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Taiwan does NOT belong to China. See who says so.


China and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) keep telling the world that Taiwan has always belonged to China. The Chinese government never gets tired of reiterating that Taiwan, like Tibet, is an ‘inalienable/inseparable part of the motherland’. Even though most people would agree that self-determination is the highest principle and that ‘historical links’ cannot justify China’s claim over someone else’s country, it is still important to look into historical documents from the ancient and the contemporary China to see if the evidence supports or contradicts China’s claim. I will start with some historical records, following the chronological order. The translation of the title of those historical documents is tentative as I cannot be certain whether official translation has been established for them.


It was stated in the Story of Wangliuqiu (Taiwan) in the History of the Yuan Dynasty

All the overseas barbarians are subjugated. Only Wangliuqiu (Taiwan) never submitted themselves to our authority.

「海外諸蕃,罔不臣屬,惟王留求 (台灣) 邇閩境,未曾歸附」 ─《元史》〈王留求傳〉

NB. The Yuan Dynasty in the Chinese history was actually the period under the rule of the Mongolian Empire. The Chinese never admitted that their sovereignty was taken over by another country. They convinced themselves that the outer Mongolians were simply an ethnic minority group in the Chinese family. The same argument was applied to the Manchu (Qing) Dynasty. The trouble was that although the Han Chinese were eager to chase those ‘barbarian’ (蠻夷) rulers out of their territory, they feel entitled to claim any territory conquered by or even just remotely related to those barbarians.


In 1368, in his inaugural imperial edict, Hungwu Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, pointed out the overseas neighbouring countries which did not belong to China;

Korea is in the Northeast; Japan is in the east-northeast; the State of Great Ryukyu and the State of Little Ryukyu (Taiwan) are in the South – southeast.

「東北,朝鮮國。正東偏北,日本國。正南偏東,大琉球國、小琉球國」 – 朱元璋

He also said

I am worried that my offspring may take China’s strengths for granted and invade other countries for no good reasons. These countries include … the State of Great Ryukyu (now Okinawa, Japan), the State of Little Ryukyu (Taiwan)… … Those overseas barbarian countries are not troubling China. We should not take military actions against them. There is an old saying: “a large territory does not guarantee long-term stability but poverty is always the cause for social unrest and upheaval.”

「吾恐後世子孫,倚中國富強,貪一時戰功,無故興兵。將不征諸夷國名開列於後:…小琉球國」. 「海外夷國,…不為中國患者,不可輒用兵。古人言:『地廣非久安之計,民窮乃易變之原』」 ─ 朱元璋


A military general of the Ming Dynasty, Sheng Yourong, was sent to Taiwan to fight the Japanese pirates in 1603. Taiwan was called the Eastern Barbarian at the time. Someone asked Sheng

Those Japanese pirates went to the Eastern Barbarian, which does not belong to us. Why should we send our troops there?

One of Sheng’s subordinate, Chen Di, replied for Sheng in one of his article

It’s true that those thieves’ base is not part of our territory but if we see it being overseas as an excuse for not attacking them, we will never destroy those Japanese pirates.

In the Words of Advice about the Taiwan Strait, written by Sheng Yourong.



Zheng Jing, the eldest son of Koxinga, declared his kingdom in Taiwan independent, naming it the Kingdom of Dongning and called himself the King of Dongning. In 1663, he wrote in his letter to one of the Dukes in the Manchu Dynasty

Dongning (Taiwan) is far away and not even remotely related to the Chinese territory.

In A Summary Record of Events Related to the Taiwan Strait’, written in Ming Dynasty by Xia Lin.

鄭經退入台灣,建立獨立自主的東寧王國。稱「東寧國主」。 鄭經於 1663年,復靖南王耿繼茂招降書道【東寧(台灣)偏隅,遠在海外,與中國版圖渺不相涉】。鄭成功之子。(閩海紀要,  夏琳著)


In 1667, Zheng Jing told a Manchu government official

Dongning is far out in the sea and has never been part of China. We have our own aristocracy and our culture and civilisation compare well with the Chinese .

In the Chronicle of the Zhengs in Taiwan



Huang Zongxi, a prominent scholar in Ming and Manchu Dynasties, wrote in the Biography of Koxinga

Taiwan has never been part of our territory…

黃宗羲於 [鄭成功傳] 曰【台自破荒,不載版圖。】


Huang  Zongxi also wrote

Taiwan is a deserted island in the sea… it was later occupied by the red haired barbarians (i.e. the Dutch) who built several towns called Taiwan, Keelung, Tamshui



Sheng Guangwen, a scholar in the Ming and Manchu Dynasties and the deputy head of the department in charge of formal ceremonies and worships, wrote in the preface of the Dongyin society poetry

Taiwan is outside of Fujian in the sea… It has never had any connections to China.

Recorded in the Revised History of Taiwan, written by Zhou Yuanwen



In 1680, When persuading Zheng Jing to surrender to the Manchu Dynasty, Lai Ta, a Manchu military general, told Zheng

Taiwan has never been part of China…

Recorded in the Selected Notes of the History of the Manchu Dynasty



In 1683, Shi Lang, the military general who invaded Taiwan for the Manchu Dynasty, wrote in the Chronicles of Quelling the Overseas Rebellion

Taiwan is a foreign and backward place, occupied by various aboriginals and barbarians, and has never been part of China.

施琅:(靖海紀事),康熙22年,恭陳台灣棄留疏: 【台灣一地,原屬化外,土番雜處,未入版圖也。】


In 1683, Kangxi Emperor of the Manchu Dynasty said

… Taiwan is overseas and does not matter a great deal…’ ‘… It is the size of a pinball. We will not benefit from taking it and there is no loss if we leave it alone ’.

In the Selected Records of the Kangxi Emperor



In 1684, Jin Hong, a government official of the Manchu Dynasty, said

Taiwan has always been a deserted land and never been part of China…

Recorded in the History of Fujian: Taiwan



In 1695, Yang Tingyao, a government official of the Manchu Dynasty, wrote a preface for the History of Taiwan where he stated

Taiwan is standing alone out in the sea and was unheard of between the Han Dynasty (206 BC) and the Yuan Dynasty (the Mongolian Empire). Towards the end of the Ming Dynasty, it was occupied by the dwarf Japanese and the Dutch.



In 1695, Jian Zhiyang, a government official of the Manchu Dynasty, wrote a preface for the History of Taiwan where he stated

Taiwan is an isolated island, surrounded by the sea… For thousands of years, it has always been occupied by barbarians… China sees it as barren and deserted.

In the History of Taiwan



In 1713, Wu Zhenchen stated

Taiwan used to be deserted… and was never part of China.

In the Notes of the Taiwanese Geography.



In 1723, Yongzheng Emperor stated

Taiwan was never part of China. It was only annexed [to China] because of my father’s intelligent planning and great power.



In 1728, Lan Dingyuan, a government official, stated

No one knew about Taiwan until the middle part of the Ming Dynasty when the Eunuch Admiral, Zheng He, took refuge [in Taiwan] due to a storm……[After Kangxi Emperor conquer the island,] there was no local authority and our control [of Taiwan] only covered an area of 60-70 km2. It has now been extended to a much larger area and the sugar and the rice grown in Taiwan benefit the whole China.

In the Report on the Management and Administration of Taiwan

藍鼎元:(治台必告錄),雍正6年,鹿洲文集,檄台灣民人:【台地宋、元以前並無人知;至明中葉,太監王三保舟下西洋,遭風至此,始知有此一地…… 國家初沒郡縣,管轄不過百餘里;距今未四十年,而開墾流移之眾,延袤三千餘里,糖、穀之利甲天下】。廬州知府。


Sheng Qiyuan, a government official of the Manchu Dynasty (under Yongzheng Emperor), stated

Taiwan was never part of our territory…… until we eliminated the rebels’.

In Archives of the Taiwanese Aboriginals

沈起元:(台灣理蕃古文書),雍正年間,治台私議:【夫台灣片土,自開闢以來,幾千萬年無論入版圖…… 至我朝剪除氛孽而台灣始入版圖】。台灣知府。


Liu Liangbi stated in 1742

Taiwan was deserted and never part of China’s territory…… China never knew about Taiwan until the Ming Dynasty.

In the Revised History of Taiwan

劉良壁:(重修福建台灣府志),乾隆7年,建置沿革:【台灣府,古荒地也。先是,未隸中國版圖。明宣德間,太監三保,舟下西洋,因風泊此】。自序:【台介閩海之東…….. 顧自有明之前,中國皆未之知】。


In 1746, Fan Xien, a government official, stated

Taiwan never belonged to China… [Taiwan] was a remote island out in the sea and there was never a local authority set up for it.

In the Revised History of Taiwan



In 1807, Xue Zhiliang, a government official, stated

Taiwan stands alone in the sea…… It never belonged to us and the language is completely different from ours.

In A Compiled History of Taiwan



In the Annals of Fujian – Taiwan (1868), it was reported that

Taiwan was deserted and never related to China since the ancient time. It was called the Eastern Barbarian. It was occupied by the red haired Dutch barbarians for some years in the Ming Dynasty and later belonged to Japan.



Wu Ziguang (1875) stated

Taiwan was the State of Pisheyeh in the ancient time. The name “Taiwan” only started to emerge after the middle of the Ming Dynasty.

In the Chronicle of Taiwan



Sheng Baozhen, a famous senior government official of the Manchu dynasty, stated in 1875

Taiwan was only a deserted island out in the sea. Since it was taken by Kangxi Emperor, three local authorities was set up: Taiwan, Fengshan, Zhulo (now Chia-yi). No local authority was established anywhere north of Chia-yi.



The above texts are simply a very small selection of the historical records, confirming that Taiwan did not belong to China before 1683. They also indicate that the Manchu Dynasty did not have control of the whole island. They probably only gained full control in 1885 when Taiwan was finally made a province. However, Taiwan was permanently ceded to Japan 10 years later. Even the Chinese leaders in the 20th century did not regard Taiwan as part of China. For example, in 1936, Mao Zedong stated that if the Koreans wish to free themselves from the Japanese, we will strongly support them in their fight for independence and the same applies to Taiwan (In Red Star Over China, written by Edgar Snow).

毛澤東: 「如果朝鮮人民希望掙脫日本帝國主義者的枷鎖,我們熱烈支持他們爭取獨立的戰鬥,這點同樣適用於台灣」。證據:「紅星照耀中國」1936年7月1日毛之談話。


In 1938, Chang Kaishek stated

the president believes that we must help Korea and Taiwan regain their independence and freedom in order to strengthen the national defence of the Republic of China.

蔣介石: 「總理以為,我們必須使高麗、台灣恢復獨立自由,才能鞏固中華民國的國防」。證據:1938 年4月蔣介石「抗日戰爭與本黨前途」。

(i.e. He did not claim Taiwan as part of the Republic of China but seemed to see Taiwan as a foreign country like Korea.)


In 1941, Zhou Enlai (then Premier of China) stated

We are sympathetic about the independence movements in other nations. We should not only help Korea and Taiwan but also India and other South East Asian countries with their liberation movements.


(i.e. Zhou saw Taiwan as a foreign country like Korea, India and other South Asian countries.)


The above records are proof that China’s claim of ‘longstanding historical links’ with Taiwan is flimsy. However, with or without historical links, self-determination should be the highest principle. I am aware of China’s growing strengths and it is increasingly difficult for Taiwan to survive under their unreasonable political demands. However, this does not mean that Taiwanese or those who care about Taiwan cannot reveal facts, express what they think and work towards what they want.


(Thanks to Tim Maddog for correcting some of the translations and wording.)

21 Comments leave one →
  1. 16/09/2010 16:11

    Awesome collection. Good to see you back on the blog!!!


  2. 16/09/2010 21:28

    Great research!! I especially liked the last two quotes where the CCP and KMT both wanted Taiwan to be independent when it was a Japanese colony.

  3. jeromein vals permalink
    16/09/2010 22:03

    But make no mistake and beware a foul smell.
    Wherever Michael goes, “are taqi taqi” minkuk mongrels are sure to go.
    None of his doings though.

  4. 17/09/2010 19:26

    Thanks for the hard work, Claudia.

    Btw, I am not sure why this post shows up in my blog roll with a title:

    googleab1c466322b751cd.html –

    • Claudia Jean permalink*
      17/09/2010 19:54

      Sorry about that. It was a technical error. I’ve deleted that particular entry but I’m not sure if I can do anything about the links that have already gone out.

  5. 17/09/2010 20:23

    Very nice. As a one time resident of lovely Formosa, I hope it can continue to stand its ground in terms of independence.

  6. 17/09/2010 23:43

    The British also continue to insists that Queen Elizabeth, Victoria are actually English… when in reality, they’re French invaders. Idiots.

    I have a hard time understanding the use of the initial quotes from Taiwan Fuzhi, a historical record written by Qing officials appointed to administer Taiwan (Jiang Yuying), saying nothing more than confirming that Taiwan (before that period) had not been administered by any Chinese authority. (You might note, by the way, that these same Qing officials didn’t distinguish between Yuan “foreigners”, the Qing empire, and China (zhongguo) in these records.)

    Really, what does that do for you? Is there anyone disputing Taiwan’s history as a mostly barren rock before 1683? Indeed, you spend 2/3 of the entry discussing Taiwanese history before 1683. Does the 200 years of administration *after* 1683 have any significance in your mind? 200 years of direct administration from a government in Beijing doesn’t represent “long historical links”?

    And why do you selectively view the significance of treaties? If the 1895 treaty is significant proof that Taiwan was “permanently” ceded, then why are the various treaties/agreements/declarations rolling back that treaty insignificant to you?

    And if you give up on the historical/legal high ground and instead choose to use self-determination as your standard, why waste your time, and ours, by quoting all the other stuff earlier on? Could it be that in the absence of coherent logic, you thought intellectual intimidation via the copious repetition of classical Chinese would be more effective?

    • Claudia Jean permalink*
      18/09/2010 15:35

      The purpose of this post is to show that the history between China and Taiwan really isn’t that long. The claim of the ‘200 years of administration’ is iffy as well. Here are the maps that show the area where the Manchu (Qing) Dynasty had control over (thanks to Tim Maddog’s research on this):

      They indicate that the Chinese didn’t really administer much of Taiwan during that time and as soon as they nearly got the whole island under control, they permanently ceded it to Japan.

      Taiwan may or may not have been barren at the time but the words used by the Chinese to describe Taiwan and foreigners certainly show how arrogant they were towards others.

      As to the treaties you mentioned, they all referred back to the Cairo Declaration which the KMT claimed that Taiwan was returned to the ROC. However, it’s been revealed that it was simply a press release which no one signed. In other words, it doesn’t have any legal binding power.

      In my opinion, regardless of the legal or historical evidence, self-determination is the highest principle. However, this doesn’t mean that the truth about the history can’t be told and the legal arguments can’t be made. It’s not a waste of time unless someone simply doesn’t want to accept the facts.

      So perhaps in the absence of an evidence based mindset, you thought rudeness and quoting made up history or propaganda would be more effective?

    • 06/03/2011 23:16

      CC says “Really, what does that do for you? Is there anyone disputing Taiwan’s history as a mostly barren rock before 1683? Indeed, you spend 2/3 of the entry discussing Taiwanese history before 1683.”

      Umm, basically anything coming from the mouth of the PRC says, or implies, Taiwan was always part of china (often including the statement, “since ancient times”). This is political psychology at work… by painting a picture that some place has always been part of a country, then implying that country is the PRC, it is hoped everyone will conclude that territory has no choice but being part of the PRC. It reminds me of the stand-up comedy sketch I watched once where a politician said “Prisoners are criminals, but they also like to play basketball. do you want your child becoming a criminal? don’t let your child play basketball anymore!”

      Believe it or not, this stuff works in politics and mass media.

  7. jerome in vals permalink
    19/09/2010 02:01

    London cabbies might grouse about a lingering German accent and overall dourness amongst their Royals. However, impersonating Prince Philip’s French accent would be a hard sell. Here’s why.

    “The current Royal House of the United Kingdom is a branch of the German House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (German: Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha), which adopted the English name Windsor by a royal proclamation on the 17 July 1917.” (Quoted from:

    CC would be well advised not to dabble further in the genealogy of European royals, unless he has checked with Wiki first.

    CC has already enough on his plate with trying to promote Chinese Formosa – a tough sell.

  8. XAHKA permalink
    19/09/2010 20:00

    Taiwanese people speak Chinese and use Chinese characters. It is called the ROC, which is China and not Taiwan. If one were to speak of the time when only the aboriginals lived on the island (before 1700 I’d guess), then it might not part of China but the fact is that 98% of Taiwan is Han Chinese and speaks the Chinese language.

    Taiwan is Chinese.

    • Claudia Jean permalink*
      23/09/2010 16:55

      If your logic stands, a large part of the world should be English.

      As to ROC, it does not represent ‘China’ any more; PRC does. PRC has no sovereignty or jurisdiction over what goes on in Taiwan or ROC.

      You got to get your logic straight.

    • 24/09/2010 18:09

      Yo, XAHKA. 96% of Americans speak English, and even more than that write using a Roman alphabet.

      Therefore, people born in the USA are (at least according to your “logic”)… Roman Brits! Or maybe they’re not.

      But let’s ask Taiwanese themselves what they are. We can even let pro-China media ask. That should stack the odds in your favor, right?:
      – – –

      [My translation:]
      Given a choice of either Taiwanese or Chinese, over 7/10 (72%) of respondents consider themselves to be Taiwanese, an increase of four percentage points since talks resumed last year.
      – – –

      Do you care what Taiwanese themselves say?

      As for your claim about what “98%” of Taiwanese are, when those male immigrants from China had children with Aboriginal women, what happened to their descendants’ Aboriginal ancestry? Does it not count?

      Tim Maddog

    • islahermosatw permalink
      24/09/2010 22:21

      “98% of Taiwan is Han Chinese”?! I highly doubt it.
      Please define “Han Chinese”, “Chinese language”, and “China”.

    • 28/12/2010 04:08

      Great list of quotes. I assume you’ve read Emma Jinhua Teng’s book “Taiwan’s Imagined Geography: Chinese Colonial Travel Writing and Pictures, 1683-1895”? It makes a similar case for Chinese attitudes towards pre-modern Taiwan, but with about 300 pages of material including court documents, official and unofficial maps, popular travelogues and art, etc.

      I do have some doubts about your conclusion that CKS, Mao and Zhou supported or expected Taiwan to be an independent country following decolonization though. I suspect that there are probably more quotes in which they made it clear they intended that Taiwan return to Chinese sovereignty. That said, since you already have these quotes, the onus is on somebody wanting to make a counter-argument to find their own evidence.

      But as you say: “However, with or without historical links, self-determination should be the highest principle.”

      These discussions are interesting, but should be of no more relevance to Taiwan’s right to self-rule than the borders of ancient Judea should be to drawing the modern-day border between Israel and Palestine.

  9. jerome in vals permalink
    24/09/2010 23:10

    You BARFED: “It is called the ROC, which is China and not Taiwan.”

    Checking on and cleaning your mess:
    The ROChinese were (barely) allowed on JAPANESE Formosa by the US, the conqueror of JAPAN and the main occupying power in charge of occupied enemy territory, JAPANESE Formosa.

    Until the coming into force of SFPT on April 28, 1952, Formosa remained US-occupied bona fide JAPANESE territory. Your forefathers were but boat people forced upon six million Japanese nationals by those dorks in Washington.

    Why on earth the US would do that to the Formosa-born Japanese, unless Americans themselves were utterly ignorant racists?

    You BARFED: “If one were to speak of the time when only the aboriginals lived on the island (before 1700 I’d guess), then it might not part of China but the fact is that 98% of Taiwan is Han Chinese and speaks the Chinese language.”

    Checking on and cleaning your mess:
    Except for the about two millions refugees who came from China around 1949, the remaining 87% of residents on Formosa are either mountain people or Peipo-Fujianese mixed blood.

    According to the caste system of Colonial South America, the majority of Formosans Hoklo and Hakka would be called at best “criollio”, but most would really be “mestizo”.

    I assume you would want to cling to your status of “penninsular” if both your parents came from China in 1949. But then, don’t be surprised if you are hated by everybody (mestizo, cholo, mulato, zambo) around you, because you are but a plain “criollio chino” hailing from Formosa.

    You are an ignoramus. It is a huge drawback of the internet age that an ignorant of your caliber is allowed to vomit that tripe in the public arena.

    As penance, get back to me on this page with an apology:
    1) to the Formosan nation that was able to feed you,
    2) to Japan for having made Formosa what it is and,
    3) to the Austronesian cultural area spread all over the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

    Further directions for your dicey rehabilitation will follow.

    Meanwhile you will remain my pet “are taqi-taqi” minkuk mongrel.

  10. East Maverick permalink
    27/09/2010 18:13

    Fantastic and fascinating research work.

    I don’t think, though, that logical and moral justifications really have any bearing on reality in this right-makes-might world we live in. Consider these:

    Does anyone have any comment on the idea that Taiwan squandered its opportunity to break away from the Mainland in the 1950’s and 1960’s, when it was strong relative to China (as compared to now), partly because it was obsessed with getting it all back? Given that ship has long since sailed, given that the power pendulum has swung completely over to the Beijing side, Taiwan is stuck in limbo today, and reunification in a tomorrow not that far away.

    I wish it were otherwise, but the ever-powerful China will not let Taiwan negotiate its independence from China. Further, Taiwan does not believe in its official independence passionately enough for people to gladly put their lives and fortunes on the line.

    • Claudia Jean permalink*
      02/10/2010 18:53

      It’s true that Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT said they wanted to get China back and used this as an excuse of putting Taiwan under martial law. Those Taiwanese who wanted an independent Taiwan were either killed or jailed.

      As I said at the end of my post, regardless of the ‘reality’ or what might happen in future, truth has to be told. That was why I posted this article.

      It is also true that China will not let Taiwan negotiate independence. Taiwanese know that. That doesn’t mean Taiwanese cannot have their wishes or preference.

  11. Peter permalink
    05/11/2011 01:59

    Republic of China was founded by the KMT, therefore KMT should be the legit government of China. The communist fought & chase the KMT away to Taiwan. KMT became the government of Taiwan.

    In this sense, I would argue that (communist) China actually belongs to Taiwan, since KMT is morally the legit government of China.

    China has zero case to claim Taiwan. Instead, Taiwan should claim China as part of KMT.

    China, please leave Tibet alone & play nice, you this big bully!

    • 28/03/2012 21:13


      Following what you said, to be fair. This also means that KMT should stop milking Taiwan and be expelled to China. Let both authoritarian regimes fight it out in China.

      Also, Tibetans have their own language and culture. The reality is that China is truly much less than 1/2 of what it claims.

      Great collection Claudia!

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