Taxi Talk

Taxi by Patrick Cowsill
Taxi, a photo by Patrick Cowsill on Flickr.

I took the above taxi yesterday. I asked the driver about the two American flags sticking out the back. He asked me if I knew about San Francisco. "Sure," I said. "I've been there many times."

"No, San Francisco 1952? The Treaty of San Francisco?"

The Treaty of San Francisco clarified that Japan did not have any claim over Taiwan after the Second World War. Chapter II, Article 2, (b) states the following: "Japan renounces all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores." This a bit redundant, especially since Japan agreed to give up all claims in the summer of 1945 when she agreed to the terms of the Potsdam Declaration in order to unconditionally surrender.

According to the taxi driver, Taiwan still belongs to the U.S. He asked me how I felt about that. "I'm not really into having colonies. And how does this serve Taiwan?" I asked. "If it is how you say, wouldn't it be better just to give Taiwan back to Taiwan?"

"You can't give Taiwan back to Taiwan because China will steal it every time," was the reply.

I'm looking at Potsdam right now. The terms state Japan would return to its pre-1895 status; it doesn't make mention of Taiwan returning to China. Why would it? The China of 1945 was a much different thing than the China of 1895. Plus, China signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki to get rid of Taiwan. In other words, China didn't want Taiwan.

I can't find anything in the San Francisco Treaty that says the Republic of China can set up here (I admit I should read it more closely). The Republic of China wasn't even invited to San Francisco to attend.

There is something in the Potsdam Declaration that could possibly validate China's presence: "the occupation of points of Japanese territory to designated to the Allies." Formosa isn't mentioned by name.

I can't help but to think of recent news in regard to the "occupation" word. The KMT government has set about to revise "history" textbooks once again. The plan is to call the Japanese colonial era an occupation and then have it taught to our kids, even though Japan signed a treaty in 1895 to receive and govern Taiwan. The revisers are not calling the KMT arrival an "occupation of points of Japanese territory," etc. They don't seem to think it's an occupation at all.

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