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Chinese History - Taiwan, Republic of China 台灣 (中華民國; since 1949)

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The Republic of China (Zhonghua minguo 中華民國, ROC) on Taiwan is the government on the island of Taiwan. It claims to be the heir of the Republic of China (1912-1949) and had until recently a parliament whose members represented the provinces of Republican China. When Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi) 蔣介石 and his Nationalist Party Kuomintang 國民黨 (KMT) fled mainland China in face of the conquest by the Communists, they expected to be able to reconquer the mainland with US support. Yet facts showed that such a war would not be possible, and there were only minor clashes in the late 1950s on some islands located before the coast of mainland China and belonging to the territory of Taiwan.
In 1971 the Republic of China lost its seat in the United Nations and its Security Council. These seats fell to the People's Republic of China. As a consequence, most states today do not acknowledge Taiwan as an independent country, but only have para-diplomatic relations with the Taiwanese government in the shape of economic bureaus.
Basing on the economic infrastructure established during the Japanese colonization (1895-1945), the Kuomintang denied democracy, but made Taiwan to one of the so-called Tiger States (the others being South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia). Chiang Kai-shek's son Chiang Ching-kuo 蔣經國 (Jiang Jingguo) initiated a series of democratic reforms on the local level. The first free elections for office of president were held in 1996. The most important competitor of the Kuomintang was the new Democratic Progressive Party (Min-chin-tang 民進黨, Minjindang). In 2000 President Lee Teng-hui 李登輝 (Li Denghui) was succeeded by the first president who was not a member of the Kuomintang, namely Chen Shui-bian 陳水扁 (Chen Shuibian). Chen tended to envisage the independency of Taiwan as an individual state and thus deviated from the one-China principle held upright by the Kuomintang as well as the People's Republic of China. The latter decided to issue the anti-secession law that allows the use of military force to punish parts of "China" proclaiming independence. Chen Shui-bian amended the constitution and abolished the National Assembly that still included representatives of the mainland China provinces.
Corruption among the presidential family was one of the reasons for the DPP's failure in the presidential elections in 2008, when Ma Ying-jeou 馬英九 (Ma Yingjiu), the candidate of the KMT, won the office of president and began a policy of concession with the People's Republic. This was all the more important as a huge amount of Taiwanese investors run factories in the mainland. The conciliatory policy was ended with the presidency of Ms Tsai Ying-wen 蔡英文 (Cai Yingwen) of the DPP in 2016.

2000 ff. © Ulrich Theobald · Mail

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