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  • Philip Jessup proposed the idea of a transnational law course. His vision of the subject was broad, including public and private international law; state and non-state actors; business, administrative, and political affairs; as well as negotiation and litigation. Inspired by his idea, TLB is only constrained by its pursuit to address all law transcending national frontiers.

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September 24, 2006



interesting! But do you think recognizing taiwan would create extreme hostilities, not to mention the potential domino effect it would create in China, i.e. Tibet and HK.
The aftershocks may substantially outweigh any good, i.e. loss in investments, social instability in one of the most populated countries in the world, etc.

In addition, do we really want to tamper with domestic politics of other soveriegn nations? e.g. vietnam, iraq?

If you have time, would you mind posting information on what the actual treaty at the time of the nationalist surrender entailed?

Travis Hodgkins

Byron, thanks for the compliment and the excellent questions, which I'll do my best to answer.

The "domino effect" that you mention would not have the effect that you are implying in your comment. That is, if Taiwan were recognized by the UN as a soveriegn nation, I personally doubt that the economy of mainland China would be severly effected. Actually, considering the current situation, which prevents direct flights between Taiwan and the mainland and the inability of Taiwan to enter into trade agreements and organizations such as the WTO, I'd say that Taiwan independence would only bolster trade between the two countries and, consequently, the mainland's economy, which is heavily dependent on foreign investment.

What should be considered is how it would effect the USA if Taiwan was taken by the mainland. Currently, Taiwan serves as a key link in the buffer zone that separates the mainland from the Pacific, which runs from South Korea to the Philipines and Australia, and losing Taiwan to the mainland would put a wedge right in the middle of that buffer zone. The lose of this island would subject the USA Navy and merchant ships to the whims of the mainland's Navy, which would suddenly be in control of the South China Seas. Moreover, a vast amount of IT industry and outsourcing is done in Taiwan, which would all be vastly effected by a change in regime and laws.

As for Hong Kong, it was a British colony and handed back to the mainland as promised. It is unlikely that HK would attempt to declare independence simply because Taiwan was rightfully recognized as an independent nation by the UN. What is a tragedy is that the economy of HK has suffered from being passed to the mainland. It is easy to posit that one of the reasons the mainland seeks to occupy Taiwan is money. Taiwan is an extremely rich nation but will it continue to be rich if it is subjected to the laws and politics of the mainland? It is my contention that it would not.

The Tibetan situation speaks for itself, and it should shame the Chinese as much as the massacre and occupation of the Native Americans should shame the USA.

Finally, I would discuss the treaty that was signed between the Communists and the KMT if such a treaty existed. The war came to a halt when the KMT defeated the communists on a small island in the Taiwan Strait called Quemoy. The KMT defeated the communist in this "final" battle of the Chinese Civil War, viz. the Battle of Kuningtou, with the use of its air force and American tanks, which the KMT used to "steam roll" PLA soldiers when the tanks had no more ammunition. The Communist failed to launch another attack when the Korean War began and Truman put the US Navy's Seventh Fleet in the Taiwan Strait to prevent the Communists from invading. Consequently, there was no treaty or cease-fire signed by the two warring factions.

In conclusion, the mainland has no more of a claim to Taiwan than Taiwan has to the mainland. Moreover, it is ludicrous that the USA government sees fit to invade sovereign nations and erect new democracies when Taiwan is a free, democratic nation that is seeking nothing more than recognition from the international community and protection from mainland China.

China Law Blog

There is one fatal flaw in this post. You act as though the UN gives a damn about reason, justice, fairness, or peace, when it is so blatantly obvious it does not.


Who wants to mess with China? Not me, not you. Not gonna happen.

Travis Hodgkins

Quite the contrary, Wendy, I would proudly stand with my friends in Taipei and fight the Chinese. If it should come to that and I am unable to get to Taiwan, I will use all of my energy to lobby our representatives to defend Taiwan as they should according to their treaty obligations.


i wrote a very long response, however, I failed to type in the encrypted letters b4 sumbitting and thus, lost the comment. I am too lazy to type it up again, perhaps we may graba a beer and discuss this further.

Travis Hodgkins

Byron, I'd be happy to grab a beer with you anytime. I'm sorry the comment approval system on Typepad lost your comment because not only would I love to hear your response but I'm certain our readers would also like to hear what you have to say.


Since comparative law is mad boring, I shall repost a summary of my lost response:

It doesnt seem that PRC wants to "takeover" Taiwan at all, PRC is more interested in preserving the status quo, namely the one China policy. Taiwan, as you know, is an autonomous state with it own government and foreign policies, etc.

The domino effect, i was referring to is the not the economic effects per se, but reffering to the other regions in the brink of succession. HK has already had many democracy demonstrations and there is a great chance that it would fight for independence if Taiwan is allowed to do so. Then there is Tibet, inner mongolia, macao, etc. In turn, there are downstream effects not only in PRC's economy but social stability...(I dont think this needs to be elaborated as it is obvious) In addition, there would be detrimental effects on the Taiwanese economy, this is precisely why the Taiwanese business community opposes independence.

This problem is extremely complex, it would be naive for one to approach it with a hegemonic view. History among other factors must be considered. China is a pluralistic society, historically made up of dozens of city states. It took centuries to achieve unification and it would take a lot more to break it up.

Isnt it ironic for Taiwan to seek freedom and independence when the nationalists were kicked off mainland for its oppression on its own people?

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