Connect with us
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

China

Is Taiwan a country or not?

Published

on

The UK referred to Taiwan as an “independent country” in a report, despite not officially recognizing Taiwan as a country.

Defining what is and isn’t a country is a lot more complicated than many people would realize. Take the case of Taiwan.

On Aug. 30, 2023, a committee of the U.K. Parliament referred to Taiwan as an “independent country” in a report. This is the first time any part of the British political system has used that phrasing.

Officially, the U.K. “does not recognise Taiwan” as a country, nor does it “maintain formal diplomatic relations with the island,” which is one way states recognize each other as equals on the international stage.

Like the U.K., the U.S. also “does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan,” although there is a “robust unofficial relationship,” according to the State Department. Many other countries are in a similar boat.

So where does that leave Taiwan? Is it, or is it not, a country?

From my perspective as a political scientist, here’s how I would approach this question.

A country by declaration

According to what’s known as the “declarative theory of statehood,” a country – which is often referred to as a “state” in political science and international relations terminology – must possess the following qualities: “(a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

These four qualities were agreed upon in the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, which is an international treaty registered with the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

Article 3 of that treaty says that the existence of a “state is independent of recognition by the other states.” In other words, as long as the four qualities above are met, an area qualifies as a country even if other countries choose not to recognize it.

One criticism of this framework is that it opens the door for many areas to be considered countries, even though they may seem outlandish.

For example, in the 1960s, Italian engineer Giorgio Rosa built a 4,000-square-foot (400-square-meter) platform 7 miles (11 kilometers) off the coast of Italy. On June 24, 1968, Rosa – whose last name means “rose” in English – declared that his platform was an independent country named the Republic of Rose Island. This artificial island had a restaurant, bar, souvenir shop and post office. Its official language was Esperanto.

It could be argued that Rose Island met the criteria outlined in the Montevideo Convention, as there was a permanent population because Rosa lived there; his humanmade platform had a defined territory; there was a government because Rosa declared himself president; and Rose Island’s post office gave it the capacity to communicate with, and thus enter into relations with, other countries.

Although several countries, including the U.S., have ratified the Montevideo Convention, Italy has not. So, 55 days after Rose Island declared independence, the Italian military destroyed the platform.

A country by recognition

In contrast to the declarative theory of statehood, what’s called the “constitutive theory of statehood” considers a country to be a country only if it is recognized by other already recognized countries.

There is no magic number for how many countries one must be recognized by. Rather, those that aspire to be regarded by the world as an independent country must join the United Nations as a full member.

In order to join the United Nations, applicants must be recommended by the Security Council, which comprises 15 members. Five of those members are permanent and have a veto. Applicants must have the support of nine of the 15 members, including each of the permanent members.

If the Security Council recommends admission, the application is presented to the General Assembly, where each full member of the United Nations has a single vote. A two-thirds majority is necessary before a country can join.

U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman, vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, met with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, right, at the presidential office in Taipei, Taiwan, in September 2023.
Taiwan Presidential Office via AP

One China or two?

Today, most of the world’s countries officially adhere to some variation of the idea that there is only one China, whose capital is Beijing, and which encompasses both the mainland territory and the island of Taiwan.

There is a government there, but there is also a government on Taiwan, based in its capital, Taipei. That government calls itself the Republic of China and traces its history to the early 20th century, when a revolution overthrew the emperor of China.

Notably, at that time, nobody’s definition of China included the island of Taiwan, which was then commonly called Formosa. Japan had seized the island in a war in the late 19th century.

In 1927, an uprising by the Chinese Communist Party attacked the Republic of China government. That kicked off a bloody civil war that lasted until 1949.

In that year, the government of the Republic of China retreated to the island of Taiwan. That same year, Mao Zedong, leader of the Chinese Communist Party, proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China, with its capital in Beijing.

But Mao still sought control over his enemy’s territory, declaring, “Taiwan is ours, and we will never compromise on this issue, which is an issue of internal affairs.”

To this day, the government of the People’s Republic of China, whose capital is Beijing, considers Taiwan part of its “sacred territory.” The constitution of the People’s Republic of China states that “(i)t is the lofty duty of the entire Chinese people, including our compatriots in Taiwan, to accomplish the great task of reunifying the motherland.” Its foreign affairs ministry says, “Taiwan is a sacred and inseparable part of China’s territory.” On Oct. 2, 2023, the Beijing government celebrated its national day by releasing a video signifying its focus on unity with the people of Taiwan.

In contrast, the Republic of China refers to the area under its control as “the Taiwan area,” or “the free area.” It refers to the rest of China as “the mainland area,” which the Taiwanese government has described as being under a “Period of Communist Rebellion.”

Other countries are similarly delicate. For example, in 1972, the U.S. “acknowledge(d) that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.” In 1979, the U.S. again “acknowledge(d) the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.”

Taipei’s Mid-Autumn Festival drew crowds to the Night Market.
AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying

Taiwan’s place in the world

Taiwan argues that it meets the Montevideo Convention’s criteria for being considered a country under the declarative theory of statehood. However, Taiwan has not yet formally declared itself to be a new, independent country. According to President Tsai Ing-wen, “(w)e don’t have a need to,” because “(w)e are an independent country already and we call ourselves the Republic of China.”

But recall that, according to the constitutive theory of statehood, a country is only a country if it’s recognized by other already recognized countries, and the ultimate manifestation of such recognition is full membership in the United Nations.

Interestingly, the Republic of China was actually a founding member of the United Nations. However, in 1971, the United Nations voted “to expel” the Republic of China, and instead recognized the Communist government “as the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations.” Subsequent attempts by Taiwan to join the United Nations have been unsuccessful.

Today, only a dozen or so countries continue to maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, most of which are small island developing states such as Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu.

Each of these countries recognizes Taiwan as “the Republic of China,” and none of them simultaneously maintains offical ties with the People’s Republic of China.

Until Taiwan formally declares itself independent of the rest of China – or until Taiwan is recognized by the international community as being independent of the rest of China – Taiwan’s status as a country will continue to be questioned.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

China

Lingang New Area in Shanghai Introduces Whitelists for Data Export to Enhance Cross-Border Data Flows

Published

on

The Lingang New Area in Shanghai has introduced trial general data lists to simplify data export procedures for companies in automotive, biopharmaceuticals, and mutual funds sectors. This aims to reduce regulatory burdens and facilitate cross-border data flows, following efforts to improve business environment for foreign companies.


The Lingang New Area in Shanghai has introduced trial general data lists aimed at simplifying data export procedures for companies in the automotive, biopharmaceuticals, and mutual fund sectors. These lists outline specific scenarios where businesses can export data out of China with reduced regulatory burdens, bypassing more stringent compliance requirements.

The Lingang New Area of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) has released the first batch of trial lists of general data for three sectors, facilitating cross-border data flows for companies operating in the area. This announcement closely follows the release of the Tianjin FTZ’s Negative List, which similarly seeks to facilitate cross-border data flows for companies operating in the FTZ by specifying the types of data that are restricted from being exported without certain approval procedures.

The first batch of general data lists has been provided for the fields of intelligent connected vehicles, biopharmaceuticals, and mutual funds, three sectors with a significant presence in the Lingang New Area. The general data lists are scenario-based, meaning they outline various situations in which data export is required and freely permitted. These include scenarios, such as multinational production and manufacturing of intelligent connected vehicles, medical clinical trials and R&D, and information sharing for fund market research.

The general data lists will be implemented for a trial period of one year from their date of implementation, May 16, 2024.

In January 2024, the Lingang New Area announced a new system for data management and export in the area, which included the release of two data catalogs, one for “important” data and one for “general” data. This new system will help facilitate cross-border data transfer (CBDT) for key sectors in the area by delineating the types of data that are restricted or subject to additional compliance measures to be exported (through the important data lists) and data that can be more easily exported (through the general data lists).

In March, the area released the Measures for the Classification and Graded Management of Data Cross-border Flow in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Lingang Special Area (Trial) (the “Lingang CBDT Management Measures”), which outlined the rules and requirements for this new system, including how companies can use the general data lists.

These developments follow many months of efforts by the central Chinese government as well as local authorities to improve the business environment for foreign companies in particular, a core part of which has been resolving headaches surrounding data export.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

Continue Reading

China

Published

on


The New Company Law brings substantial changes with implications for new and existing foreign invested enterprises and stakeholders. Foreign investors must assess if adjustments to existing structures

Despite recent economic challenges, many organizations’ China operations provide unparalleled access to one of the world’s largest and most competitive global supply chains. Over the past 30 years, a significant number of foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) have been established in China. As of the end of 2022, the number of FIEs operating in China had exceeded 1.12 million.

Compared to their domestic counterparts, FIEs demonstrate greater caution regarding legal revisions and are diligent in making swift adjustments. This stems not only from the closer scrutiny FIEs face from regulatory authorities but also from their commitment to compliance and maintaining a competitive edge.

Clearly, there has been a shift in China’s corporate regulations—from merely encouraging an increase in the number of companies to focusing on attracting mature enterprises and higher-quality investments. While the transition from a broad approach to a more refined one may cause short-term challenges, it ultimately benefits the company’s long-term development. By returning to the original intent of setting registered capital, it not only protects the interests of creditors but also shields shareholders from the operational risks of the company.

In China’s foreign investment landscape, while most FIEs exercise commercial prudence in determining registered capital—factoring in capital expenditures, operational costs, and setting aside surplus funds—some opt for higher registered capital levels to avoid future capital increase procedures. This typically involves lengthy document signing and registration changes, lasting 1-2 months.

Joint ventures (JVs) often impose stricter payment deadlines for registered capital in their articles of association to ensure both parties’ simultaneous contributions align with operational needs. Conversely, wholly foreign-owned enterprises (WFOEs) tend to favor flexibility in payment deadlines, often allowing full payment before the company’s operational period expires.

Given these circumstances, despite the generally stronger capital adequacy among foreign companies compared to domestic entities, many FIEs could be affected by the new capital contribution rules.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

Continue Reading

China

Foreign Tourist Groups on Cruise Ships Fully Permitted Visa-Free Entry in China

Published

on

China will allow visa-free entry for foreign tourist groups arriving by cruise ship at 13 ports along the coast, starting May 15, 2024. Visitors must stay with the same ship and in permitted areas for up to 15 days. This policy aims to boost tourism and facilitate high-quality development in the cruise industry.


China’s immigration agency announced that it will grant a visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups to enter China by cruise at all cruise ports along the coast of China, starting May 15, 2024. The tourist group must remain with the same cruise ship until its next port of call and stay within permitted areas for no more than 15 days.

Effective May 15, 2024, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) has officially implemented a visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups entering China via cruise ships. This progressive move aims to enhance personnel exchanges and foster cooperation between China and other nations, furthering the country’s commitment to high-level openness.

Under this policy, foreign tourist groups, comprising two or more individuals, who travel by cruise ship and are organized by Chinese domestic travel agencies, can now enjoy visa-free entry as a cohesive group at cruise ports in 13 cities along the Chinese coast.

The tourist group must remain with the same cruise ship until its next port of call and stay within China for no more than 15 days. The eligible areas for this policy are coastal provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) and Beijing.

Furthermore, to support cruise tourism development, seven additional cruise ports—Dalian, Lianyungang, Wenzhou, Zhoushan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Beihai—have been included as applicable ports for visa-free transit.

The recent implementation of the visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups entering China via cruise ships is poised to have several significant effects. The policy will provide crucial support for the cruise economy and the overall cruise industry. By facilitating smoother travel for foreign tourist groups, it acts as a catalyst for high-quality development in this sector.

Additionally, under this policy, international cruise companies can strategically plan their global routes by designating Chinese port cities, such as Shanghai, Xiamen, and Shenzhen, as docking destinations. This move is expected to attract more cruise ships to Chinese ports, ultimately bringing in a larger number of international visitors to the Chinese market.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

Continue Reading