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From dKosopedia

The Republic of China was established in 1911 with the overthrow of the Manchu conquest dynasty called the Qing (old spelling, Ch'ing). The founder of the Republic of China was Sun Yat-sen. The power of the central governmen was not uncontested, warlords fought to enlarge their areas of control, and the government struggled to live up to the ideals stated in Sun's manifesto, the Three Peoples Principles. A major problem for this fledgling government was that it was dominated by the Guo Min Dang (People's party, old spelling Kuo Min Tang, hence aka KMT), and that party was largely composed of those with wealth and education. It therefore had a natural bias to decide things in the favor of the up and coming industrialists, the bankers, etc., and to minimize its attention to both the legal and economic rights of the largely illiterate common people. So there was a natural constituency for a "real people's party," and those who sought to represent their interests sought their model in the Soviet Union because the Western nations such as the U.S., Germany, Great Britain, etc. had for so long made virtual colonies of areas of China that they claimed as their spheres of power. To make matters worse, Japan reacted to the intrusive acts of Western nations by trying to play the same game, to become a great nation with a massive navy, with colonies, and so forth. Japan conquored Korea, moved on to Manchuria, and then to China. Until the end of World War II almost all of China except for the mountain fortress province of Sichuan (Szechwan) was under Japanese control. During this time of war, the Nationalist regime and the growing de facto Communist regime fought each other. Each side claims that the other failed to do much to drive out the Japanese.

After World War II, the Republic of China was a founding member of the United Nations and sat on the Security Council. However, it was very weak at home because it did not have the allegiance of the common people. The common people's needs were not well met, yet the ruling elite seemed to be prospering -- often in corrupt ways. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took full advantage of all of the defects of KMT rule, and before long full-scale warfare broke out. In the end, the Nationalists could not hold on to the mainland, and they retreated to the one province that the Communists did not have easy access to, Taiwan, and a couple of minor islands, Quemoy and Matsu, that were within sight of the mainland. They were important strategically because radar stations on these islands combined with radar stations on Taiwan could keep complete surveillance of naval traffic in the Strait of Taiwan.

Since President Truman was heading the United States government at this time, he and his party were accused of having "lost China to the Communists." The claim that Democrats were "soft on Communist" was trotted out at all possible occasions for use until at last one of the most prominent anti-Communists, Richard Nixon, became President. He engaged in secret diplomacy to "normalize" relations with China, but it was President Carter who finally put ink to paper. One by one the nations that had supported the Nationalist regime contemplated which side their bread was buttered on, and before long the Republic of China was voted out of the United Nations, and the Peoples Republic of China took its place in 1971.

The Republic of China is now usually referred to as Taiwan on account of the location of its capital and almost all of its territory and population. Taiwan is a little over a hundred miles off the southeast coast of mainline China. It is a modern, newly democratic, nation of about 22.7 million people with one of the most technologically advanced economies in Asia.

Japan ruled Taiwan from 1895-1945, when Japan was defeated in World War II, and this was preceeded by Chinese rule as far back as the 17th century, interrupted by 42 years of Dutch control in that century. In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist Government fled to Taiwan and established its temporary capital for the Republic of China in Taipei. It claimed to be the legitimate government of all of China, and the communist regime from its capital in Beijing claimed sovereignty over the same area. That there is only one China, and that Tibet is an integral part of China, are about the only two things that the two regimes agree upon. For twenty years Taiwan was ruled more or less as a dictatorship by Chiang Kai-shek. Only the Natinalist Party (i.e., the KMT) had a chance at national offices. However, the regime first permitted free elections at the local level, eventually permitted the Provincial government to likewise be democratized. After Chiang Kai-shek died there was a brief "interregnum" while Chiang's Vice-President ruled as the elected President. While he lived, Chiang's son, Chiang Ching-kuo, headed up their military. Then the old President died, and Chiang Ching-kuo was elected President. His was the last "imperial Presidency," and when he died the long "tutelage" of the KMT came to an end. After half a century of slow and troubled progress toward democracy, Taiwan's polity had finally come of age. Democratic elections for the Presidency in Taiwan have been conducted in 1996, 2000, and 2004.

Taiwan is something of a counter-example for free market economists, as its rapid development was marked by extensive land reform and government intervention in the economy. In both these areas the central government preferred to operate by creating effective incentives rather than simply issuing fiats. Large-scale landlords whose plantations were divvied up among former sharecroppers were compensated by stock in nationally sponsored industries and eventually were generously compensated for the loss of their land. The central government, with its eye on earning foreign exchange, incentivized farmers to produce crops that did not necessarily make sense in view of local markets but were avidly absorbed in Japan, the United States, and oven more remote markers.

The current reality is that there is a more or less Westernized capitalist, democratic nation in Taiwan, and a Communist nation in mainland China, but due to the fact that both nations historically claimed to rule both Taiwan and mainland China the "One China" policy evolved in which everyone knows that there are two nations, but no one admits it. China claims that Taiwan is a rebel province, has routinely and recently claimed that it intends to retake Taiwan by force, and has devoted much of its military power to creating a force capable of retaking Taiwan. Taiwan long exhorted its people to be ready to "Counter-attack the Mainland!" But with the growing democratization of Taiwan came a far greater influence upon government affairs by the roughly 90% who are native Taiwanese rather than refugees or the descendants of refugees from the mainland. Many of those people advocate a "Two China" policy.

The United States has pledged to defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese invasion, has sold high technology military equipment to Taiwan, and this possibility remains the primary justification for the size of the United States Navy, and second only to the possibility of aggression by North Korea to providing a basis for all U.S. military operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Taiwan's isolation from world affairs as a result of its ambiguious sovereignty has had concrete effects. Most notably, it is not a member of the World Health Organization, and hence, is outside the international network for discovering emerging contagious diseases.

Retrieved from "http://localhost../../../t/a/i/Taiwan.html"

This page was last modified 08:15, 11 August 2006 by dKosopedia user Patrick0Moran. Based on work by Andrew Oh-Willeke and dKosopedia user(s) Allamakee Democrat. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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