(CN) - Advocates for a self-governed Taiwan cannot pursue their claims that the United States enabled China to strip Taiwanese people of their Japanese citizenship after World War II, a federal judge ruled.
Fifty years after China ceded Taiwan to Japan in 1895, the Allied Powers' supreme commander, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, ordered the Japanese commanders in Taiwan to surrender to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, according to court records.
Chiang led the Chinese Nationalist Party of the Republic of China and was the "representative of the Allied Powers empowered to accept surrender," according to a lawsuit filed last year by a Taiwanese advocacy group.
Not only did the U.S. Armed Forces allegedly help Chiang with Japan's surrender, but the Republic of China acted as "the agent of the United States" when Chiang and his party administered Taiwan on behalf of the Allied Powers, court records show.
China ultimately issued a decree mandating the automatic restoration of Chinese nationality for the people of Taiwan, effective Dec. 25, 1945.
It issued another decree several months later, providing that Taiwanese people living outside of Taiwan would also have Chinese nationality restored to them.
Nearly 70 years later, Taiwan residents Julian Lin and Roger Lin, along with their advocacy group, Taiwan Civil Government, challenged those decrees by suing the United States and the Republic of China in Washington, D.C., Federal Court.
Their lawsuit says "the United States did not give the Republic of China the appropriate authority to issue the 1946 nationality decrees," and knew they violated international law. Taiwan Civil Government sought declaratory as well as monetary relief for arbitrary denationalization.
The American and Chinese governments moved to dismiss the amended complaint for failure to state a claim. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly granted the motions Thursday, noting that the plaintiffs merely alleged the United States was "aware" of the decrees.
"As defendant United States observes in its motion to dismiss, if 'by plaintiffs' own allegations, the United States did not authorize the Republic of China to issue the nationality decrees in 1946, then any alleged injury arising from the decrees cannot be 'fairly traceable' to the United States,'" Kollar-Kotelly wrote.
Plus, Taiwan Civil Government repeatedly alleged that Chiang acted on behalf of the Allied Powers - which included ten other countries, not the United States alone, the 24-page ruling states.
"Plaintiffs' assertion that Chiang Kai-shek acted as an agent of the United States appears to be part of an attempt by plaintiffs to benignly conflate the Allied Powers and the United States into one," Kollar-Kotelly wrote.
The United States' alleged principal-agent relationship with the Republic of China in 1946 has not caused the plaintiffs' present-day injuries, the judge ruled.
"Seven decades have passed since the issuing of the nationality decrees in 1946, with numerous events having occurred that are directly relevant to Taiwan's political status," Kollar-Kotelly wrote. "Furthermore, plaintiffs have not put forward any evidence demonstrating that plaintiffs' current situation is a result of the events in 1946 and not a consequence of the 'years and years of diplomatic negotiations and delicate agreements' that have occurred during the intervening years."
Taiwan Civil Government and the two members thus lack standing to bring legal claims, and the D.C. Federal Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because the allegedly tortious acts did not occur within the United States, according to last week's ruling.
U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas declined to comment on the ruling, beyond the agency's public filings.
One of the Republic of China's attorneys, Thomas Corcoran with Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe in D.C., declined to comment on the ruling, but said that no notice of appeal has been filed.
The plaintiffs' attorney, Charles Camp, did not return a request for comment emailed Monday.
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