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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Exposing China’s lies on Taiwan

Exposing China’s lies on Taiwan

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The Potsdam Declaration, also known as the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender, was issued on July 26, 1945, by then-US president Harry Truman, then-British prime minister Winston Churchill and then-Republic of China president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) at the Potsdam Conference just outside Berlin, following Germany’s unconditional surrender nine weeks earlier.

High-ranking Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials have a history of using Potsdam during visits to Germany to bolster the party’s propaganda line on Taiwan.

Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) delivered a speech in Potsdam in 2002, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), then-member of the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee, did the same in 2009 and Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) went in 2013.

In each of their speeches, Jiang, Xi and Wang referenced Article 8 of the Potsdam Declaration, which calls for the enactment of the Cairo Declaration, issued two years prior in 1943.

The passage of the Cairo Declaration, which they referenced in their speeches, is: “all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China.”

Formosa is the old name for Taiwan; the Pescadores for the Penghu Islands.

Germany has gradually imbibed China’s many years of Potsdam propaganda, so that a recent invitation by Representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) to Bundestag President Barbel Bas to emulate US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this month was turned down on the grounds of an issue with sovereignty.

This is a common misapprehension: Germany is but one of many examples where politicians around the world have misunderstood the context of both declarations as they relate to Taiwan.

On Aug. 10, China published a new white paper on Taiwan: “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era,” which cites the Cairo Declaration as a legal basis for the annexation of Taiwan by force. Beijing’s deliberate distortion of the Cairo Declaration as a form of “lawfare” should sound alarm bells.

Shieh should politely point German officials to a debate on the “Formosa Situation” in Britain’s House of Commons on Feb. 1, 1955. The debate is recorded in volume 536 of Hansard, the official record of UK Parliamentary debates, and can also be found in a search of the UK Parliament Web site.

During the debate, Churchill was asked by then-member of parliament Reginald Sorensen: “To what extent his [Churchill’s] joint declaration with the late [US] President Roosevelt and the late Marshal Stalin that Formosa should be restored to the Chinese Government, remains the policy of Her Majesty’s Government.”

Churchill responded: “There seems to me to be a misprint in the hon. Member’s Question. To correct it the words ‘Marshal Stalin’ should be left out and the words ‘Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’ inserted. This was, in fact, the Cairo Declaration of Dec. 1, 1943. It contained merely a statement of common purpose. Since it was made a lot of things have happened.”

“The problem of Formosa has become an international problem in which a number of other nations are closely concerned. The question of future sovereignty over Formosa was left undetermined by the Japanese Peace Treaty,” Churchill added.

Furthermore, according to the People’s Republic of China’s archival records, at the Cairo Conference Britain maintained that Formosa and Manchuria should be relinquished by Japan, but that neither country should be absorbed into the then-Republic of China.

Chiang made a proposal to Roosevelt that Formosa, in addition to the former Russian naval base of Port Arthur — annexed by Japan during the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War and renamed Ryojun by Japan, and known today as Lushunkou District (旅順口區) in China’s Dalian City — should be used jointly by the US and China’s respective navies and air forces.

Under Chiang’s proposal, China would have full rights of possession and the US would enjoy usage rights, and Formosa and Manchuria would be partitioned. However, the proposal was never adopted. The details of Chiang’s proposal, and its rejection, are recorded in Chiang’s diary in the entry for June 13, 1945.

Roosevelt’s position at the conference was that Formosa and Manchuria should enjoy “self-government.”

Neither Chiang, Churchill nor Roosevelt believed that the Cairo Declaration provided for Formosa and Manchuria to be handed over to China. The press communique issued at the conclusion of the conference also did not state that this was an agreed common purpose among the three nations. Unfortunately, more than 100 nations around the world, including Germany, have been duped by the CCP’s propaganda.

Chiang was aware that the Cairo Declaration did not provide a legal mandate that Taiwan should be returned to China, and that, ipso facto, Article 8 of the Potsdam Declaration also did not give Taiwan to China.

On July 26, 1945, prior to the issuance of the Potsdam Declaration, Chiang received a telegram from Truman. Chiang was far from happy. Truman gave him a deadline of 24 hours to accept the telegram’s contents. If the Potsdam Declaration had restored Taiwan to China, there would have been no need for the 24-hour ultimatum.

Chiang’s diary entry for July 26, 1945, reads: “This morning at 8:45am I was paid a visit by [US] ambassador [Patrick] Hurley and [governor] K.C. Wu [吳國楨] who presented a translation of a telegram (the full text of the Potsdam Declaration) sent by [US] president Truman. I was informed by Wu I had 24 hours to reply, or Britain and the US would independently announce the warning [declaration] to Japan.

“After carefully reading the translated text again, I told Hurley in no uncertain terms ... Britain and the US in future should provide more time for consultation over such important matters ... furthermore the first line of the telegram referred only to the US president and British prime minister, neglecting to mention the president of China, this was even more unsatisfactory... Churchill is simply doing what he is told; the entire affair shows the degree to which the US Department of State despises China and the depths of their prejudice,” he wrote.

In another diary entry later that day Chiang wrote: “After recording this morning’s business I sunk into a deep state of melancholy and my mind wandered to the events of July last year, when day after day saw fresh humiliations at the hands of the Americans. When will things begin to improve?”

The CCP is a habitual liar and it seeks to use the Cairo Declaration as a basis to justify annexation of Taiwan. For the sake of the nation, the government must do everything in its power to expose this lie.

Sim Kiantek is a former associate professor in the Department of Business Administration at National Chung Hsing University.

Translated by Edward Jones

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2022/08/24

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