The sixty-seven year control of Taiwan by the exiled Republic of China government has a new challenger on the scene boldly named Taiwan Government. The new group is being organized by two men, an American living in Taiwan and a Taiwanese living in America. Nieco Tsai said on May 30 that a formal announcement and ceremony will soon be scheduled to launch a future provisional government. Meanwhile Richard Hartzell is completing a week-long tour of the island today gathering support for the new organization.
Taiwan Government is the result of a schism in another group called Taiwan Civil Government. The TCG faction is led by Roger Lin who could not be reached for comment. The underlying doctrine of both groups is that Taiwan is entitled to self-determination and that the ROC is an occupation government.
Under the San Francisco Peace Treaty that ended World War II between Japan and the United States the status of Taiwan, then called Formosa, was left undetermined with the United States named as “principal occupying power”. However, the Cold War and the menace of “Red China” pushed the United States to install Chiang Kai-shek as administrator over the island. After his 1949 defeat by Mao Tse-tung, the Kuomintang dictator moved his government and two million soldiers and politicians into exile on Taiwan.
The schism within TCG that gave birth to Taiwan Government was over finances, transparency and control. Roger Lin, who still holds the reins at TCG, was the chief plaintiff in Lin vs. United States which resulted in a 2009 declaration by the District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals that Taiwan was trapped in “political purgatory” as a result of American foreign policy that used “strategic ambiguity” to keep the island’s status unresolved. Lin was also once a confidant to ROC Presidents Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian but both have severed their relationships with Lin.
Richard Hartzell, the American living in Taiwan, long ago embraced Taipei as his home and has done more to advance Taiwan independence then most Taiwanese. Hartzell, a legal researcher, has carefully followed the paper trail all the way from the Cairo Declaration to the present and maintains that the ROC is subordinate to the United States which still has treaty obligations to the people of Taiwan. Hartzell has published his research and lectures extensively on the topic. Hartzell was also the TCG executive director until his break with Lin a week ago at the start of his island tour.
Nieco Tsai, the Formosan living in America, is a Los Angeles businessman, and has been the chief representative of TCG in the United States. Tsai came into recognition several years ago for leading weekly vigils for Taiwan outside the Los Angeles Federal Building. Last year Tsai had a prayer meeting with the Dalai Lama to discuss Taiwan and is known as a fiery public speaker. Tsai, who speaks five languages, regularly jets back and forth between the United States and Taiwan where he also maintains a home.
It is unknown if Roger Lin will be able to keep the five-story TCG headquarters in Taiwan complete with its own heliport or if the group will fold following the defection of Hartzell and Tsai. Both Hartzell and Tsai pledge to renew their efforts to gain self-determination for Taiwan with the assistance of the United States.
The entrenched Republic of China in-exile is probably not too concerned about Taiwan Government yet, but the goal of the pro-America group is a non-Chinese democratic government for Taiwan and that is an idea whose time may have come.