In a groundbreaking discovery announced Monday, a team of archaeologists, historians and ethnographers shook the scientific world by determining that the island of Taiwan was populated before the Kuomintang settled there and declared it a part of the territory of the Republic of China.
The announcement shocked many students of Asian history as well as institutions of higher learning, as it was commonly believed before the discovery that Taiwan had no human settlements and was therefore an unoccupied territory that could be rightfully claimed by any government who cared to lay claim to it.
The nature of the pre-Kuomintang settlements on Taiwan are as yet unclear, but the team has announced plans to continue its research if additional funding becomes available. "The funding issue is far from settled," noted Dr. Jill White of the University of Southern Dakota. "We will first have to negotiate with the Confucius Institutes and Chinese Student Associations at our respective schools to secure backers in our departments. If we wanted to study, say, the Qing Dynasty presence in Taiwan this would not be a problem, but the era we are interested in - 1895 to 1945 specifically - is, shall we say, a sensitive issue."
Asked for further comment, Dr. White did not respond as of press time.
The announcement outlined what life may have looked like in Taiwan before 1945. "There appear to be the ruins of many structures resembling Japanese-style architecture," the transcript noted. "The exact nature of these structures is unclear, but point to a potentially Japanese-influenced culture on Taiwan. If true, this overturns everything we thought we knew about Chinese history."
Not everyone was convinced, however. "Pre-Kuomintang settlements in Taiwan? Well if that's true, then everything we write about Taiwan in the media now is wrong!" exclaimed media worker Ralph Wiggum. "That's unpossible!"
"This isn't news," noted Taipei housewife Doris Ouyang. "Everyone in Taiwan has always known that Taiwan has been a part of the Republic of China since 1911."
However, some people watching the news seemed hopeful that this could lead to a more accurate understanding of Taiwan and East Asia in general.
"This is earth-shattering," said Ridgemont High School Social Studies teacher Lucy Brown. "All this time I had been teaching my students that the Kuomintang took refuge in Taiwan in 1945. I didn't even think to consider that there might have already been people there. Oh well, it probably doesn't matter, I'm sure they were primitives living in a backwater. Anyway it looks like things worked out well for Taiwan."
The team has submitted a paper to the Journal of Applied Asian Studies, however, it was rejected without feedback by the journal.
"This is inaccurate and harmful false 'history' propagated by splittist elements looking to discredit and harm the image of China abroad," noted journal director and China specialist Dr. Bill Black when asked for comment. "It is, as Confucius says, merely a clumsy oxen throwing stones among tigers."
"I know that obscure idiom because I'm a scholar of China," he added.
"In addition, such mendacious falsehoods hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. Have they no respect for China's excellent 5,000 years of culture?"