Overview of Taiwan Civil Government Legal Case
The Taiwan Civil Government and Secretary General Roger Lin filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on February 27, 2015. See Lin v. the United States and the Republic of China, Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-00295 (CKK).
Legal Relief Sought by TCG
- Declaratory judgment holding that the Nationality Decree of 1946 stripping residents of Taiwan was promulgated without the consent of the US when the US was in control of Taiwan
- The Decree was invalid because it was promulgated without the consent of the US
- The Decree violated international law as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter of human rights and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness
- The Decree was invalid as it violated international law as outlined above.
TCG Ultimate Goals
- Invalidate the Decree of 1946 stripping them of Japanese citizenship.
- Hold a referendum in Taiwan to determine new citizenship.
- Return to Japanese citizenship with allegiance to Japan.
- Taiwan came under Japanese control at the end of the Sino-Japanese war in 1895.
- Taiwan remained under Japanese control until the end of WWII when the US took control after defeating Japan.
- The US put Chiang Kai-shek in control of Taiwan as their agent.
- In 1946, Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China government declared all citizens of Taiwan were no longer Japanese citizens but citizens of ROC.
- This decree was made without the consent of the US although the US Government was aware of it.
- The 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty stipulated that Japan renounced all title and control of Taiwan but did not state which country would exercise sovereignty of Taiwan going forward.
- Neither the US nor the international community recognizes Taiwan as a state.
First Lawsuit Lin v. U.S.
- Secretary General Lin filed an initial lawsuit in 2006 against the US claiming to be non-citizen US nationals based on the San Francisco Peace Treaty. The lawsuit was based on a denial of passport applications.
- The court held that the plaintiffs were asking the court to review and pass judgment on the Treaty of San Francisco to determine that the US has sovereignty over Taiwan.
- The court held that under the Political Question doctrine it would not do that and it was for Congress to determine what the Treaty intended with regards to Taiwan and if it remains under US control.
- This was upheld on appeal.
International Law in Complaint
- The UN Charter states that its purpose is “[t]o develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”
- Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a document meant to supplement the definition of “fundamental freedoms” and “human right” in the United Nations Charter, and has been referenced as “an obligation for the members of the international community to all persons.”
- The 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (“1961 Convention”) is a detailed reflection of customary international law on the subject of the individual and the collective right to determine one’s own nationality
- Article 7(6) of the 1961 Convention articulates the basic international norm that a person shall not lose their nationality if such a loss would render him stateless.