When a state, head of state or a government moves house

Am I talking bollocks?

  • I’m talking bollocks
  • A serious and thought proking analogy.

0 voters

Can a state move house? And what does it mean if it does? Is it true that “the ‘king’ and the land are one”?

This is about the relationship between nations, states, governments and territories.

If the UK decided become a republic (the United Republic of GB and NI?), and told the Queen that she no longer held sovereignty as our head of state, what would become of those bits of the commonwealth that still have her as their head of state? Presumably they get to make their own choice rather than be dictated to by the British people’s decision.

She is the Queen of Canada (for example), in its own right, not as the head of a “British Empire”, or even “British Commonwealth”, neither of which exist. In a sense, she almost just so happens to be based in the UK, rather than being primarily the British head of state.

So presumably, if they’d have her, she could take her dynasty to Canada or somewhere else and continue to be sovereign there. Canada would in no way become Britain, or British just because our former head of state had moved there, just as the English are not German, Dutch, Scottish or anything else (because of kings we’ve accepted from these places). Over time she or her descendents would become Canadianised. See where I’m going?

The ROC government is a little like a dynasty that was chucked out of the country over which it had sovereignty and found a new home in a place that they were administering at that time. Over time, that dynasty has “gone native”.

Actually, the major weakness in my analogy is that whilst Queen Elizabeth is the sovereign head of state of Canada, the ROC government was not the sovereign government of Taiwan at the time it came here, rather it was administering Taiwan pending settlement, which never came.

Obviously, to a certain extent I’m talking bollocks. But so much of the whole debate is bollocks with both sides trying to use “theories” (in a loose interpretation of the word) or historical evidence to assert their claims when all that really matters is the question should Taiwan today be integrated with of China or go its own way. Many of us would say that all that matters is what the people who live on this island want, though some on the other side would disagree.

Any thoughts on my (not so serious) analogy?

What does this have to do with Taiwan Politics?

Your attention didn’t span as far as paragraph four, then?

The question is, where should the old dynasty go? It still doesn’t seem too strapped for cash, but there is a host of nations worldwide, and possibly beyond, that are (among them, several of the ROC’s remaining diplomatic allies).

“Welcome, Mr Chan, to the island for retiring losers. Please mind your step and leave your gun at the door.”

Your attention didn’t span as far as paragraph four, then?[/quote]
Actually no, my bad. Got to three, got bored, teal;deared, made a dick of myself.


The question is, where should the old dynasty go? It still doesn’t seem too strapped for cash, but there is a host of nations worldwide, and possibly beyond, that are (among them, several of the ROC’s remaining diplomatic allies). [/quote]

I was a little sloppy in my analogy, confusing the dynasty (KMT) with the state/government (ROC) - not that it made any difference if you didn’t get that far (ooooh, handbags at dawn!!!). As with the best dictatorships, ROC and KMT were effectively coterminous for a long time (l’etat, c’est moi), hence the flag. In my analogy the Queen would be closer to the KMT than the ROC, but it was the ROC I was thinking of.

Perhaps a better analogy would have been the Queen running away to Iraq (before it got its own govt last year) and taking her government (Blair) with her.

Whatever, I just find the idea of a government, dynasty, or most intriguingly, a state moving house very interesting. What happens when a (nation?) state moves house?

Anyone know of any precedents? Are there any International Relations scholars out there?

As I said before, this is all talk and what really matters is the best outcome for all those who have a stake in the issue today.

The analogy is kind of poor since the ROC overthrew the monarchy and installed a democratic republic in it place.

The only similarity in Canada are Francophones and Quebec Independence movement. Francophones are native and they are rejecting the acceptance of British immigrants, and later immigrants that are coming into Canada.

Francophones like Taiwan Independence counterparts are usually consider intolerant and unable to accept the idea that the State is larger than the small community they belong to.

Ask a Francophone if they accept your Queen of England story or if they want to be part of the Commonwealth.

I’m sure their reasoning are just as convoluted as Taiwan Indepenedence.

The analogy is not perfect - it’s just a means of proking thoughtful discussion. Whatever your viewpoint, governments, states or heads of state moving raises some interesting questions. But you miss the point on several fronts.

I’m not sure about your use of the word “native”. And if you want to play silly games, there is no “Queen of England” and no such state or any other political entity as England for her to be head of. She’s Queen of many places. “England” is not one of them. Canada is. Australia is. The UK is. All in their own right.

It doesn’t matter whether I’m talking about Canada or Australia or Jamaica. The point is that we share our head of state - HM The Queen of Australia is also HM The Queen of Canada. So what happens to them if the country in which she lives and is primarily associated with (UK), rejects her?

It doesn’t matter what would actually happen. This is a thought experiment. If it did happen, most probably the remaining 16 countries who (by their own choice) currently have her as head of state, would choose to become republics, but there’s nothing to stop them keeping her on if they want. But that is not the point here.

It doesn’t even matter if we’re talking about monarchies or not. My thought experiment was about states, heads of state or governments (democratic or not) moving and what happens when they do.

The state that controlled China changed in 1911 and again in 1949. The government of China (both within the ROC, then within the PRC) changed several times inbetween and since. The state that controlled Taiwan changed in 1945. The de-facto territory effectively governed (I didn’t say sovereignty) by the ROC changed in 1945 and 1949. The government of the ROC has changed many times since 1911 and since 1949. And the “dynasty” that contolled the ROC state changed in 2000. That’s an interesting situation whatever your viewpoint.

AC - set aside your rigid viewpoints and immutable “truths”, take a step back and look at what is a very interesting situation regarding states etc. I’m not trying to prove a point. The question of detatched, disembodied landless or floating states is an interesting one.

Another example - In 1992 Boris Yeltsin, President of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic declared independence from the USSR. What if the other 14 SFSRs wanted to maintain the USSR without Russia?


In 1916 Yuan Shi Kai announce he was emperor of China as well. He didn’t have many supporters as you can see.

Not to mention Puyi was restored to his throne in 1917 for 12 days as well. It is not till November 4, 1924 Puyi is legally stripped of his title in the ROC.

Until 1919 the KMT and the ROC were effectively out of power in China.

The problem with the 1949 issue is that the ROC and PRC did not resolve the “change” you are referring to. They contested the issue till 1979 more or less.

There is a figure head that is sort of like the Queen of England for China and that is Dr. Sun. Both ROC and PRC acknowlegde Dr. Sun as their political founder.

And you will note, like the Queen of England, Dr. Sun is not politically threatening to the states that acknowledge them.

You might as well contemplate the stateless nation of Tibet and their leader the Dali Lama. Many political leaders in ROC have tried to draw some connection to the plight of Tibet and Dali Lama. But to outside observers the connection doesn’t work because there is a “truth” that ROC has soveriegnty over Tibet.

One of the sticking points to the analogy is that all the member states in the British Commonwealth acknowledge they were once colonies of the UK and extend the acknowledgement that the Queen of England is the head of state in a figure head capacity. In the ROC, Taiwan Independence supporters can barely get themselves to acknowledge they are Chinese, let alone acknowledge that the political founder of the current State was from the mainland.


The problem with the 1949 issue is that the ROC and PRC did not resolve the “change” you are referring to. They contested the issue till 1979 more or less. [/quote]

The most important changes I’m refering to are the territory effectively administered by the ROC - which indisputably changed, the state and government which effectively administered China, and in 1945 the state which effectively administered Taiwan (without gaining sovereignty in international law by treaty). These de facto issues are not in dispute. Others are.

If you’re going to talk about weak analogies… We don’t have a godlike guofu to whom we all pay homage. The Queen is a flesh and blood, living head of state! And like I said, there is no Queen of England.

Again, the “Queen of England” (you’re refering to the Queen of the United Kingdom I believe) is not the Queen of Australia. The Queen of Australia is the Queen of Australia until they tell her to get lost, which they’re quite entitled to do. Also, the “British Commonwealth” does not exist. It was briefly called that but was soon renamed “The Commonwealth of Nations” reflecting the fact that nations and peoples are members by choice!

Maybe that’s the point - people having the right to change things and say that just because something was true, doesn’t mean it always has to be true. The people of Australia are what they say they are! Only they can say what or who they are.

You can have however many thousand years of history you like, what matters is what is best for the people who have a stake in the matter today (or actually, what they believe to be best for them - it’s their choice).

Just as the people of England would have a legitimate interest in the (reduced) area governed by the United Kingdom if the people of Scotland chose independence, the people of China have a legitimate interest in the area governed by the PRC - whether or not it should govern Taiwan. This interest, in both cases, is secondary to the interests of the people who live in the area in dispute.

In a democratic age, the people of England could not, would not and should not deny the people of Scotland (like an island, an easily definable geographical entity), their independence if it was the settled will of the Scottish people.

If it was the settled will of the vast majority of Taiwanese to be independent (clearly it is not at the moment), how would you feel? If 99% said they wanted it, and said it again five years later, would you still feel the right to say from your home in America (genuine, sincerce apologies if this is a wrong assumption) that they couldn’t?

Well said!

(Learning from my former mistakes I took the time to read entire threads now. Although I have to agree with Tetsuo or possibly many others, I’m tempted to just skim.)

I’d have to point out however that many people have pointed the same exact points that you have pointed out…

…that most people in Taiwan just want Status Quo, after that its Independence, and only around 15% want Unification (roughly around the same amount that came along with the KMT after they pretty much lost their “civil war”.)

However despite, it doesn’t make a difference. I hear a common argument that “Most Taiwanese are Chinese, therefore they should be a part of China and Taiwan has been a part of China since ancient times.” For them its not the people, its the “history and pride of the Chinese race”.

The evolution of the British Empire into the British Commonwealth is well documented in the Balfour Declaration.

You can have two views on the event. Either the English became so enlightened to their human rights abuses over the course of the century that they decided to give everyone equal status and democracy. Or the ruling class in England realised they did not have to resources to properly manange the Empire without undermining their own life of luxury at home.

But whatever your interpretation of the Levelers and Rumps and gawd knows what other political movements occured in the UK. The events leading up to the Commonwealth were evolutionary in nature.

Case in point. To offer a former colony equal status is very appealing.

To offer the losing side of civil war equal status is somewhat fantastic.
To listen to the losing side of the civil war claim there was no civil war is even more fanciful.

Or that the civil war didn’t involve them, or losing a war fighting for the Japanese was done under extreme duress.

The UK at some point did a lot of political manuvering to ensure they could retain their economy at the political price of remaining soveriegn over an empire. The PRC on the other hand have no need to disguise their intentions given their current position.