Explainer: Why Taiwan is an inalienable part of China
On the day of its founding on October 1, 1949, the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) made clear one principle governing the establishment of diplomatic relations with a foreign country.
That is: that country must recognize the government of the PRC as the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China, severs or refrains from establishing diplomatic relations with Taiwan authorities.
As the one-China principle gained popular support, in October 1971, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758, which expelled the representatives of the Taiwan authorities and restored the seat and all the lawful rights of the government of the PRC in the UN.
In September 1972, China and Japan announced the establishment of diplomatic relations, with Japan fully understanding and respecting the Chinese government's position that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the PRC.
Then in December 1978, China and the United States issued the Joint Communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations, in which the U.S. "recognizes the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China" and "acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is a part of China."
Today, 181 countries have established diplomatic relations with the PRC and they all acknowledge the one-China principle and are committed to handling their relations with Taiwan within the one-China framework.
Taiwan has belonged to China since ancient times
Many historical records and annals documented the development of Taiwan by the Chinese people in earlier periods. References to this effect were to be found, among others, in Seaboard Geographic Gazetteer compiled more than 1,700 years ago by Shen Ying of the State of Wu during the period of the Three Kingdoms. This was the world's earliest written account of Taiwan.
Chinese governments of different periods set up administrative bodies to exercise jurisdiction over Taiwan. As early as in the mid-12th century the Song Dynasty set up a garrison in Penghu, putting the territory under the jurisdiction of Jinjiang County of Fujian's Quanzhou Prefecture. The Yuan Dynasty installed an agency of patrol and inspection in Penghu to administer the territory. During the mid- and late 16th century the Ming Dynasty reinstated the once abolished agency and sent reinforcements to Penghu in order to ward off foreign invaders.
In 1662 (under Qing Emperor Kangxi), General Zheng Chenggong instituted Chengtian Prefecture on Taiwan. Subsequently, the Qing government expanded the administrative structure in Taiwan. In 1727 (under Qing Emperor Yongzheng), the administration on the island was reconstituted as the Prefecture Administration of Taiwan and incorporated the new Penghu Canton. The territory then became officially known as Taiwan. In 1885 (under Qing Emperor Guangxu), the government formally made Taiwan a full province.
Japan's historical wrongdoing about Taiwan
In April 1895, through a war of aggression against China, Japan forced the Qing government to sign the unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki, and forcibly occupied Taiwan.
In July 1937, Japan launched an all-out war of aggression against China. In December 1941, the Chinese government issued the Proclamation of China's Declaration of War Against Japan, announcing to the world that all treaties, agreements and contracts concerning Sino-Japanese relations, including the Treaty of Shimonoseki, had been abrogated, and that China would recover Taiwan.
In December 1943, the Cairo Declaration was issued by the Chinese, U.S. and British governments, stipulating that Japan should return to China all the territories it had stolen from the Chinese, including northeast China, Taiwan and the Penghu Archipelago.
The Potsdam Proclamation signed by China, the U.S. and Britain in 1945 (later adhered to by the Soviet Union) stipulated that "The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out." In August 1945, Japan surrendered and promised that it would faithfully fulfill the obligations laid down in the Potsdam Proclamation.
On October 25, 1945, the Chinese government recovered Taiwan and the Penghu Archipelago, resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Taiwan.
The Taiwan question
Taiwan, which was returned to China de jure and de facto at the end of the Second World War, became a question only as an aftermath of the ensuing anti-popular civil war started by Kuomintang, and more especially because of intervention by foreign forces.
As the Chinese leadership has said, the Taiwan question arose out of the weakness and chaos of the Chinese nation, and it will be resolved as national rejuvenation becomes a reality.