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Template:Republic of China infobox The Republic of China (Template:Zh-ts, Wades-Giles: Chung¹-hua² Min²-kuo², Tongyong Pinyin: JhongHuá MínGuó, Hanyu Pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó, Pe̍h-oē-jī: Tiong-hoâ Bîn-kok) is a state that currently is composed of the island groups of Taiwan, the Pescadores, Kinmen, and Matsu. From 1912 to 1945 the ROC encompassed mainland China and from 1945 to 1949, both mainland China and Taiwan. The name "Taiwan" is often used synonymously with the existing Republic of China, while the term "China" usually refers to the People's Republic of China (PRC) or mainland China.

The ROC was founded in 1912 to replace the Qing Dynasty, ending 2,000 years of imperial rule in China. Its existence on mainland China was scarred by warlordism, Japanese invasion, and civil war and ended in 1949 when the Kuomintang (KMT) was overthrown by the Chinese Communists and was forced to evacuate to Taiwan island. There the KMT declared Taipei the provisional capital and continued to regard itself as the sole legitimate government of China. Meanwhile, the Communists proclaimed the People's Republic of China and claimed to have succeeded the ROC over all of China and that the ROC government in Taiwan illegitimate. From its early days to its move to Taiwan to the early 1990s, the Republic of China government was nearly synonymous with KMT, a party formed by the revolutionaries that originally established the Republic and was the authoritarian ruling party of the ROC. However, with political liberalization beginning in the late 1980s the government has transformed into a multiparty representative democracy.

The political status of Taiwan remains a contentious issue. Although the ROC no longer pursues to retake Mainland China and Outer Mongolia with military means, it has not renounced sovereignty claims over these lands, and the national boundaries have never been officially redrawn. The ROC was one of the founding members of the United Nations; however, in 1971, it was replaced in the UN by the PRC. Because the PRC claims sovereignty over Taiwan, the ROC's diplomatic recognition has suffered since the 1970s as a result of the One-China Policy and because of diplomatic maneuvers by the larger and more economically-significant PRC. Most states switched their recognition from the ROC to the PRC in the 1970s; currently, the ROC is officially recognized by 25 states, though it maintains unofficial relations with most major powers.



Main article: History of the Republic of China

Republican China, 1911-1949

Revolution: Growth and Failure, 1911-1927

After over 2000 years of imperial rule, China overthrew its dynastic system in favor of a republic. The Republican Era of China developed out of the Wuchang Uprising against the Qing Dynasty on October 10, 1911. The Republic of China government was declared on January 1, 1912, with Sun Yat-sen as first elected provisional president. As part of the agreement to have the last emperor Puyi abdicate, Yuan Shikai was officially elected president in 1913. However, Yuan dissolved the ruling KMT, ignored the provisional Constitution in asserting presidential power, and ultimately declared himself emperor in 1915.

File:Chinese republic forever.jpg
Yuan Shikai (left) and Sun Yat-sen (right) with two different flags representing the early Republic.

In response, Yuan's supporters deserted him, and many provinces declared independence and became warlord states. Yuan Shikai died of natural causes in 1916. This thrust China into a decade of warlordism. Sun Yat-sen, forced into exile, returned to Guangdong province with the help of southern warlords in 1917 and 1920, and set up successive rival governments. Sun reestablished the KMT in October 1919.

Nationalist China, 1927-1949

After Sun's death in 1925, Chiang Kai-shek became the effective leader of the KMT having, with the help of the Soviet Union, led the successful Northern Expedition, which defeated the warlords and united China nominally under the KMT. However, Chiang soon dismissed his Soviet advisors, and purged communists and leftists from the KMT, catalyzing the Chinese Civil War. The 1930s were a decade of growth of the areas under KMT control, while the Communists were being pushed into the interior as Chiang Kai-shek sought to destroy them.

Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 and made massive territorial gains during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). With Japan's surrender in 1945, the Republic of China emerged victorious and became one of the founding members of the United Nations. The civil war resumed and intensified after the Japanese surrender, and it ended in the Communist victory in 1949. Template:Seealso

The Republic of China on Taiwan, 1945-present

After the defeat of Japan during World War II, Taiwan was surrendered to the Allies and occupied by the ROC government on behalf of the Allied Powers. It was governed under a corrupt military administration leading to widespread island unrest and increasing tensions between Taiwanese and mainlanders. The arrest of a cigarrette vendor and the shooting of a bystander on February 28, 1947 triggered island-wide unrest, which was then surpressed with military force in what is now called the bloody 228 Incident. Mainstream estimates say anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 people died, mainly Taiwanese elites. The military administration declared martial law in 1948.

In this tumultuous climate, after the defeat of the KMT in 1949, Chiang Kai-shek evacuated the Republic of China government to Taiwan and declared Taipei the provisional capital of China. Accompanying his retreat were some 2 million refugees from mainland China, adding to the already present population of approximately 6 million.

During the Cold War, the Republic of China was seen by the West as "Free China" and a bastion against Communism, while in contrast the People's Republic of China was seen as "Red China" or "Communist China". The Republic of China was recognized as the sole legitimate government of both Mainland China and Taiwan by the UN and many Western nations until the 1970s.

Taiwan remained under martial law, under the name of the "Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion" (動員戡亂時期臨時條款) and one-party rule for four decades from 1948 until 1987, when Presidents Chiang Ching-kuo and Lee Teng-hui gradually liberalized and democratized the system. In 2000, Chen Shui-bian of the more pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was elected president, becoming the first non-KMT constitutional president of the Republic of China. In the 2004 presidential elections, after being shot while campaigning just one day before, Chen was reelected by a narrow margin of just 0.2%. In both Chen's terms the DPP and the Taiwanese independence leaning Pan-Green Coalition failed to secure a majority of seats in the legislature, losing to the KMT and the pro-eventual unification leaning Pan-Blue Coalition. Template:Seealso


Republican China, 1911-1949

The original founding of the Republic centered on the Three Principles of the People (san min zhuyi): nationalism, democracy, and people's livelihood. Nationalism meant standing up to Japanese and European interference, democracy meant elected rule modeled after Japan's parliament, and people's livelihood or socialism, meant government regulation of the means of production. Another lesser known principle that the Republic was founded upon was "five races under one union" (五族共和), which emphasized the harmony of the five major ethnic groups in China as represented by the colored stripes of the original Five-Colored Flag of the Republic. However, this five races under one union principle and the corresponding flag were abandoned in 1927.

In reality these three principles were left unrealized. Republican China was marked by warlordism, foreign invasion, and civil war. Although there were elected legislators, from its inception, it was actually a largely one-party dictatorship apart from some minor parties [1], including the Chinese Youth Party[2], the National Socialist Party and the Rural Construction Party[3], with suppression of dissent, within the KMT of the Communists. As the central government was quite weak, little could be done in terms of land reform or redistribution of wealth either. Politics of this era consisted primarily of the political and military struggle between the KMT and the CCP, in between bouts of active military resistance against Japanese invasion.

Political Structure

The first national government of the Chinese Republic was established on January 1, 1912, in Nanjing, with Sun Yat-sen president. Provincial delegates were sent to confirm the authority of the national government, and they later also formed the first parliament. The power of this national government was both limited and short-lived, with generals controlling both central and northern provinces of China. The limited acts passed by this government included the formal abdication of the Qing dynasty and some economic initiatives.

Shortly after the rise of Yuan, the parliament's authority became nominal--violations of the Consitution by Yuan were met with half-hearted motions of censure, and Kuomintang members of the parliament that gave up their membership to the KMT were offered 1,000 pounds. Yuan maintained power locally by sending military generals to be provincial governors or by obtaining the allegiance of those already in power. Foreign powers came to recognize Yuan's power as well--when Japan came to China with 21 demands, it was Yuan that submitted to them, on May 25, 1915.

With the death of Yuan, the parliament of 1913 was reconvened to give legitimacy to a new government. However, the real power of the time passed to military leaders, forming the warlord period. Still the powerless government had its use--when World War I began, several Western powers and Japan, wanted China to declare war on Germany, in order to liquidate its holdings there.

Republic of China on Taiwan, 1949-Present

Main article: Politics of the Republic of China

The constitution of the Republic of China was drafted before the fall of mainland China to the Communists and was created for the purpose of forming a coalition government between the Nationalists and the Communists for rule of all of China, including Taiwan. However, the CCP boycotted the National Assembly, and it is also worth noting, that the Taiwanese representatives were not elected. Further, it was clear that Chiang Kai-shek would retain most of his power as an authoritarian leader. The constitution went into effect December 25, 1947.

Because Taiwan remained under martial law from 1948 until 1987, much of the constitution was not in effect. Since the lifting of martial law, the Republic of China has undergone a drastic process of democratisation and reform, removing legacy components that were originally meant for the governing of mainland China. Many legacy components that still remain are nonfunctional. This process of amendment continues today as the government continues to reform itself. In May of 2005, a new national assembly was elected to reduce the number of parliamentary seats and implement several constitutional reforms. These reforms have since been passed, with the national assembly essentially voting to abolish itself and transferring the power of constitutional reform to the popular ballot.[4]

Political status and the major camps

One key issue has been the political status of Taiwan itself. With the diplomatic isolation brought about in the 1970s and 1980s, the notion of "recovering the mainland" by force has been dropped and the Taiwanese localization movement stengthened. The relationship with the People's Republic of China and the related issues of Taiwan independence and Chinese reunification continue to dominate Taiwanese politics.

The political scene in the ROC is divided into two camps, with the pro-unification and center-right KMT, People First Party (PFP), and New Party forming the Pan-Blue Coalition, and the pro-independence and center-left Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and centrist Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) forming the Pan-Green Coalition.

Supporters of the Pan-Green camp tend to favor emphasisizing Taiwan as being distinct from China. Many Pan-Green supporters seek Taiwanese independence and for dropping the title of the Republic of China. However, more progressive members of the coalition, such as current President Chen Shui-bian, have moderated their views and claim that it is unnecessary to proclaim independence because Taiwan is already "an independent, sovereign country" and that the Republic of China is the same as Taiwan. Some members take a much more extreme view about Taiwan's status, claiming that the ROC is nonexistent and calling for the establishment of an independent Republic of Taiwan. Supporters of this idea have even gone as far as issuing self-made "passports" for their republic. Attempts to use these "passports" however, have been stopped by officials at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport.

While the Pan-Green camp favors Taiwan having an identity separate from that of China, some Pan-Blue members, especially former leaders from the older generation, seem to be strongly supportive of the concept of the Republic of China, which remains an important symbol of their links with China. During his visit to mainland China in April 2005, former KMT Party Chairman Lien Chan reiterated his party's belief in the "One China" policy that states that there is only one China controlled by two governments and that Taiwan is a part of China. PFP Party Chair James Soong expressed the same sentiments during his visit in May. In contrast to the positions of these two leaders of the older generation, the more mainstream Pan-Blue position is to pursue negotiations with the ROC to immediately open direct transportation links with China and to lift investment restrictions. With regards to independence, the mainstream Pan-Blue position is to simply maintain the ROCs current state, and being open to negotiations for unification.

For its part, the PRC has indicated that it finds a Republic of China far more acceptable than an independent Taiwan, and ironically, though it views the ROC as an illegitimate entity, it has stated that any effort on Taiwan to formally abolish the ROC or formally renounce its claim over the Mainland would result in a strong and possibly military reaction, though given the likely defense of Taiwan by the US and Japan, it is not clear what the PRC reaction would in reality be. The US's current position is that the Taiwan issue must be resolved peacefully and that it condemns unilateral action by either side, an unprovoked invasion by China or a declaration of formal independence by Taiwan.

National political structure

The head of state is the president, who is elected by popular vote for a four-year term on the same ticket as the vice-president. The president has authority over the five administrative branches (Yuan): the Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan, Control Yuan, Judicial Yuan, and Examination Yuan. The president appoints the members of the Executive Yuan as his cabinet, including a premier, who is officially the President of the Executive Yuan; members are responsible for policy and administration.

The main legislative body is the unicameral Legislative Yuan with 225 seats, of which 168 are elected by popular vote. Of the remainder, 41 are elected on the basis of the proportion of nationwide votes received by participating political parties, eight are elected from overseas Chinese constituencies on the same principle, as are the eight seats for the aboriginal populations; members serve three-year terms. Originally the unicameral National Assembly, as a standing constitutional convention and electoral college, held some parliamentary functions, but the National Assembly was abolished in 2005 with the power of constitutional amendments handed over to the Legislative Yuan and all eligible voters of the Republic.

The Judicial Yuan is Taiwan's highest judicial body. It interprets the constitution and other laws and decrees, judges administrative suits, and disciplines public functionaries. The president and vice president of the judicial yuan and 15 justices, which form the Council of Grand Justices, are nominated and appointed by the president of the republic, with the consent of the legislative yuan. The highest court, the Supreme Court, consists of a number of civil and criminal divisions, each of which is formed by a presiding judge and four associate judges, all appointed for life. In 1993 a separate constitution court was established to resolve constitutional disputes, regulate the activities of political parties and accelerate the democratization process. Trial is not by jury, but the right to a fair public trial is protected by law and respected in practice; many cases will be presided over by multiple judges.

Taiwan's political system does not fit traditional models. The Premier is selected by the President without the need for approval from the Legislature, but the Legislature can pass laws without regard to the President, as neither he nor the Premier wields veto power. Thus, there is little incentive for the President and the Legislature to negotiate on legislation if they are of opposing parties. In fact, since the election of the pan-Green's Chen Shuibian as President in 2000 and the continued control of the Legislative Yuan by the pan-Blue majority, legislation has repeatedly stalled, as the two sides have been deadlocked. Another curiousity of the Taiwanese system is due to historical reasons; because Taiwan was previously dominated by strong-man single party politics, real power in the system shifted from one position to another, depending on what position was currently occupied by the leader of the state (Chiang Kai-shek and later his son, Chiang Ching-kuo, and now Chen Shuibian). This legacy has resulted in executive powers being currently concentrated in the office of President rather than the Premier.

The term ruling party was previously applied to the KMT, as it was the authoritarian party that controlled all aspects of government. Under a Leninist style one party state, there was little difference between the ROC government, the KMT, and the army. Today, however, the term "ruling party" is used to describe the party holding the Presidency, though this is not entirely accurate since the KMT is now only one of the two major parties, and since Taiwan does not have a parliamentary system, where the executive branch would be occupied by the same party or coalition that held a majority in the legislature. This term is currently used as the Premier is appointed by the President, thus executive powers tend to be dominated by the party holding the Presidency. Template:See also

Current Political Issues

The major political issues in Taiwan today include the opening of direct transportation links with China, including direct flights, the passage of an arms procurement bill that the United States authorized back in 2001 for Taiwan's purchase, and the recent establishment of a National Communications Commission, which will take over much of the work of the former Government Information Office that had previously exercised a great deal of control over Taiwanes media through its advertising budget. Banking reform, including consumer finance (limiting rates on credit cards) and bank mergers, is also a major issue. Taiwan's financial sector is quite unwieldy, with over 48 banks, none of which have a market share over 10%. In addition, the government controls 50% to 60% of Taiwan's banking assets.

Political divisions

Main article: Political divisions of the Republic of China
Current jurisdiction of the Republic of China

According to the 1947 Constitution, written before the fall of mainland China to the Communists and with the intention of applying it to all of China, the highest level administrative division is the province (the provincial level also includes special administrative regions, regions, centrally administered municipalities). However, since 1998, the only provincial governments to remain fully functional under ROC jurisdiction—Taiwan Province—has been effectively streamlined with responsibility assumed by the central government and the county-level governments (the other existing provincial government, Fuchien, was streamlined much earlier). The ROC currently administers two provinces and two provincial level cities:

The Republic of China also controls the Dongsha Islands and Taiping Island, which are part of the disputed South China Sea Islands. They have been placed under Kaohsiung City after the retreat to Taiwan.

Taichung is currently under consideration for elevation to central municipality status. Also, Taipei County and Kaohsiung County are considering mergers with their respective cities.

Maps of the official borders of the Republic of China include mainland China, Mongolia and Tannu Tuva

Additionally, although the ROC has not constitutionally renounced sovereignty over Mainland China and Outer Mongolia, President Lee Teng-hui stated in 1991 that his government does not dispute the fact that the Communist Party rules Mainland China. The DPP government under Chen Shui-bian has made moves to ignore such claims, including removing Outer Mongolia from the ROC's official maps and the establishment of a representative office in Mongolia's capital, Ulan Bator.

Official boundaries continue to show 35 provinces, 14 municipalities, 1 special administrative region, and 2 regions, instead of 23 provinces, 4 municipalities, and autonomous regions shown on the maps from the PRC that reflect the PRC actual political divisions; however, the ruling DPP government has dropped regulations that require Taiwanese map makers to depict the official boundaries. Template:See also

Foreign relations

Main article: Foreign relations of the Republic of China

Republican China, 1911-1949

The foreign relations of Republican China were complicated by a lack of internal unity with competing centers of power that all claimed legitimacy as well as foreign interference and invasion. Japan, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, and other major powers all at one point or another made claims to various parts of China during this time. During the early years of the Republic, almost all foreign powers recognized the "warlord" government controlled by Yuan Shi-kai in Beijing as the legitimate government in China. In return for recognition, the Republic had to give up control of Outer Mongolia and Tibet. China would remain suzerain, but Russia would be allowed to influence Mongolia while the British would be allowed in Tibet. It was also this government that sent representatives to sign Treaty of Versailles (over protests by students in the May Fourth Movement). With the conclusion of World War I, China became one of five permanent members in the League of Nations.

After the defeat of the Beiyang government in Beijing by the Kuomintang (Nationalists), the Nationalist Government in Nanjing received widespread diplomatic recognition. This recognition lasted throughout the Chinese Civil War and World War II (though Japan established a rival puppet government during the invasion that received some recognition from the Axis). Having fought on the side of the Allied Powers during World War II, the Republic of China became one of the founding members of the UN and held one of five permanent seats on the UN Security Council.


Republic of China on Taiwan, 1949-Present

After the KMT retreat to Taiwan, most countries, notably the countries in the Western bloc, continued to maintain relations with the ROC government. Recognition gradually eroded and many countries switched recognition to the PRC in the 1970s. Today, the Republic of China on Taiwan continues to be officially recognized by 25 nations, mostly small countries in Central America and Africa but also including the Holy See of the Catholic Church. The People's Republic of China has a policy of not having diplomatic relations with any nation which recognizes the Republic of China and insists that all nations with which it has diplomatic relations make a statement which recognizes its claims to Taiwan. In practice, however, most major nations maintain unofficial diplomatic relations with Taiwan and the statement which is required by the PRC is couched in extremely carefully worded ambiguity. In some major nations who do not recognize it, the ROC has representative offices called the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office or the "Taipei Representative Office" for short, that take on most of the functions of an official embassy, such as issuing visas. Likewise, many nations maintain counterpart trade and economic offices in the ROC, such as the American Institute in Taiwan, which is the de facto embassy of the United States in the ROC.

The Republic of China was in the United Nations as one of its founding members and held China's seat on the Security Council until 1971, when it was expelled by General Assembly Resolution 2758 and replaced in all UN organs with the government of the People's Republic of China. Multiple attempts by the Republic of China to re-join the UN have not made it past committee. (See China and the United Nations)

Besides the dispute with the PRC over the mainland, the ROC also has a controversial relationship with Mongolia. Until 1945, the ROC claimed jurisdiction over Mongolia, but under Soviet pressure, it recognized Mongolian independence. Shortly thereafter, it repudiated this recognition and continued to claim jurisdiction over Mongolia until recently. Since the late 1990s, the relationship with Mongolia has become a controversial topic. Any move to renounce sovereignty over Mongolia is controversial because the PRC claims that it is a prelude to Taiwan independence.


Main article: Military of the Republic of China

Militaries of Republican China, 1911-1949

As power was fractured, several armies were associated with this era, including those of the various warlords, the KMT, and the CPC. There were two armies to be regarded the "national army": the Beiyang Army of the Warlord government and later the National Revolutionary Army of the Nationalist Government.

The founding of the Republic was made possible by mutiny within the Qing New Army. When Yuan Shikai took over as president, he was already commander of the Beiyang Army, which controlled North China. However, with Yuan's death in 1916, numerous factions within the Beiyang Army broke loose, and the leading generals of the Beiyang Army became warlords, operating huge fiefdoms in the following decade. Regulars in these warlord armies often did not wear uniforms and the distinction between bandit and soldier was blurred.

With the help of the Comintern, Sun Yat-sen established the National Revolutionary Army in 1925 in Guangdong with a goal of reunifying China under the Kuomintang. To this end, it initially fought against the warlords that had fractured China, successfully unifying China, and later against the Communist Red Army. It also fought against Japanese invasion during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1931/1937-1945), which became a part of the larger World War II. Leadership of the military during this time empowered political leadership. Following the lines of Leninism and the Three Principles of the People, the distinction among party, state, and army were blurred.

With the defeat by the Communist People's Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War, much of the National Revolutionary Army retreated to Taiwan along with the government. It was later reformed into the Republic of China Army.

The CCP formed both a regular army and paramilitary forces, or Red Guards, in regions that it controlled. Because the movement had its base in the masses, mainly the peasant class, it was able to militarize and gain support from a much larger base beyond the official numbers of their army. Red Guards were expected to perform police duties, spy on the enemy, scout, as well as fighting along regular forces.

Military of the Republic of China on Taiwan

File:ROCN cheng kung class.jpg
ROC Navy Cheng Kung-class frigates

Today, the Republic of China on Taiwan maintains a large military establishment, mainly as defense against the constant threat of invasion by the People's Republic of China, which is seen as the predominant threat and which has not renounced the use of force against the ROC. From its retreat from mainland China in 1949 until the 1970s, the military's primary mission had been to "retake the mainland." Given its current mission of defense against invasion, the ROC military has begun to shift emphasis from the traditionally dominant army to the air force and navy. Control of the armed forces has also passed into the hands of the civilian government. As the ROC military shares historical roots with the KMT, the older generation of high ranking officers tend to lean towards Pan-Blue politically. However, with their retirement and the raise in the number of non-Mainlanders enlisting in the armed forces with younger generations, the political leanings of the military has moved closer towards the public norm in Taiwan.

The ROC's armed forces number approximately 300,000, with nominal reserves totaling 3,870,000. The ROC begun its implementation of a force reduction program to scale down its military from a level of 430,000 in the 1990s, and is drawing to a close by 2005. Conscription remains universal for qualified males reaching age 18, but as a part of the reduction effort many are given the opportunity to fulfill their draft requirement through alternative service and are redirected to government agencies or defense related industries. Current plans call for a transition to a predominantly professional army over the next decade, with conscription decreasing by two months each year, with the final result being conscription will be limited to a period of 3 months.

The armed forces primary concern at this time is the possibility of an attack by the PRC, consisting of a naval blockade, airborne assault and/or missile bombardment. Four upgraded Kidd-class destroyers were recently purchased from the United States, significantly upgrading Taiwan's air defense and submarine hunting abilities. The Ministry of National Defense planned to purchase diesel-powered submarines and Patriot anti-missile batteries from the United States to counter the recent threat, but its budget has been stalled repeatedly by the opposition-Pan-Blue Coalition controlled legislature as of 2005. The defense package, stalled since 2001, has been stalled to the point that there is now debate about the relevance of the submarines and whether different hardware should be purchased. A significant amount of military hardware has been bought from the United States, and continues to be legally guaranteed today by the Taiwan Relations Act. In the past, the ROC has also purchased hardware from France and the Netherlands.

The immediate defense against invasion by the PRC is, of course, the ROC's own armed forces. The current strategy is to hold-out against an invasion or blockade for as long as it would take until the U.S. military could respond. A defense pact between the U.S. and Japan signed in 2005 also implies that Japan would be involved in any response to a PRC invasion. In the event of an invasion, other U.S. allies, especially Australia, would also likely be expected to respond.


Economy of Republican China, 1912-1949

Main article: Economy of China

During the first half of the 20th century the ROC economy was essentially capitalist, with much foreign interference. Progress was impeded by constant war, internal and external strife.

With the fall of the emperor and the end of political isolation also came the end of economic isolation. The weak national government did make some attempts to promote economic activity, such as establishing the Industrial Bank of China. Overall, however, debts to Western powers and a weak national government led to little government control of the economy other than being the prime source of the rampant inflation. Due to political instability and the overprinting of money by the government to finace the wars against the Japanese and against the Communists, this period also suffered runaway inflation. Foreign debts also made the national government susceptible to foreign influence. The Nationalists, like Yuan Shi-kai before them, were propped up through massive economic loans by the United States, to help them carry out their war.

China at the time was largely agrarian with most of the land, and thus the wealth, concentrated in a wide pyramid structure – much of the land was owned by a few very wealthy landowners with the general population tenant farmers who did not own land. This situation of severe inequality is exactly the one that both the original revolutionists that had formed Republican China and the Communist party had aimed to overturn. The Henan famine (1943-1944), among general inequality, was one major event that helped aid in the collapse of the Republican government. Labor unions had also been crushed in the purge of the the Communists from the Kuomintang, leading to even more inequality.

Meanwhile, in areas controlled by Communists, the CCP implemented Soviet-style agrarian reform. This was accomplished at the village level with land confiscated and redistributed equitably, according to the manpower of each family. Landowners were executed or given no share at all and rents were abolished. Taxes were reformed as well--they were capped at 15-20% of the harvest. In some areas, however, especially those with more wealthy families, land reform was incompletely implemented or not at all, as it was considered too radical.

Economy of Taiwan, history and current situtation

Main article: Economy of Taiwan
Taipei 101, the world's tallest building in three categories, is in Taipei

The Republic of China on Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist, export-driven economy with gradually decreasing state involvement in investment and foreign trade. In keeping with this trend, some large government-owned banks and industrial firms are being privatized. Real growth in GDP has averaged about eight percent during the past three decades. Exports have provided the primary impetus for industrialization. The trade surplus is substantial, and foreign reserves are the world's third largest.

Prior to becoming a Japanese colony in 1895, Taiwan was almost a completely agrarian society that was largely undeveloped. After gaining control of Taiwan, Japan began to develop Taiwan as an agricultural supplier for the Japanese empire, supplying rice and sugar cane. During this time, Japan built up basic modern industrial infrastructure in Taiwan, building telephone lines, railroads, and expanding and upgrading the road network, in order to help the colonial Japanese agricultural corporations. Besides the prohibition of studies in law, Taiwanese education was also greatly improved. It is thought that this period of infrastructure improvement laid the foundation for Taiwan's later rapid economic development.

After the KMT government retreated to Taiwan, the government implemented a policy of import-subsitution, that is, a policy of attempting to produce imported goods domestically. Much of this was made possible through US economic aid, subsidizing the higher cost of domestic production. Because Taiwanese were largely excluded from the mainlander dominated government, many went into the business world to find success.

Today, agriculture constitutes only two percent of the GDP, down from 35 percent in 1952. Traditional labor-intensive industries are steadily being moved offshore and replaced with more capital- and technology-intensive industries. Taiwan has become a major investor in Mainland China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam; although there are no direct transportation links between China and Taiwan, it is estimated at least some 50,000 Taiwanese businesses and 1,000,000 businesspeople and their dependents are established in Mainland China.

Because of its conservative financial approach and its entrepreneurial strengths, Taiwan suffered little compared with many of its neighbors from the Asian financial crisis in 19981999. Unlike its neighbors South Korea and Japan, the Taiwanese economy is dominated by small and medium sized businesses, rather than the large business groups. The global economic downturn, however, combined with poor policy coordination by the new administration and increasing bad debts in the banking system, pushed Taiwan into recession in 2001, the first whole year of negative growth since 1947. Due to the relocation of many manufacturing and labor intensive industries to mainland China, unemployment also reached a level not seen since the 1970s oil crisis. This became a major issue in the 2004 presidential election.

Because the PRC objects to having other countries maintain diplomatic or official relations with the ROC, the ROC often joins international organizations under a different name. The Republic of China is a member of governmental trade organizations such as the World Trade Organization under the name Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (台灣、澎湖、金門及馬祖個別關稅領域) and APEC under the name Chinese Taipei. Template:See also


Culture of Republican China, 1912-1949

Main article: Culture of China

The abolition of the empire had an immediate effect on dress and customs: the largely Han Chinese population immediately cut off the queues that they had been forced to grow in submission to the ruling Manchus. In accordance with the tradition of changing the style of dress for successive dynasties, Sun Yat-sen popularized the changshan (the female equivalent is the qipao). Mao Zedong would later adapt the upper part of changshan and wear the style become known to westerners as the Mao suit. Old imperial practices such as footbinding, which Chinese had long known was viewed as backwards and unmodern by Westerners, were discontinued.

In the late 1910s and early 1920s, students and intellectuals began to challenge old customs in what became the New Cultural Movement. The era called for iconoclasm, the assertion of individuality, and the liberalization of society (such as through the abolition of arranged marriages). Universities began to incorporate western subjects into the curriculum and discussion of numerous philosophies such as communism and anarchism ensued. Notably, Lu Xun published his satire Diary of a Madman to challenge Confucianism, Ba Jin questioned the heirarchical family structure, and Hu Shih called for writing in Vernacular Chinese instead of Literary Chinese for mass appeal. The literary journal New Youth, edited by Chen Duxiu, promoted science and democracy. These changes, though affecting urban and upper class society, failed reach the peasantry who remained mostly illiterate.

In the 1930s, Chiang Kai-shek launched the New Life Movement to promote traditional Confucian social ethics, while rejecting individualism and Western capitalistic values. It also aimed to build up morale in a nation that was besieged with corruption, factionalism, and opium addiction. Some goals included courtesy to neighbors, following rules set by the government, keeping streets clean, and conserving energy. The concurrent National Goods Movement asked citizens to buy Chinese-manufactured products. Template:Seealso

Culture of Taiwan

Main article: Culture of Taiwan
File:Lungshan temple taipei taiwan.jpg
Longshan Temple, Taipei, an example of architecture with southern Chinese influences commonly seen in older buildings in Taiwan.
File:Mecha store taipei.JPG
Japanese culture has had a strong influence in Taiwan, including various mannerisms among the elderly who remember Japanese rule and TV dramas and anime among the younger generations (like with this store in Taipei).

After the retreat to Taiwan, the Nationalists took steps to preserve traditional Chinese culture and suppress the local Taiwanese culture. The government launched a program promoting Chinese calligraphy, traditional Chinese painting, folk art, and Chinese opera. One of Taiwan's greatest attractions is the National Palace Museum, which houses more than 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, jade, calligraphy, painting and porcelain. The KMT moved this collection from the Forbidden City in Beijing in 1949 when it fled to Taiwan. The collection, estimated to be one-tenth of China's cultural treasures, is so extensive that only 1 percent is on display at any time.

Since Taiwan localization movement of the 1990s, Taiwan's cultural identity has been allowed greater expression. Taiwan's mainstream culture is primarily derived from traditional Chinese culture, with significant influences also from Japanese and American cultures, especially in the areas of politics and architecture. Fine arts, folk traditions, and popular culture embody traditional and modern Asian and Western motifs.

About 80 percent of the people in Taiwan belong to the Holo subethnic group and speak Taiwanese as the primary language. Mandarin is the primary language of instruction in schools, having been mandatory since the coming of the KMT, and is spoken by almost all Taiwanese (except older generations who were educated under Japanese rule). The Hakka, about 10 percent of the population, have a distinct Hakka language. Aboriginal minority groups still speak their native languages, although most also speak Mandarin and Taiwanese. English is a common second language, with many large private schools such as Hess providing English instruction services. English also features on several of Taiwan's education exams.

The status of Taiwanese culture is a subject of debate due to identity politics. Along with the political status of Taiwan, it is disputed whether Taiwanese culture is a segment of Chinese culture (due to the Han ethnicity and a shared language and traditional customs with mainland Chinese) or a distinct culture separate from Chinese culture (due to the long period of recent political separation and the past colonization of Taiwan). Speaking Taiwanese under the localization movement has become an emblem of expressing Taiwanese identity.

Karaoke is incredibly popular in Taiwan, where it is known as KTV and is an example of something the Taiwanese have drawn from contemporary Japanese culture. Taiwan has a high density of convenience stores, which in addition to the usual services, provide services on behalf of financial institutions or government agencies such as collection of the city parking fee, utility bills, traffic violation fines, and credit card payments.

Taiwanese culture also has influenced the West: Bubble tea and milk tea are popular drinks readily available around city centers in Europe and North America. Ang Lee is the famous Taiwanese movie director of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Eat Drink Man Woman, and Brokeback Mountain, among other films.


Calendrical system

Following the imperial tradition of using the sovereign's era name and year of reign, official ROC documents use the Republic (Template:Zh-cpl) system of numbering years in which year one was 1912, the date of the founding of the Republic of China. With the retreat of the ROC to Taiwan, people in Taiwan continue this tradition. For example, 2006 is the "95th year of the Republic" (民國九十五年). As Chinese era names are traditionally two characters long, 民國 (Republic) is employed as an abbreviation of 中華民國 (Republic of China). Coincidentally, this calendrical system is the same as the Juche calendar used in North Korea, which begins with Kim Il Sung's year of birth, 1912.



  1. ^ "Taiwan assembly passes changes". BBC News, June 7, 2005.
  2. Feuerwerker, Albert. 1968. The Chinese Economy, 1912-1949. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Miscellaneous topics

External links

Government websites


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