Retrocession Day

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Taiwan Retrocession Day
Observed by Taiwan
Type Historical, cultural, nationalist
Date 25 October 1945
Frequency annual

Taiwan Retrocession Day (Chinese: 臺灣光復節; pinyin: Taiwan guāngfùjié) is an annual observance and unofficial holiday in Taiwan to commemorate the end of 50 years of Japanese rule and its handover to the Republic of China on October 25, 1945.[1][2]


Taiwan, then more commonly known to the Western world as "Formosa", became a colony of the Empire of Japan when Qing Empire lost the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894 and ceded the island with the signing of the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki. Japanese rule in Taiwan lasted until the end of World War II.

In November 1943, Chiang Kai-Shek took part in the Cairo Conference with American, British, and Chinese leaders, who firmly advocated that Japan be required to return all of the territory it had annexed into its empire, including Taiwan and the Penghu Islands. Article 8 of the Potsdam Proclamation, drafted by the USA, United Kingdom, USSR, and China in July 1945, reiterated that the provisions of the Cairo Declaration be thoroughly carried out, and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender stated Japan's agreement to the terms of the Potsdam Proclamation.

Under the authorisation of Douglas MacArthur's General Order No. 1,[3] Chen Yi was escorted by George Kerr to Taiwan to accept the Japanese government's surrender as the Chinese delegate. When the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II, General Rikichi Andō, governor-general of Taiwan and commander-in-chief of all Japanese forces on the island, signed an instrument of surrender and handed it over to General Chen Yi of the Kuomintang (KMT) military to complete the official turnover in Taipei (known previously as Taihoku) on October 25, 1945 at the Taipei City Hall (now Zhongshan Hall). Chen Yi proclaimed that day to be "Taiwan Retrocession Day" and organised the island into the Taiwan Province. Taiwan has since been governed by the Republic of China.

In a lengthy legal essay published in Tokyo in 1972, Chairman Ng Chiau-tong, World United Formosans for Independence, analysed the British Parliamentary records and other documents, concluding that the legal status of Taiwan was undetermined.[4] Writing in the American Journal of International Law in July 2000, Jonathan I. Charney and J. R. V. Prescott maintained that the Chinese Nationalists (ROC) began a military occupation of Taiwan in 1945 as a result of Japan's surrender,[5] and that none of the post-World War II peace treaties explicitly ceded sovereignty over Formosa and the Pescadores to any specific state or government.[6]

The official position of both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China are that Taiwan and Penghu were returned to the Republic of China according to the terms of the 1945 Japanese Instrument of Surrender, which stipulated Japan's compliance with the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. The Potsdam Declaration in turn included the terms of the Cairo Declaration, which required Japan to return all conquered territories to China, including Taiwan and Penghu.[7]

Retrocession Day is currently not an official public holiday in Taiwan; however, memorial activities are still being held by civilian organisations and individuals. The Democratic Progressive Party, which rejects the idea of Taiwan being taken back by China, downplayed the event during their two terms of presidency from 2000 to 2008.[8][9] In 2010, small scale memorials were held by the Taipei City Government to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of Retrocession.[10]

Taiwan independence viewpoint[edit]

Supporters of Taiwan independence have argued that Taiwanese retrocession was invalid since there is no precedent in international law in which an instrument of surrender effected a transfer of sovereignty, and they base their belief in part on both a declassified CIA report from March 1949 confirming that Taiwan was not a part of the Republic of China[11] and President Truman's June 27, 1950 statement regarding Taiwan's "undetermined status," which they hold as proof of the leading Allies' views. As late as November 1950, the US State Dept. announced that no formal act restoring sovereignty over Formosa and the Pescadores to China had yet occurred; . . .[12] British officials reiterated this viewpoint in 1955, saying that "The Chinese Nationalists began a military occupation of Formosa and the Pescadores in 1945. However, these areas were under Japanese sovereignty until 1952."[13]

Gallery of images[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Taiwan's retrocession procedurally clear: Ma". The China Post. 2010-10-26. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  2. ^ "Lien's campaign TV ads to stress love for Taiwan". Taipei Times. 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  3. ^ "SCAP General Order no. 1". Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  4. ^ Ng Yuzin Chiautong (1972), Historical and Legal Aspects of the International Status of Taiwan (Formosa), World United Formosans for Independence (Tokyo), retrieved 2010-03-01 
  5. ^ Jonathan I. Charney and J. R. V. Prescott (July 2000), Resolving Cross-Strait Relations Between China and Taiwan, American Journal of International Law, retrieved 2010-03-01 
  6. ^ Jonathan I. Charney and J. R. V. Prescott (July 2000), Resolving Cross-Strait Relations Between China and Taiwan, American Journal of International Law, retrieved 2010-03-01 
  7. ^ "Chen's shadow is getting eclipsed" "China Post, December 7, 2009
  8. ^ Taipei govt downplays Retrocession Day
  9. ^ Activists call for Retrocession Day national vacation
  10. ^ "Exhibition Commemorating the 65th Anniversary of Victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan and the Retrocession of Taiwan-A Word from the President". Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  11. ^ Taipei Times (June 9, 2013), CIA report shows Taiwan concerns, archived from the original on 2013-07-13, retrieved 2013-06-10, [Quoting from a declassified CIA report on Taiwan written in March 1949] From the legal standpoint, Taiwan is not part of the Republic of China. Pending a Japanese peace treaty, the island remains occupied territory in which the US has proprietary interests. 
  12. ^ No Formal Act, US State Dept., Nov 11, 1950, retrieved 2010-03-01 
  13. ^ Far East (Formosa and the Pescadores), Hansard, May 4, 1955, retrieved 2010-03-01 

External links[edit]