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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kuomintang Martial Law Era

The Cairo Conference from 22 to 26 November 1943 in Cairo, Egypt was held to address the Allied position against Japan during World War II, and to make decisions about postwar Asia. One of the three main clauses of the Cairo Declaration was that "all the territories Japan has stolen from China, including Manchuria, Taiwan and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China'. However, many challenged that the document was merely a statement of intent for possible reference used for those who would draft the post-war peace treaty and that it was a press release without force of law to transfer sovereignty from Taiwan to the Republic of China. The general counter-argument for this claim is that while the Cairo Declaration itself was a non-binding declaration, it was given legal effect by the Japanese Instrument of Surrender.
On 25 October 1945, the US Navy ferried ROC troops to Taiwan in order to accept the formal surrender of Japanese military forces in Taipei (then called Taihoku). General Rikichi Andō, governor-general of Taiwan and commander-in-chief of all Japanese forces on the island, signed the instrument of surrender and handed it over to General Chen Yi of the RoC military to complete the official turnover. Chen Yi proclaimed that day to be "Retrocession Day of Taiwan". The ROC administration of Taiwan under Chen Yi was strained by social and political instabilities, which were compounded by economic woes, such as hyperinflation. Furthermore, cultural and linguistic conflicts between Taiwanese and the mainland Chinese quickly led to the loss of popular support for the new government. This culminated in a series of severe clashes between the ROC occupiers and the Taiwanese, in turn leading to the 228 incident (an estimated 20,000-30,000 civilians were executed by the ROC Army) and the reign of White Terror.During the White Terror, a period of the longest martial law in the world, over 38 years, was imposed and many, many thousands of Taiwanese were arrested, tortured, imprisoned and executed for their real or perceived opposition to the Kuomintang Party. Since these people were mainly from the intellectual and social elite an entire generation of political and social leaders was decimated. It was not until 2008 that a public apology was made for those actions. No form of restitution or compensation has ever been made (as of 2010).

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