What constitutes the territory of ROC?

From time to time I stubble over this question.

The Article 4 of ROC constitution states that “The territory of the Republic of China according to its existing national boundaries shall not be altered except by resolution of the National Assembly.”, which doesn’t really help clarifying the claimed territory.
To make the matter confusing, the Articles 26, 64, 91 119 and 120 mention areas such as Mongolia and Tibet.
Maybe, one could hope the this would be clarified by the one of the Additional Articles of the Constitution, but the best we get is on the Paragraph 5 of the Article 4, which says: “The territory of the Republic of China, defined by its existing national boundaries […]”, i.e., the borders of the territory are what they are and that’s all.

Does anyone have any source for the official stance on what constitutes the territory of ROC (if there one)?

My sources:


Please refer to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.

Art. 2: The following terms as used in this Act are defined below.1. “Taiwan Area” refers to Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and any other area under the effective control of the Government.

Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area - Article Content - Laws & Regulations Database of The Republic of China (Taiwan).

That’s Taiwan. The ROCs claim to the territory of the ROC has never been constitutionally amended. Outer Mongolia is still ours!


Well, then yes, constitutionally the national boundaries of the Republic of China contains Mongolia, Tibet, Taiwan and the PRC Mainland area.

Tibet and the Mainland area are under the communist rebellion, Mongolia is treated sui generies and recently there was a legislative amendment to consider mongolian citizens as foreigners and not NWHR or other things.

HK and Macau are left quite unspecified, since at the time of the constitution entry into force they were colonies and the government didn’t bother too much about them, so they are always treated separately in all subsequent legislation with a status separated from the area under communist rebellion.

Changing this part of the constitution, which now doesn’t require anymore a National assembly passage, since the assembly voted itself out of existence after the last national assembly election in the early 00s, would be the official declaration of independence, where the Republic of China officially withdraws the constitutional claim to be the only one China (which we all know it’s a fiction rn only to maintain the status quo, besides some old farts diehard Chinese nationalists in the KMT).

A constitutional amendment however would require a supermajority in the legislative yuan and a confirmatory referendum with high turnout requirements. So presently it wouldn’t pass.

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Are you sure about that?
Where does it say in the ROC constitution?
I couldn’t find it :idunno:

I marched with the DPP to protest the shenanigans surrounding the retirement of the 老賊 back in 1991.


so, I did some digging.

The original territory of the ROC as intended in the Art. 4 of the constitution is never mention explicitly in any part of the constitution thereof or any subsequent law enacted after the constitution entered into force.

The only piece of legislation enacted by any organ of the ROC that contains any mention of the territory composition is the 1931 中華民國訓政時期約法, which was a provisional constitutional law enacted by the National Assembly during the provisional government period before the actual constitution. The law, although provisional, has never really been repealed officially.

Art. 1 of that law states that " 中華民國領土爲各省及蒙古西藏", so all the provinces and Tibet and Mongolia.

That’s the reason the Mainland Affairs Council had a Tibetan and Mongolian division, as well as the HK and Macau divisions.

There were then interpretation of the Judicial Yuan in the 80s and 90s checking about the constitutionality and correctness of the interpretation of Art.4. This is were the rabbit hole ends imo.

Since the law enacted in 1931 (民國20)has constitutional status, it is at par with the constitution, and the provisions not in contrast with the constitution later enacted are still in force since not officially repealed.


Which is what I said. The official map of the ROC still includes everything it did when first published. In the mid 1990s in consular offices around the world that was the map hung on the wall.

This is why I get frustrated with Taiwanese pushing for name rectification in overseas bodies. Taiwan needs to scour the word China from all of its laws and documents. That the term 全省 is still commonly used is an abomination.


What. A. Joke. :slightly_frowning_face:


I would venture to guess everything that was “chinese” before they lost the civil war is in their wheel house of “ownership”. That plus Taiwan.

At that time, Taiwan was part of the the Japanese Empire.
So, does it mean that Taiwan is not part of the ROC territory?



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Ehehe, this is another very contentious point in constitutional history. Even the law I mentioned above does not explicitly list all the provinces.

Taiwan was a colony of the Japanese Empire and ceased to be such with the treaty of san francisco signed by the allied powers and Japan, but not the ROC or the PRC (which was already in existence since the treaty was signed in 1952). In the treaty, deposited at the UN and still in force, talk about the renounciation of all titles and claims to Formosa, pescadores, paracel, spratly islands. No indication of the beneficiary of the title or else. According to some views, the title and claim should go to the victor power, i.e. the US, others think this means Taiwan and the mentioned islands are now free of any sovereignty claim so are independent from any government but their own.

However, there was then the treaty of taipei, signed the very same year, between Japan and the ROC as peace treaty. Here it reaffirms the renounciations made in the SF treaty and declares as Chinese nationals all the inhabitants of said islands of Chinese and their descendants which would qualify for Chinese nationality under the ROC nationality law. Also here, no direct mention of transfer of sovereignty of Tw to the ROC from Japan, and the minister plenipotentiary for Japan signing the document in the exchange of notes 1 with the plenipotentiary for ROC used such a wording to avoid explicitly recognising sovereignty of ROC over Taiwan, talking about instead territory under government’s control.

So, until now, the status of Taiwan is undetermined. The land is undoubtedly under control of the ROC government and governed under the ROC constitution and its additional articles. However, who efefctively has full property, title, claim and, de iure, sovereignty, that’s quite undetermined.


That’s one of the better summaries I’ve read. Kudos to you for learning that.

One point I’d add is that back in 1895 the Qing Empire ceded Taiwan and the Pescadores (aka Penghu) in perpetuity. It seems that Beijing has forgotten that this term means forever. :slightly_smiling_face:



Selective memory is kinda their schtick :zipper_mouth_face:

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Thanks for this, I might be a mediocre finance man, but I love my history.

To counter on the perpetuity you are referring pursuant to the treaty of shimonoseki between the qing empire and Japan, the ROC government kept affirming the treaty to be void during the war and after the war ended as being one of the victorious powers. However, being the treaty of shimonoseki ratified before the terms indicate in either the treaties of SF and TPE (shimonoseki is end of 19th century, the after war treaties specify only 1919 if I remember well, so it won’t actually be affected). Indeed some law scholars piinted this out, hence any successor state of qing China would still technically be bound to such provisions and henceforth have no actual claim over the islands.

Of course this is a mere wet dream and fun discussion only for boring people interested in constitutional and international law and history, but quite difficult to enforce in any court of law.

So as it stands, CKS made a fecking big mess with his buddy Mao and with his stubborness wasted the only likely chance of normalising Taiwan by recognising China as China and Taiwan as Taiwan.


All ceased to apply. Did you read the Amendment (2005) carefully? It’s in the second link you provided. They are nullified by the “Not Withstanding” in the Amendment.

For advanced readers, this didn’t just happen in 2005, but already done so in the 1991 amendment.


No. That’s actually false.

The Constitution does not define boundaries.

Show me the quote where you “think” it defines boundaries and I can point out the flaw in your logic.

Irrelevant, because that has nothing to do with the 1947 Constitution. The 1947 Constitution is a standalone constitution that does not reference any other law or document.

When we say the ROC Constitution, there are only four parts :
The Original Text 1947
The Amendments 1991-2005.
The Supreme Interpretations (eg. No328)
The de facto practice and administering

All four together, not picking and choosing according to individuals’ political beliefs and preferences.

Typical cliche like Mongolia is akin to saying that UK constitution includes Canada and New Zealad. It’s based on misinformation, lazy reading, hunch, and humour. Such misinterpretation is at a personal level and has no relations with facts and how things actually work in the government. By the way international relations and geopolitics don’t care about constitutions. Never.

No beneficiary is named doesn’t mean any country is entitled to Formosa. To be entitled to Formosa, a state has to be an “Allied Power”, and to be an Allied Power, that state has to satisfy Article 25.

“Article 25

For the purposes of the present Treaty the Allied Powers shall be the States at war with Japan, or any State which previously formed a part of the territory of a State named in Article 23, provided that in each case the State concerned has signed and ratified the Treaty. Subject to the provisions of Article 21, the present Treaty shall not confer any rights, titles or benefits on any State which is not an Allied Power as herein defined; nor shall any right, title or interest of Japan be deemed to be diminished or prejudiced by any provision of the Treaty in favour of a State which is not an Allied Power as so defined.”

“Article 23

(a) The present Treaty shall be ratified by the States which sign it, including Japan, and will come into force for all the States which have then ratified it, when instruments of ratification have been deposited by Japan and by a majority, including the United States of America as the principal occupying Power, of the following States, namely Australia, Canada, Ceylon, France, Indonesia, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Republic of the Philippines, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. The present Treaty shall come into force of each State which subsequently ratifies it, on the date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification.”

— more discussion to follow:

Once Japan signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty( 1951, coming into force 1952), Japan no longer had the power to make arrangement for Formosa, such as transferring title to China, or Russia, or North Korea. Japan having already renounced right title and claim, cannot make further cession on Formosa since Formosa was no longer Japan’s the moment SFPT came into force.

However, theoretically speaking, Japan might still have outstanding liabilities and responsibilities of which Japan have not been absolved. Here’s why. Most people forget that apart from right, title, claim, there is also liability and responsibility. For example you can say that car is no longer yours (you having abandoned or renounced the car) but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are therefore not liable for any injury or damage, or not responsible for persons, things or events that are associated with the car. For example you may still be liable for the parking tickets, the fees that arise from your previous ownership. For example you may be held responsible for the safety and maintenance of the car even though the car is no longer under your title.

The only way you can get away from liabilities and responsibilities is that you transfer the whole package to someone else, so the latter are responsible.

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