politically as well as in reality.

As a result of the Chinese civil war from 1945 to 1949, the defeated Nationalists retreated to Taiwan, set up a regime on the island, and created a special situation of prolonged political antagonism between the two sides across the Taiwan Strait, from which the Taiwan question arose. However, China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity have never been divided, and the fact that the two sides of the Strait belong to one and the same China and that Taiwan is part of China has never changed. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 adopted in 1971 made it clear that there is but one China in the world, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, and the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. As many as 181 countries, including the US, have established diplomatic relations with China on the basis of the one-China principle. The US side has made solemn commitments to China on the one-China principle and in the three China-US joint communiques. Therefore, from both historical and legal perspectives, it is clear that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.