Taiwan (/ˌtaɪˈwɑːn/ ( listen)), officially the Republic
China (ROC), is a state in East Asia. Its neighbors
include the People's Republic of
China (PRC) to the west,
Japan to the
northeast, and the
Philippines to the south. It is the most populous
state and largest economy that is not a member of the United Nations.
The island of Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa, was inhabited by
aborigines before the 17th century, when Dutch and Spanish colonies
opened the island to mass Han immigration. After a brief rule by the
Kingdom of Tungning, the island was annexed by the Qing dynasty, the
last dynasty of China. The Qing ceded
Japan in 1895 after
the Sino-Japanese War. While
Taiwan was under Japanese rule, the
China (ROC) was established on the mainland in 1912 after
the fall of the Qing dynasty. Following the Japanese surrender to the
Allies in 1945, Republic of
China took control of Taiwan. However, the
resumption of the
Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War led to the Republic of China's
loss of the mainland to the Communists, and the flight of the Republic
China government to
Taiwan in 1949. Although the ROC continued to
claim to be the legitimate government of China, its effective
jurisdiction had, since the loss of Hainan in 1950, been limited to
Taiwan and its surrounding islands, with the main island making up 99%
of its de facto territory. As a founding member of the United Nations,
the Republic of
China at the UN until 1971, when it
lost its seat to the PRC.
In the early 1960s,
Taiwan entered a period of rapid economic growth
and industrialization, creating a stable industrial economy. In the
1980s and early 1990s, it changed from a one-party military
dictatorship dominated by the
Kuomintang to a multi-party democracy
with a semi-presidential system.
Taiwan is the 22nd-largest economy in
the world, and its high-tech industry plays a key role in the global
economy. It is ranked highly in terms of freedom of the press,
healthcare, public education, economic freedom, and human
development.[e] The country benefits from a highly skilled
workforce and is among the most highly educated countries in the world
with one of the highest percentages of its citizens holding a tertiary
The PRC has consistently claimed sovereignty over
Taiwan and asserted
the ROC is no longer in legitimate existence. Under its One-China
Policy the PRC refuses diplomatic relations with any country that
recognizes the ROC. Today, 20 countries maintain official ties with
the ROC but many other states maintain unofficial ties through
representative offices and institutions that function as de facto
embassies and consulates. Although
Taiwan is fully self-governing,
most international organizations in which the PRC participates either
refuse to grant membership to
Taiwan or allow it to participate only
as a non-state actor. Internally, the major division in politics is
between the aspirations of eventual
Chinese unification or Taiwanese
independence, though both sides have moderated their positions to
broaden their appeal. The People's Republic of
China has threatened
the use of military force in response to any formal declaration of
Taiwan or if PRC leaders decide that peaceful
unification is no longer possible. The PRC and ROC standoff dates
back from the Chinese Civil War, First
Taiwan Strait Crisis, Second
Taiwan Strait Crisis and Third
Taiwan Strait Crisis.
2.1 Prehistoric Taiwan
2.2 Opening in the 17th century
2.3 Qing rule
2.4 Japanese rule
2.5 Republic of China
2.5.1 Chinese Nationalist one-party rule
4 Political and legal status
4.1 Relations with the PRC
4.2 Foreign relations
4.3 Participation in international events and organizations
4.4 Opinions within Taiwan
5 Government and politics
5.1 Major camps
5.2 Current political issues
5.3 National identity
7 Administrative divisions
8 Economy and industry
10 Education, research, and academia
11.1 Ethnic groups
11.4 Largest cities and counties
12 Public health
14 See also
16.2 Works cited
17 Further reading
18 External links
18.1 Overviews and data
18.2 Government agencies
See also: Chinese Taipei, Formosa, and Names of China
(top) "Taiwan" in
Traditional Chinese characters and Kyūjitai
Japanese Kanji. (bottom) "Taiwan" in
Simplified Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese characters and
臺灣 or 台灣
Republic of China
"Republic of China" in Traditional (top) and Simplified (bottom)
ㄓㄨㄥ ㄏㄨㄚˊ ㄇㄧㄣˊ ㄍㄨㄛˊ
ﺟْﻮ ﺧُﻮَ مٍ ﻗُﻮَع
tson平 gho平 min平 koh入
tung1 fa4 min4 koet7
Middle or Central State
krung hwa dmangs gtso'i rgyal khab
Дундад иргэн улс
Dumdadu irgen ulus
There are various names for the island of
Taiwan in use today, each
derived by explorers or rulers during a particular historical period.
The former name
Formosa (福爾摩沙) dates from 1542,[verification
needed] when Portuguese sailors sighted the main island of
named it Ilha Formosa, which means "beautiful island". The name
"Formosa" eventually "replaced all others in European literature"
and was in common use in English in the early 20th century.
In the early 17th century, the
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company established a
commercial post at Fort Zeelandia (modern-day Anping, Tainan) on a
coastal sandbar called "Tayouan", after their ethnonym for a
nearby Taiwanese aboriginal tribe, possibly Taivoan people, written by
the Dutch and Portuguese variously as Taiouwang, Tayowan, Teijoan,
etc. This name was also adopted into the Chinese vernacular (in
particular, Hokkien, as Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tāi-oân/Tâi-oân) as the
name of the sandbar and nearby area (Tainan). The modern word "Taiwan"
is derived from this usage, which is seen in various forms (大員,
大圓, 大灣, 臺員, 臺圓 and 臺窩灣) in Chinese historical
records. The area of modern-day
Tainan was the first permanent
settlement by Western colonists and Chinese immigrants, grew to be the
most important trading centre, and served as the capital of the island
until 1887. Use of the current Chinese name (臺灣) was formalized as
early as 1684 with the establishment of
Taiwan Prefecture. Through its
rapid development, the entire Formosan mainland eventually became
known as "Taiwan".
Daoyi Zhilüe (1349),
Wang Dayuan used "Liuqiu" as a name for
the island of Taiwan, or the part of it closest to Penghu.
Elsewhere, the name was used for the
Ryukyu Islands in general or
Okinawa, the largest of them; indeed the name Ryūkyū is the Japanese
form of Liúqiú. The name also appears in the
Book of Sui (636) and
other early works, but scholars cannot agree on whether these
references are to the Ryukyus,
Taiwan or even Luzon.
The official name of the state is the "Republic of China"; it has also
been known under various names throughout its existence. Shortly after
the ROC's establishment in 1912, while it was still located on the
Chinese mainland, the government used the short form "China"
(Zhōngguó (中國)) to refer to itself, which derives from zhōng
("central" or "middle") and guó ("state, nation-state"),[f] a term
which also developed under the
Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal
demesne,[g] and the name was then applied to the area around Luoyi
(present-day Luoyang) during the
Eastern Zhou and then to China's
Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state
during the Qing era. During the 1950s and 1960s, after the
government had fled to
Taiwan upon losing the Chinese Civil War, it
was commonly referred to as "Nationalist China" (or "Free China") to
differentiate it from "Communist China" (or "Red China"). It was a
member of the
United Nations representing "China" until 1971, when it
lost its seat to the People's Republic of China. Over subsequent
decades, the Republic of
China has become commonly known as "Taiwan",
after the island that comprises 99% of the territory under its
control. In some contexts, especially ROC government publications, the
name is written as "Republic of
China (Taiwan)", "Republic of
China/Taiwan", or sometimes "
Taiwan (ROC)." The Republic of China
participates in most international forums and organizations under the
name "Chinese Taipei" due to diplomatic pressure from the People's
Republic of China. For instance, it is the name under which it has
competed at the
Olympic Games since 1984, and its name as an observer
at the World Health Organization.
History of Taiwan
History of Taiwan and History of the Republic of China
See the History of
China article for historical information in the
Chinese Mainland before 1949.
Main article: Prehistory of Taiwan
A young Tsou man
Taiwan was joined to the mainland in the Late Pleistocene, until sea
levels rose about 10,000 years ago. Fragmentary human remains dated
20,000 to 30,000 years ago have been found on the island, as well as
later artefacts of a
Around 6,000 years ago,
Taiwan was settled by farmers, most likely
from mainland China. They are believed to be the ancestors of
today's Taiwanese aborigines, whose languages belong to the
Austronesian language family, but show much greater diversity than the
rest of the family, which spans a huge area from Maritime Southeast
Asia west to
Madagascar and east as far as New Zealand,
Easter Island. This has led linguists to propose
Taiwan as the
urheimat of the family, from which seafaring peoples dispersed across
Asia and the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Han Chinese fishermen began settling in the
Penghu islands in the 13th
century. Hostile tribes, and a lack of valuable trade products,
meant that few outsiders visited the main island until the 16th
century. During the 16th century, visits to the coast by fishermen
from Fujian, as well as Chinese and Japanese pirates, became more
Opening in the 17th century
Main articles: Dutch Formosa, Spanish Formosa, and Kingdom of Tungning
Fort Zeelandia, the Governor's residence in Dutch Formosa
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company attempted to establish a trading outpost
Penghu Islands (Pescadores) in 1622, but were militarily
defeated and driven off by the Ming authorities.
In 1624, the company established a stronghold called Fort Zeelandia on
the coastal islet of Tayouan, which is now part of the main island at
Anping, Tainan. David Wright, a Scottish agent of the company who
lived on the island in the 1650s, described the lowland areas of the
island as being divided among 11 chiefdoms ranging in size from two
settlements to 72. Some of these fell under Dutch control, while
others remained independent. The Company began to import
Penghu (Pescadores), many of whom
In 1626, the
Spanish Empire landed on and occupied northern Taiwan, at
the ports of
Keelung and Tamsui, as a base to extend their trading.
This colonial period lasted 16 years until 1642, when the last Spanish
fortress fell to Dutch forces.
Following the fall of the Ming dynasty,
Koxinga (Zheng Chenggong), a
self-styled Ming loyalist, arrived on the island and captured Fort
Zeelandia in 1662, expelling the
Dutch Empire and military from the
Koxinga established the
Kingdom of Tungning
Kingdom of Tungning (1662–1683),
with his capital at Tainan. He and his heirs, Zheng Jing, who ruled
from 1662 to 1682, and Zheng Keshuang, who ruled less than a year,
continued to launch raids on the southeast coast of mainland China
well into the
Qing dynasty era.
Taiwan under Qing rule
Hunting deer, painted in 1746
In 1683, following the defeat of Koxinga's grandson by an armada led
Shi Lang of southern Fujian, the
Qing dynasty formally
annexed Taiwan, placing it under the jurisdiction of
The Qing imperial government tried to reduce piracy and vagrancy in
the area, issuing a series of edicts to manage immigration and respect
aboriginal land rights. Immigrants mostly from southern Fujian
continued to enter Taiwan. The border between taxpaying lands and
"savage" lands shifted eastward, with some aborigines becoming
sinicized while others retreated into the mountains. During this time,
there were a number of conflicts between groups of
Han Chinese from
different regions of southern Fujian, particularly between those from
Quanzhou and Zhangzhou, and between southern
Fujian Chinese and
Taiwan and the
Penghu Islands were the scene of subsidiary
campaigns in the
Sino-French War (August 1884 to April 1885). The
Keelung on 1 October 1884, but were repulsed from
Tamsui a few days later. The French won some tactical victories but
were unable to exploit them, and the
Keelung Campaign ended in
stalemate. The Pescadores Campaign, beginning on 31 March 1885, was a
French victory, but had no long-term consequences. The French
Keelung and the
Penghu archipelago after the end of the
In 1887, the Qing upgraded the island's administration from Taiwan
Fujian Province to Fujian-Taiwan-Province, the twentieth
in the empire, with its capital at Taipei. This was accompanied by a
modernization drive that included building China's first railroad.
Taiwan under Japanese rule
Taiwan under Japanese rule and Republic of Formosa
Japanese colonial soldiers march Taiwanese captured after the Tapani
Incident from the
Tainan jail to court, 1915.
Qing dynasty was defeated in the First Sino-Japanese War
(1894–1895), Taiwan, along with
Penghu and Liaodong Peninsula, were
ceded in full sovereignty to the Empire of
Japan by the Treaty of
Shimonoseki. Inhabitants on
Penghu wishing to remain Qing
subjects were given a two-year grace period to sell their property and
move to mainland China. Very few Taiwanese saw this as feasible.
On 25 May 1895, a group of pro-Qing high officials proclaimed the
Formosa to resist impending Japanese rule. Japanese forces
entered the capital at
Tainan and quelled this resistance on 21
October 1895. Guerrilla fighting continued periodically until
about 1902 and ultimately took the lives of 14,000 Taiwanese, or 0.5%
of the population. Several subsequent rebellions against the
Beipu uprising of 1907, the
Tapani incident of 1915, and
the Musha incident of 1930) were all unsuccessful but demonstrated
opposition to Japanese colonial rule.
Japanese colonial rule was instrumental in the industrialization of
the island, extending the railroads and other transportation networks,
building an extensive sanitation system, and establishing a formal
education system. Japanese rule ended the practice of
headhunting. During this period the human and natural resources of
Taiwan were used to aid the development of
Japan and the production of
cash crops such as rice and sugar greatly increased. By 1939, Taiwan
was the seventh greatest sugar producer in the world. Still, the
Taiwanese and aborigines were classified as second- and third-class
citizens. After suppressing Chinese guerrillas in the first decade of
their rule, Japanese authorities engaged in a series of bloody
campaigns against the mountain aboriginals, culminating in the Musha
Incident of 1930. Intellectuals and laborers who participated in
left-wing movements within
Taiwan were also arrested and massacred
(e.g. Chiang Wei-shui (蔣渭水) and Masanosuke Watanabe
Around 1935, the Japanese began an island-wide assimilation project to
bind the island more firmly to the Japanese Empire and people were
taught to see themselves as Japanese under the Kominka Movement,
during which time Taiwanese culture and religion were outlawed and the
citizens were encouraged to adopt Japanese surnames. The "South
Strike Group" was based at the
Taihoku Imperial University
Taihoku Imperial University in Taipei.
During World War II, tens of thousands of Taiwanese served in the
Japanese military. For example, former ROC President Lee
Teng-hui's elder brother served in the Japanese navy and was killed in
action in the
Philippines in February 1945. The Imperial Japanese Navy
operated heavily out of Taiwanese ports. In October 1944, the Formosa
Air Battle was fought between American carriers and Japanese forces
based in Taiwan. Important Japanese military bases and industrial
centres throughout Taiwan, like Kaohsiung, were targets of heavy
American bombings. Also during this time, over 2,000 women were
forced into sexual slavery for Imperial Japanese troops, now
euphemistically called "comfort women."
In 1938, there were 309,000 Japanese settlers in Taiwan. After
World War II, most of the Japanese were expelled and sent to
Republic of China
History of Taiwan
History of Taiwan since 1945, Chinese Civil War,
Chinese Communist Revolution, and History of the Republic of China
§ Republic of
General Chen Yi (right) accepting the receipt of General Order No. 1
Rikichi Andō (left), the last Japanese Governor-General of
Taipei City Hall
On 25 October 1945, the
US Navy ferried ROC troops to
Taiwan in order
to accept the formal surrender of Japanese military forces in Taipei
on behalf of the Allied Powers, as part of
General Order No. 1 for
temporary military occupation. General Rikichi Andō, governor-general
Taiwan and commander-in-chief of all Japanese forces on the island,
signed the receipt and handed it over to General Chen Yi of the ROC
military to complete the official turnover. Chen Yi proclaimed that
day to be "
Taiwan Retrocession Day", but the Allies considered Taiwan
Penghu Islands to be under military occupation and still under
Japanese sovereignty until 1952, when the
Treaty of San Francisco
Treaty of San Francisco took
effect. Although the
1943 Cairo Declaration
1943 Cairo Declaration had envisaged
returning these territories to China, in the Treaty of San Francisco
and Treaty of
Japan has renounced all claim to them without
specifying to what country they were to be surrendered. This
introduced the problem of the legal status of Taiwan.
The ROC administration of
Taiwan under Chen Yi was strained by
increasing tensions between Taiwanese-born people and newly arrived
mainlanders, which were compounded by economic woes, such as
hyperinflation. Furthermore, cultural and linguistic conflicts between
the two groups quickly led to the loss of popular support for the new
government, while the mass movement led by the working committee of
the Communist Party also aimed to bring down the Kuomintang
government. The shooting of a civilian on 28 February 1947
triggered island-wide unrest, which was suppressed with military force
in what is now called the February 28 Incident. Mainstream estimates
of the number killed range from 18,000 to 30,000. Those killed were
mainly members of the Taiwanese elite.
The Nationalists' retreat to Taipei: after the Nationalists lost
Nanjing (Nanking) they next moved to
Guangzhou (Canton), then to
Chengdu (Chengtu) and
Xichang (Sichang) before
arriving in Taipei.
After the end of World War II, the
Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War resumed between
the Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang), led by Chiang Kai-shek, and the
Communist Party of China, led by Mao Zedong. Throughout the months of
1949, a series of Chinese Communist offensives led to the capture of
Nanjing on 23 April and the subsequent defeat of the
Nationalist army on the mainland, and the Communists founded the
People's Republic of
China on 1 October.
On 7 December 1949, after the loss of four capitals, Chiang evacuated
his Nationalist government to
Taiwan and made
Taipei the temporary
capital of the ROC (also called the "wartime capital" by Chiang
Kai-shek). Some 2 million people, consisting mainly of soldiers,
members of the ruling
Kuomintang and intellectual and business elites,
were evacuated from mainland
Taiwan at that time, adding to
the earlier population of approximately six million. In addition, the
ROC government took to
Taipei many national treasures and much of
China's gold reserves and foreign currency reserves.
After losing most of the mainland, the
Kuomintang held remaining
control of Tibet, the portions of Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Yunnan
provinces along with the
Hainan Island until 1951 before the
Communists subsequently captured both territories. From this point
onwards, the Kuomintang's territory was reduced to Taiwan, Penghu, the
portions of the
Fujian province (
Kinmen and Matsu Islands), and two
major islands of
Dongsha Islands and Nansha Islands. The Kuomintang
continued to claim sovereignty over all "China", which it defined to
include mainland China, Taiwan,
Outer Mongolia and other areas. On
mainland China, the victorious Communists claimed they ruled the sole
China (which they claimed included Taiwan) and that the
China no longer existed.
Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the
Kuomintang from 1925 until his death in
Chinese Nationalist one-party rule
Martial law, declared on
Taiwan in May 1949, continued to be in
effect after the central government relocated to Taiwan. It was not
repealed until 1987, and was used as a way to suppress the
political opposition in the intervening years. During the White
Terror, as the period is known, 140,000 people were imprisoned or
executed for being perceived as anti-KMT or pro-Communist. Many
citizens were arrested, tortured, imprisoned and executed for their
real or perceived link to the Communists. Since these people were
mainly from the intellectual and social elite, an entire generation of
political and social leaders was decimated. In 1998 law was passed to
create the "Compensation Foundation for Improper Verdicts" which
oversaw compensation to White Terror victims and families. President
Ma Ying-jeou made an official apology in 2008, expressing hope that
there will never be a tragedy similar to White Terror.
United States abandoned the KMT and expected that
Taiwan would fall to the Communists. However, in 1950 the conflict
North Korea and South Korea, which had been ongoing since the
Japanese withdrawal in 1945, escalated into full-blown war, and in the
context of the Cold War, US President
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman intervened again
and dispatched the US Navy's 7th Fleet into the
Taiwan Strait to
prevent hostilities between
Taiwan and mainland China. In the
Treaty of San Francisco
Treaty of San Francisco and the Treaty of Taipei, which came into
force respectively on 28 April 1952 and 5 August 1952,
renounced all right, claim and title to
Taiwan and Penghu, and
renounced all treaties signed with
China before 1942. Neither treaty
specified to whom sovereignty over the islands should be transferred,
United States and the
United Kingdom disagreed on whether
the ROC or the PRC was the legitimate government of China.
Continuing conflict of the
Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War through the 1950s, and
intervention by the
United States notably resulted in legislation such
Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty
Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty and the
With President Chiang Kai-shek, the US President Dwight D. Eisenhower
waved to crowds during his visit to
Taipei in June 1960.
Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War continued without truce, the government built
up military fortifications throughout Taiwan. Within this effort, KMT
veterans built the now famous
Central Cross-Island Highway
Central Cross-Island Highway through the
Taroko Gorge in the 1950s. The two sides would continue to engage in
sporadic military clashes with seldom publicized details well into the
1960s on the
China coastal islands with an unknown number of night
raids. During the
Second Taiwan Strait Crisis
Second Taiwan Strait Crisis in September 1958,
Taiwan's landscape saw
Nike-Hercules missile batteries added, with the
formation of the 1st Missile Battalion Chinese Army that would not be
deactivated until 1997. Newer generations of missile batteries have
since replaced the Nike Hercules systems throughout the island.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the ROC maintained an authoritarian,
single-party government while its economy became industrialized and
technology oriented. This rapid economic growth, known as the Taiwan
Miracle, was the result of a fiscal regime independent from mainland
China and backed up, among others, by the support of US funds and
demand for Taiwanese products. In the 1970s,
economically the second fastest growing state in
Asia after Japan.
Taiwan, along with Hong Kong,
South Korea and Singapore, became known
as one of the Four Asian Tigers. Because of the Cold War, most Western
nations and the
United Nations regarded the ROC as the sole legitimate
China until the 1970s. Later, especially after the
termination of the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, most nations
switched diplomatic recognition to the PRC (see
United Nations General
Assembly Resolution 2758).
Up until the 1970s, the government was regarded by Western critics as
undemocratic for upholding martial law, for severely repressing any
political opposition and for controlling media. The KMT did not allow
the creation of new parties and those that existed did not seriously
compete with the KMT. Thus, competitive democratic elections did not
exist. From the late 1970s to the 1990s, however,
Taiwan went through reforms and social changes that transformed it
from an authoritarian state to a democracy. In 1979, a pro-democracy
protest known as the
Kaohsiung Incident took place in
celebrate Human Rights Day. Although the protest was rapidly crushed
by the authorities, it is today considered as the main event that
united Taiwan's opposition.
Main articles: Democratic reforms of
Taiwan and Elections in Taiwan
Chiang Ching-kuo, Chiang Kai-shek's son and successor as the
president, began to liberalize the political system in the mid-1980s.
In 1984, the younger Chiang selected Lee Teng-hui, a Taiwanese-born,
US-educated technocrat, to be his vice-president. In 1986, the
Democratic Progressive Party
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was formed and inaugurated as the
first opposition party in the ROC to counter the KMT. A year later,
Chiang Ching-kuo lifted martial law on the main island of Taiwan
(martial law was lifted on
Penghu in 1979, Matsu island in 1992 and
Kinmen island in 1993). With the advent of democratization, the issue
of the political status of
Taiwan gradually resurfaced as a
controversial issue where, previously, the discussion of anything
other than unification under the ROC was taboo.
After the death of
Chiang Ching-kuo in January 1988, Lee Teng-hui
succeeded him as president. Lee continued to democratize the
government and decrease the concentration of government authority in
the hands of mainland Chinese. Under Lee,
Taiwan underwent a process
of localization in which Taiwanese culture and history were promoted
over a pan-
China viewpoint in contrast to earlier KMT policies which
had promoted a Chinese identity. Lee's reforms included printing
banknotes from the Central Bank rather than the Provincial Bank of
Taiwan, and streamlining the
Taiwan Provincial Government
Taiwan Provincial Government with most of
its functions transferred to the Executive Yuan. Under Lee, the
original members of the
Legislative Yuan and National Assembly (a
former supreme legislative body defunct in 2005）, elected in
1947 to represent mainland Chinese constituencies and having held the
seats without re-election for more than four decades, were forced to
resign in 1991. The previously nominal representation in the
Legislative Yuan was brought to an end, reflecting the reality that
the ROC had no jurisdiction over mainland China, and vice versa.
Restrictions on the use of
Taiwanese Hokkien in the broadcast media
and in schools were also lifted.
US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton and Taiwan's special envoy to
the APEC summit, Lien Chan, November 2011
Democratic reforms continued in the 1990s, with Lee Teng-hui
re-elected in 1996, in the first direct presidential election in the
history of the ROC. During the later years of Lee's
administration, he was involved in corruption controversies relating
to government release of land and weapons purchase, although no legal
proceedings commenced. In 1997,"To meet the requisites of the nation
prior to national unification", the Additional Articles of the
Constitution of the Republic of
China was passed and then the former
"constitution of five powers" turns to be more tripartite. In 2000,
Chen Shui-bian of the
Democratic Progressive Party
Democratic Progressive Party was elected as the
Kuomintang (KMT) President and was re-elected to serve his
second and last term since 2004. Polarized politics has emerged in
Taiwan with the formation of the
Pan-Blue Coalition of parties led by
the KMT, favouring eventual Chinese reunification, and the Pan-Green
Coalition of parties led by the DPP, favouring an eventual and
official declaration of Taiwanese independence.[clarification
needed] In early 2006, President
Chen Shui-bian remarked: “The
National Unification Council will cease to function. No budget will be
ear-marked for it and its personnel must return to their original
posts...The National Unification Guidelines will cease to apply."
The ruling DPP has traditionally leaned in favour of Taiwan
independence and rejects the "One-
On 30 September 2007, the ruling DPP approved a resolution asserting a
separate identity from
China and called for the enactment of a new
constitution for a "normal country". It also called for general use of
"Taiwan" as the country's name, without abolishing its formal name,
the Republic of China. The Chen administration also pushed for
referendums on national defence and UN entry in the 2004 and 2008
elections, which failed due to voter turnout below the required legal
threshold of 50% of all registered voters. The Chen administration
was dogged by public concerns over reduced economic growth,
legislative gridlock due to a pan-blue, opposition-controlled
Legislative Yuan and corruption involving the First Family as well as
The KMT increased its majority in the
Legislative Yuan in the January
2008 legislative elections, while its nominee
Ma Ying-jeou went on to
win the presidency in March of the same year, campaigning on a
platform of increased economic growth and better ties with the PRC
under a policy of "mutual nondenial". Ma took office on 20 May
2008, the same day that President
Chen Shui-bian stepped down and was
notified by prosecutors of possible corruption charges. Part of the
rationale for campaigning for closer economic ties with the PRC stems
from the strong economic growth
China attained since joining the World
Trade Organization. However, some analysts say that despite the
election of Ma Ying-jeou, the diplomatic and military tensions with
the PRC have not been reduced.
On 24 May 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that current marriage
laws have been violating the
Constitution by denying Taiwanese
same-sex couples the right to marry. The Court ruled that if the
Legislative Yuan does not pass adequate amendments to Taiwanese
marriage laws within two years, same-sex marriages will automatically
become legitimate in Taiwan.
Main article: Geography of Taiwan
Taiwan is mostly mountainous in the east, with gently sloping plains
in the west. The
Penghu Islands are west of the main island.
The total area of the current jurisdiction of the Republic of
36,193 km2 (13,974 sq mi), making it the world's
137th-largest country/dependency, smaller than
Switzerland and larger
The island of
Taiwan has an area of 35,883 km2
(13,855 sq mi), and lies some 180 kilometres (110 mi)
from the southeastern coast of mainland
China across the Taiwan
Strait. The East
China Sea lies to the north, the
Philippine Sea to
the east, the
Bashi Channel of the
Luzon Strait directly to the south,
and the South
China Sea to the southwest. Its shape is similar to a
sweet potato, giving rise to the name sweet potato used by Taiwanese
Hokkien speakers for people of Taiwanese descent.
The island is characterized by the contrast between the eastern
two-thirds, consisting mostly of rugged mountains running in five
ranges from the northern to the southern tip of the island, and the
flat to gently rolling Chianan Plains in the west that are also home
to most of Taiwan's population. Taiwan's highest point is Yu Shan
(Jade Mountain) at 3,952 metres (12,966 ft), making Taiwan
the world's fourth-highest island.
Penghu Islands, 50 km (31.1 mi) west of the main island,
have an area of 126.9 km2 (49.0 sq mi). More distant
islands controlled by the Republic of
China are the Kinmen,
Matsu Islands off the coast of Fujian, with a total area of
180.5 km2 (69.7 sq mi), and the
Pratas Islands and
Taiping Island in the South
China Sea, with a total area of
2.9 km2 (1.1 sq mi) and no permanent inhabitants.
The ROC government also claims the
Senkaku Islands to the northeast,
which are controlled by Japan.
Taiwan lies on the Tropic of Cancer, and its general climate is marine
tropical. The northern and central regions are subtropical, whereas
the south is tropical and the mountainous regions are temperate.
The average rainfall is 2,600 millimetres (100 inches) per year for
the island proper; the rainy season is concurrent with the onset of
East Asian Monsoon in May and June. The entire island
experiences hot, humid weather from June through September. Typhoons
are most common in July, August and September. During the winter
(November to March), the northeast experiences steady rain, while the
central and southern parts of the island are mostly sunny.
Main article: Geology of Taiwan
The island of
Taiwan lies in a complex tectonic area between the
Yangtze Plate to the west and north, the
Okinawa Plate on the
north-east, and the
Philippine Mobile Belt
Philippine Mobile Belt on the east and south. The
upper part of the crust on the island is primarily made up of a series
of terranes, mostly old island arcs which have been forced together by
the collision of the forerunners of the
Eurasian Plate and the
Philippine Sea Plate. These have been further uplifted as a result of
the detachment of a portion of the
Eurasian Plate as it was subducted
beneath remnants of the
Philippine Sea Plate, a process which left the
Taiwan more buoyant.
The east and south of
Taiwan are a complex system of belts formed by,
and part of the zone of, active collision between the North Luzon
Trough portion of the
Luzon Volcanic Arc and South China, where
accreted portions of the
Luzon Arc and
Luzon forearc form the eastern
Coastal Range and parallel inland Longitudinal Valley of Taiwan
The major seismic faults in
Taiwan correspond to the various suture
zones between the various terranes. These have produced major quakes
throughout the history of the island. On 21 September 1999, a 7.3
quake known as the "921 earthquake" killed more than 2,400 people. The
seismic hazard map for
Taiwan by the USGS shows 9/10 of the island as
the highest rating (most hazardous).
Political and legal status
Main article: Political status of Taiwan
List of states with limited recognition
List of states with limited recognition and Foreign
China § International territorial disputes
↓Siege of Zeelandia
↓Battle of Penghu
↓Treaty of Shimonoseki
↓Surrender of Japan
Dutch & Spanish
Empire of Japan
Republic of China
↓Qing conquest of the Ming
Republic of China
People's Republic of China
The political and legal statuses of
Taiwan are contentious issues. The
People's Republic of
China (PRC) claims that the Republic of China
government is illegitimate, referring to it as the "
even though current ROC territories have never been controlled by the
PRC. The ROC has its own constitution, independently elected
president and armed forces. It has not formally renounced its claim to
the mainland, but ROC government publications have increasingly
Internationally, there is controversy on whether the ROC still exists
as a state or a defunct state per international law due to the lack of
wide diplomatic recognition. In a poll of Taiwanese aged 20 and older
TVBS in March 2009, a majority of 64% opted for the "status
quo", while 19% favoured "independence" and 5% favoured
Relations with the PRC
See also: Cross-Strait relations
2015 Ma–Xi meeting
The political environment is complicated by the potential for military
Taiwan declare de jure independence; it is the
official PRC policy to use force to ensure unification if peaceful
unification is no longer possible, as stated in its anti-secession
law, and for this reason there are substantial military installations
On 29 April 2005,
Lien Chan travelled to Beijing
and met with Communist Party of
China (CPC) Secretary-General Hu
Jintao, the first meeting between the leaders of the two parties
since the end of the
Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War in 1949. On 11 February 2014,
Mainland Affairs Council
Mainland Affairs Council Head
Wang Yu-chi travelled to
Nanjing and met
Taiwan Affairs Office Head Zhang Zhijun, the first meeting
between high-ranking officials from either side. Zhang paid a
reciprocal visit to
Taiwan and met Wang on 25 June 2014, making Zhang
the first minister-level PRC official to ever visit Taiwan. On 7
Ma Ying-jeou (in his capacity as Leader of Taiwan) and
Xi Jinping (in his capacity as Leader of Mainland China) travelled to
Singapore and met up, marking the highest-level exchange between
the two sides since 1949.
The PRC supports a version of the One-
China policy, which states that
Taiwan and mainland
China are both part of China, and that the PRC is
the only legitimate government of China. It uses this policy to
prevent the international recognition of the ROC as an independent
sovereign state, meaning that
Taiwan participates in international
forums under the name "Chinese Taipei". With the emergence of the
Taiwanese independence movement, the name "Taiwan" has been employed
increasingly often on the island.
Foreign relations of Taiwan
Countries maintaining relations with the ROC
diplomatic relations and embassy in Taipei
unofficial relations (see text)
ROC embassy in Swaziland.
Before 1928, the foreign policy of Republican
China was complicated by
a lack of internal unity—competing centres of power all claimed
legitimacy. This situation changed after the defeat of the Peiyang
Government by the Kuomintang, which led to widespread diplomatic
recognition of the Republic of China.
After the KMT's retreat to Taiwan, most countries, notably the
countries in the Western Bloc, continued to maintain relations with
the ROC. Due to diplomatic pressure, recognition gradually eroded and
many countries switched recognition to the PRC in the 1970s. UN
Resolution 2758 (25 October 1971) recognized the People's Republic of
China as China's sole representative in the United Nations.
The PRC refuses to have diplomatic relations with any nation that
recognizes the ROC, and requires all nations with which it has
diplomatic relations to make a statement recognizing its claims to
Taiwan. As a result, only 19 UN member states and the Holy
See maintain official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China.
The ROC maintains unofficial relations with most countries via de
facto embassies and consulates called
Taipei Economic and Cultural
Representative Offices (TECRO), with branch offices called "Taipei
Economic and Cultural Offices" (TECO). Both TECRO and TECO are
"unofficial commercial entities" of the ROC in charge of maintaining
diplomatic relations, providing consular services (i.e. visa
applications), and serving the national interests of the ROC in other
United States remains one of the main allies of the country and,
Taiwan Relations Act passed in 1979, has continued selling
arms and providing military training to the Armed Forces. This
situation continues to be an issue for the People's Republic of China
which considers US involvement disruptive to the stability of the
region. In January 2010, the Obama administration announced its
intention to sell $6.4 billion worth of military hardware to Taiwan.
As a consequence, the PRC threatened the US with economic sanctions
and warned that their co-operation on international and regional
issues could suffer.
The official position of the
United States is that the PRC is expected
to "use no force or threat[en] to use force against Taiwan" and the
ROC is to "exercise prudence in managing all aspects of Cross-Strait
relations." Both are to refrain from performing actions or espousing
statements "that would unilaterally alter Taiwan's status."
On 16 December 2015, the Obama administration announced a deal to sell
$1.83 billion worth of arms to the armed forces of the ROC.
China's foreign ministry had expressed its disapproval for the sales
and issued the US a "stern warning", saying it would hurt China–US
Participation in international events and organizations
Foreign relations of Taiwan
Foreign relations of Taiwan § Relation with
The ROC was a founding member of the United Nations, and held the seat
China on the Security Council and other UN bodies until 1971, when
it was expelled by Resolution 2758 and replaced in all UN organs with
the PRC. Each year since 1992, the ROC has petitioned the UN for
entry, but its applications have not made it past committee.
The flag used by
Taiwan at the Olympic Games, where it competes as
"Chinese Taipei" (中華台北).
Due to its limited international recognition, the Republic of
a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization,
represented by a government-funded organization, the
for Democracy (TFD) under the name "Taiwan".
Also due to its One
China policy, the PRC only participates in
international organizations where the ROC is not recognized as a
sovereign country. Most member states, including the United States, do
not wish to discuss the issue of the ROC's political status for fear
of souring diplomatic ties with the PRC. However, both the US and
Japan publicly support the ROC's bid for membership in the World
Health Organization as an observer. However, though the ROC
sought to participate in the WHO since 1997, their efforts
were blocked by the PRC until 2010, when they were invited as
observers to attend the World Health Assembly, under the name "Chinese
Due to PRC pressure, the ROC is forced to use the name "Chinese
Taipei" in international events, such as the Olympic Games, where the
PRC is also a party. The ROC is typically barred from using its
national anthem and national flag in international events due to PRC
pressure; ROC spectators attending events such as the Olympics are
often barred from bringing ROC flags into venues.
participates in the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (since
1991) and the
World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization (since 2002) under the name
"Chinese Taipei". The ROC is able to participate as "China" in
organizations that the PRC does not participate in, such as the World
Organization of the Scout Movement.
Opinions within Taiwan
Taiwan independence and Chinese Unification
Within Taiwan, opinions are polarized between those supporting
unification, represented by the
Pan-Blue Coalition of parties, and
those supporting independence, represented by the Pan-Green Coalition.
The KMT, the largest Pan-Blue party, supports the status quo for the
indefinite future with a stated ultimate goal of unification. However,
it does not support unification in the short term with the PRC as such
a prospect would be unacceptable to most of its members and the
public. Ma Ying-jeou, chairman of the KMT and former president of
the ROC, has set out democracy, economic development to a level near
that of Taiwan, and equitable wealth distribution as the conditions
that the PRC must fulfill for reunification to occur.
The Democratic Progressive Party, the largest Pan-Green party,
officially seeks independence, but in practice also supports the
status quo because its members and the public would not accept the
risk of provoking the PRC.
On 2 September 2008, Mexican newspaper El Sol de México asked
President Ma about his views on the subject of "two Chinas" and if
there was a solution for the sovereignty issues between the two. The
president replied that the relations are neither between two Chinas
nor two states. It is a special relationship. Further, he stated that
the sovereignty issues between the two cannot be resolved at present,
but he quoted the "1992 Consensus", currently accepted by both the
Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China, as a temporary measure
until a solution becomes available.
On 27 September 2017, Taiwanese premier
William Lai said that he was a
“political worker who advocates
Taiwan independence”, but that as
Taiwan was an independent country called the Republic of China, it had
no need to declare independence. The relationship with the PRC
and the related issues of
Taiwanese independence and Chinese
unification continue to dominate politics.
Government and politics
Main articles: Government of the Republic of
China and Politics of the
Republic of China
Elections in Taiwan
Elections in Taiwan and Human rights in Taiwan
The Presidential Building in
Taipei has housed the Office of the
President of the Republic of
China since 1950.
The government of the Republic of
China was founded on the
Constitution of the ROC and its Three Principles of the People, which
states that the ROC "shall be a democratic republic of the people, to
be governed by the people and for the people." The government is
divided into five branches (Yuan): the
Executive Yuan (cabinet), the
Legislative Yuan (Congress or Parliament), the Judicial Yuan, the
Control Yuan (audit agency), and the
Examination Yuan (civil service
examination agency). The constitution was drafted before the fall of
China to the Communist Party of China. It was created by the
KMT for the purpose of all of its claimed territory, including Taiwan,
even though the Communist Party boycotted the drafting of the
constitution. The constitution went into effect on 25 December
1947. The ROC remained under martial law from 1948 until 1987 and
much of the constitution was not in effect. Political reforms
beginning in the late 1970s and continuing through the early 1990s
liberalized the country and transformed into a multiparty democracy.
Since the lifting of martial law, the Republic of
democratized and reformed, suspending constitutional components that
were originally meant for the whole of China. This process of
amendment continues. In 2000, the
Democratic Progressive Party
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)
won the presidency, ending KMT's continuous control of the government.
In May 2005, a new National Assembly was elected to reduce the number
of parliamentary seats and implement several constitutional reforms.
These reforms have been passed; the National Assembly has essentially
voted to abolish itself and transfer the power of constitutional
reform to the popular ballot.
The head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces is the
president, who is elected by popular vote for a maximum of 2 four-year
terms on the same ticket as the vice-president. The president has
authority over the 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 113
seats. Seventy-three are elected by popular vote from single-member
constituencies; thirty-four are elected based on the proportion of
nationwide votes received by participating political parties in a
separate party list ballot; and six are elected from two three-member
aboriginal constituencies. Members serve four-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 via referendums.
The premier is selected by the president without the need for approval
from the legislature, but the legislature can pass laws without regard
for 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. After the election of the pan-Green's
Chen Shui-bian as
President in 2000, legislation repeatedly stalled because of deadlock
with the Legislative Yuan, which was controlled by a pan-Blue
majority. Historically, the ROC has been dominated by strongman
single party politics. This legacy has resulted in executive powers
currently being concentrated in the office of the president rather
than the premier, even though the constitution does not explicitly
state the extent of the president's executive power.
Judicial Yuan is the highest judicial organ. It interprets the
constitution and other laws and decrees, judges administrative suits,
and disciplines public functionaries. The president and vice-president
Judicial Yuan and additional thirteen justices form the Council
of Grand Justices. They are nominated and appointed by the
president, 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
constitutional court was established to resolve constitutional
disputes, regulate the activities of political parties and accelerate
the democratization process. There is no trial by jury but the right
to a fair public trial is protected by law and respected in practice;
many cases are presided over by multiple judges.
Tangwai (Independent) Taiwanese-born politician Wu San-lien (2L)
celebrated his landslide victory (65.5%) in
Taipei City's first
mayoral election in January 1951 with supporters.
Capital punishment is still used in Taiwan, although efforts have been
made by the government to reduce the number of executions.
Nevertheless, according to a survey in 2006, about 80% of Taiwanese
still wanted to keep the death penalty.
Control Yuan is a watchdog agency that monitors (controls) the
actions of the executive. It can be considered a standing commission
for administrative inquiry and can be compared to the Court of
Auditors of the
European Union or the Government Accountability Office
of the United States.
Examination Yuan is in charge of validating the qualification of
civil servants. It is based on the old imperial examination system
used in dynastic China. It can be compared to the European Personnel
Selection Office of the
European Union or the Office of Personnel
Management of the United States.
Emblem of the Kuomintang, the main
Pan-Blue Coalition party.
The tension between
Taiwan colours most of the political
life, and any government move towards "
Taiwan independence" is met by
threat of military attack from the PRC. The PRC's official policy
is to reunify
Taiwan and mainland
China under the formula of "one
country, two systems" and refuses to renounce the use of military
force, especially should
Taiwan seek a declaration of
The political scene is generally divided into two major camps in terms
of views on how
Taiwan should relate to
China or the PRC, referred to
as cross-Strait relations. It is the main political difference between
two camps: the Pan-Blue Coalition, composed of the pro-unification
Kuomintang, People First Party (PFP), and New Party, who believe that
the ROC is the sole legitimate government of "China" (including
Taiwan) and supports eventual Chinese reunification. The opposition
Pan-Green Coalition is composed of the pro-independence DPP and Taiwan
Solidarity Union (TSU). It regards
Taiwan as an independent, sovereign
state synonymous with the ROC, opposes the definition that
part of "China", and seeks wide diplomatic recognition and an eventual
declaration of formal
Taiwan independence. The Pan-Green camp
tends to favour emphasizing the Republic of
China as being a distinct
country from the People's Republic of China. Thus, in September 2007,
the then ruling
Democratic Progressive Party
Democratic Progressive Party approved a resolution
asserting separate identity from
China and called for the enactment of
a new constitution for a "normal country". It called also for general
use of "Taiwan" as the country's name, without abolishing its formal
name, the "Republic of China". Some members of the coalition,
such as former President Chen Shui-bian, argue that it is unnecessary
to proclaim independence because "
Taiwan is already an independent,
sovereign country" and the Republic of
China is the same as
Taiwan. Despite being a member of KMT prior to and during his
Lee Teng-hui also held a similar view and was a supporter
Pan-Blue members generally support the concept of the One-China
policy, which states that there is only one
China and that its only
government is the ROC. They favour eventual re-unification of
China. The more mainstream Pan-Blue position is to lift
investment restrictions and pursue negotiations with the PRC to
immediately open direct transportation links. Regarding independence,
the mainstream Pan-Blue position is to maintain the status quo, while
refusing immediate reunification. President
Ma Ying-jeou stated
that there will be no unification nor declaration of independence
during his presidency. As of 2009[update], Pan-Blue members
usually seek to improve relationships with mainland China, with a
current focus on improving economic ties.
Current political issues
The dominant political issue in
Taiwan is its relationship with the
PRC. For almost 60 years, there were no direct transportation
links, including direct flights, between
Taiwan and mainland China.
This was a problem for many Taiwanese businesses that had opened
factories or branches in mainland China. The former DPP administration
feared that such links would lead to tighter economic and political
integration with mainland China, and in the 2006 Lunar New Year
Chen Shui-bian called for managed opening of links.
Direct weekend charter flights between
Taiwan and mainland
in July 2008 under the current KMT government, and the first direct
daily charter flights took off in December 2008.
Other major political issues include the passage of an arms
procurement bill that the
United States authorized in 2001. In
2008, however, the
United States was reluctant to send over more arms
Taiwan out of fear that it would hinder the recent improvement of
ties between the PRC and the ROC. Another major political issue
is the establishment of a
National Communications Commission
National Communications Commission to take
over from the Government Information Office, whose advertising budget
exercised great control over the media.
The politicians and their parties have themselves become major
political issues. Corruption among some DPP administration officials
has been exposed. In early 2006, President
Chen Shui-bian was linked
to possible corruption. The political effect on President Chen
Shui-bian was great, causing a divide in the DPP leadership and
supporters alike. It eventually led to the creation of a political
camp led by ex-DPP leader
Shih Ming-teh which believes the president
should resign. The KMT assets continue to be another major issue, as
it was once the richest political party in the world. Nearing the
end of 2006, KMT's chairman
Ma Ying-jeou was also hit by corruption
controversies, although he has since then been cleared of any
wrongdoings by the courts. After completing his second term as
Chen Shui-bian was charged with corruption and money
laundering. Following his conviction, he is serving a 17-year
Taiwanese identity and Chinese nationalism
Roughly 84% of Taiwan's population descends from
Han Chinese who
migrated from Qing
China between 1661 and 1895. Another significant
fraction descends from
Han Chinese who immigrated from mainland China
in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The shared cultural origin combined
with several hundred years of geographical separation, some hundred
years of political separation and foreign influences, as well as
hostility between the rival ROC and PRC have resulted in national
identity being a contentious issue with political overtones. Since
democratization and the lifting of martial law, a distinct Taiwanese
identity (as opposed to
Taiwanese identity as a subset of a Chinese
identity) is often at the heart of political debates. Its acceptance
makes the island distinct from mainland China, and therefore may be
seen as a step towards forming a consensus for de jure Taiwan
independence. The pan-green camp supports a distinct Taiwanese
identity, while the pan-blue camp supports a Chinese identity
only. The KMT has downplayed this stance in the recent years and
now supports a
Taiwanese identity as part of a Chinese
According to a survey conducted in March 2009, 49% of the respondents
consider themselves as Taiwanese only, and 44% of the respondents
consider themselves as Taiwanese and Chinese. 3% consider themselves
as only Chinese. Another survey, conducted in
Taiwan in July
2009, showed that 82.8% of respondents consider the ROC and the PRC as
two separate countries with each developing on its own. A survey
conducted in December 2009 showed that 62% of the respondents consider
themselves as Taiwanese only, and 22% of the respondents consider
themselves as both Taiwanese and Chinese. 8% consider themselves as
only Chinese. The survey also shows that among 18- to 29-year-old
respondents, 75% consider themselves as Taiwanese only.
In the latest survey conducted by
National Chengchi University
National Chengchi University in 2014
and published in early 2015, 60.6% of respondents identified
themselves exclusively as Taiwanese, 32.5% identified themselves as
both Taiwanese and Chinese and 3.5% identified themselves as Chinese.
Percentage of Taiwanese residents who consider themselves Taiwanese,
Chinese, or Taiwanese and Chinese according to various surveys.
Taiwanese and Chinese
National Chengchi University
National Chengchi University (January 2015)
TVBS Poll Center (October 2012)
(not an option for this question)
TVBS Poll Center (October 2012)
Common Wealth Magazine (December 2009)
Research, Development, and Evaluation Commission, Executive Yuan
Main article: Republic of
China Armed Forces
See also: Republic of
China Military Academy
China Air Force Indigenous Defense Fighter
China Navy Kidd-class destroyers
China Army Thunderbolt-2000
The Republic of
China Army takes its roots in the National
Revolutionary Army, which was established by
Sun Yat-sen in 1925 in
Guangdong with a goal of reunifying
China under the Kuomintang. When
People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army won the Chinese Civil War, much of the
National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army retreated to
Taiwan along with the
government. It was later reformed into the Republic of
Units which surrendered and remained in mainland
China were either
disbanded or incorporated into the People's Liberation Army.
Taiwan maintains a large and technologically advanced military,
mainly as defence against the constant threat of invasion by the
People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army under the Anti-Secession Law of the People's
Republic of China. This law gives green light to the use of military
force when certain Chinese Red Lines formulated in the Anti-Secession
Law are crossed like endangering citizens of the People's Republic of
China. From 1949 to the 1970s, the primary mission of the
military was to "retake mainland China" through Project National
Glory. As this mission has shifted to defence because the strength of
People's Republic of
China has massively increased, 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
tends to have Pan-Blue sympathies. However, many have retired and
there are many more non-mainlanders enlisting in the armed forces in
the younger generations, so the political leanings of the military
have moved closer to the public norm in Taiwan.
The ROC began a force reduction program, Jingshi An (translated to
streamlining program), to scale down its military from a level of
450,000 in 1997 to 380,000 in 2001. As of 2009[update], the armed
forces of the ROC number approximately 300,000, with nominal
reserves totalling 3.6 million as of 2015[update]. Even with
that it's concluded that ROC army can only hold the People's
Liberation Army back for a few weeks as it has much more funding,
equipment and R&D research to her disposal. Conscription remains
universal for qualified males reaching age eighteen, 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 defence related industries. Current plans
call for a transition to a predominantly professional army over the
next decade. Conscription periods are planned to decrease
from 14 months to 12. In the last months of the Bush
Taipei took the decision to reverse the trend of
declining defence spending, at a time when most Asian countries kept
on reducing their military expenditures. It also decided to modernize
both defensive and offensive capabilities.
Taipei still keeps a large
military apparatus relative to the island's population: defence
expenditures for 2008 were NTD 334 billion (approximately US $10.5
billion), which accounted for 2.94% of GDP.
China Marine Corps Amphibious Reconnaissance and Patrol
China Military Police is a separate branch in the armed
forces. In the picture, a military policeman stands guard in Hsinchu
The armed forces' primary concern at this time, according to the
National Defense Report, is the possibility of an invasion by the PRC,
consisting of a naval blockade, airborne assault, and/or missile
bombardment. Four upgraded Kidd-class destroyers were purchased
from the United States, and commissioned into the Republic of China
Navy in 2005–2006, significantly upgrading Taiwan's air defence and
submarine hunting abilities. The Ministry of National Defense
planned to purchase diesel-powered submarines and Patriot anti-missile
batteries from the United States, but its budget has been stalled
repeatedly by the opposition-
Pan-Blue Coalition controlled
legislature. The defence package was stalled from 2001 to 2007 where
it was finally passed through the legislature and the US responded on
3 October 2008, with a $6.5 billion arms package including PAC
III Anti-Air defence systems, AH-64D Apache Attack helicopters and
other arms and parts. A significant amount of military hardware
has been bought from the United States, and, as of 2009[update],
continues to be legally guaranteed by the
Taiwan Relations Act.
In the past,
France and the
Netherlands have also sold military
weapons and hardware to the ROC, but they almost entirely stopped in
the 1990s under pressure of the PRC.
The first line of defence against invasion by the PRC is the ROC's own
armed forces. Current ROC military doctrine is to hold out against an
invasion or blockade until the US military responds. There is,
however, no guarantee in the
Taiwan Relations Act or any other treaty
United States will defend Taiwan, even in the event of
invasion. The joint declaration on security between the US and
Japan signed in 1996 may imply that
Japan would be involved in any
Japan has refused to stipulate whether the "area
surrounding Japan" mentioned in the pact includes Taiwan, and the
precise purpose of the pact is unclear. The Australia, New
United States Security Treaty (ANZUS Treaty) may mean that
other US allies, such as Australia, could theoretically be
involved. In practice, the risk of losing economic ties with
China may prevent
Australia from taking action. The United
States, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Chile,
Peru conduct maritime exercises in the
Pacific Ocean every two
years called RIMPAC. They are conducted to promote stability and to be
able to respond in case of an armed conflict in the region, including
an invasion of
Taiwan by the PRC.
Main article: Administrative divisions of Taiwan
See also: History of the administrative divisions of the Republic of
Administrative divisions since 2014
According to the 1947 constitution, the territory of the ROC is
according to its "existing national boundaries". According to the
Executive Yuan in 2012,
Mongolia was re-recognized by Republic of
China as an independent country when the constitution was announced in
When the ROC retreated to
Taiwan in 1949, its claimed territory
consisted of 35 provinces, 12 special municipalities, 1 special
administrative region and 2 autonomous regions. However, since its
retreat, the ROC has controlled only
Taiwan Province and some islands
Fujian Province. The ROC also controls the
Pratas Islands and
Taiping Island in the Spratly Islands, which are part of the disputed
China Sea Islands. They were placed under Kaohsiung
administration after the retreat to Taiwan.
Since 1949, the government has made some changes in the area under its
Taipei became a special municipality in 1967 and
1979. The two provincial governments were "streamlined", with their
functions transferred to the central government (
Fujian in 1956 and
Taiwan in 1998). In 2010, New Taipei,
upgraded to special municipalities. And in 2014, Taoyuan County was
also upgraded to Taoyuan special municipality. This brought the
top-level divisions to their current state:
(直轄市 zhíxiáshì) (6)
Mountain Indigenous District
(原住民區 yuánzhùmín qū) (6)
(區 qū) (164)
(省 shěng) (2)
(市 shì) (3)
(縣 xiàn) (13)
(縣轄市 xiànxiáshì) (14)
(鎮 zhèn) (38)
(鄉 xiāng) (122)
Mountain Indigenous Township
(山地鄉 shāndì xiāng) (24)
According to Article 4 of the Local Government Act, laws pertaining to
special municipalities also apply to counties with a population
exceeding 2 million. This provision does not currently apply to any
county, although it previously applied to
Taipei County (now New
Taipei City) and Taoyuan County (now Taoyuan City).
Economy and industry
Main articles: Economy of
Taiwan and Economic history of Taiwan
See also: North-south divide in Taiwan
Taipei 101 held the world record for skyscraper height from 2004 to
The quick industrialization and rapid growth of
Taiwan during the
latter half of the 20th century has been called the "
Taiwan is one of the "Four Asian Tigers" alongside Hong Kong, South
Korea and Singapore.
Japanese rule prior to and during World War II brought changes in the
public and private sectors, most notably in the area of public works,
which enabled rapid communications and facilitated transport
throughout much of the island. The Japanese also improved public
education and made it compulsory for all residents of Taiwan.
By 1945, hyperinflation was in progress in mainland
China and Taiwan
as a result of the war with Japan. To isolate
Taiwan from it, the
Nationalist government created a new currency area for the island, and
began a price stabilization program. These efforts significantly
When the KMT government fled to
Taiwan it brought millions of taels
(where 1 tael = 37.5 g or ~1.2 ozt) of gold and the foreign
currency reserve of mainland China, which, according to the KMT,
stabilized prices and reduced hyperinflation. Perhaps more
importantly, as part of its retreat to Taiwan, the KMT brought the
intellectual and business elites from Mainland China. The KMT
government instituted many laws and land reforms that it had never
effectively enacted on mainland China. The government also implemented
a policy of import-substitution, attempting to produce imported goods
In 1950, with the outbreak of the Korean War, the
United States began
an aid program which resulted in fully stabilized prices by 1952.
Economic development was encouraged by American economic aid and
programs such as the Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction, which
turned the agricultural sector into the basis for later growth. Under
the combined stimulus of the land reform and the agricultural
development programs, agricultural production increased at an average
annual rate of 4 per cent from 1952 to 1959, which was greater than
the population growth, 3.6%.
Taiwan had a (nominal) per-capita gross national product
(GNP) of $170, placing its economy on a par with those of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. On a purchasing power parity (PPP)
basis, its GDP per capita in the early 1960s was $1,353 (in 1990
prices). By 2011 per-capita GNP, adjusted for purchasing power parity
(PPP), had risen to $37,000, contributing to a Human Development Index
(HDI) equivalent to that of other developed countries. Taiwan's HDI in
2012 is 0.890, (23rd, very high), according to the UN's new
"Inequality-adjusted HDI" calculation method.
Chiang Ching-kuo implemented the Ten Major Construction
Projects, the beginning foundations that helped
Taiwan transform into
its current export driven economy. Since the 1990s, a number of
Taiwan-based technology firms have expanded their reach around the
world. Well-known international technology companies headquartered in
Taiwan include personal computer manufacturers
Acer Inc. and Asus,
mobile phone maker HTC, as well as electronics manufacturing giant
Foxconn, which makes products for Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft.
Taipei is a major computer expo, held since 1981.
Taiwan High Speed Rail, with trains running at speeds near
300 km/h (186 mph), links
Taipei and the southern port city
Kaohsiung in just 96 minutes.
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 8% 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 fifth largest.
The currency of
Taiwan is the New
Since the beginning of the 1990s, the economic ties between
the People's Republic of
China have been very prolific. As of
2008[update], more than US$150 billion have been invested in the
PRC by Taiwanese companies, and about 10% of the Taiwanese labour
force works in the PRC, often to run their own businesses.
Although the economy of
Taiwan benefits from this situation, some have
expressed the view that the island has become increasingly dependent
Mainland Chinese economy. A 2008 white paper by the Department
of Industrial Technology states that "
Taiwan should seek to maintain
stable relation with
China while continuing to protect national
security, and avoiding excessive 'Sinicization' of Taiwanese
economy." Others argue that close economic ties between Taiwan
China would make any military intervention by the PLA
Taiwan very costly, and therefore less probable.
Taiwan's total trade in 2010 reached an all-time high of US$526.04
billion, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Finance. Both exports and
imports for the year reached record levels, totalling US$274.64
billion and US$251.4 billion, respectively.
Rice paddy fields in Yilan County
In 2001, agriculture constituted only 2% of GDP, down from 35% in
1952. Traditional labour-intensive industries are steadily being
moved offshore and with more capital and technology-intensive
industries replacing them. High-technology industrial parks have
sprung up in every region in Taiwan. The ROC has become a major
foreign investor in the PRC, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines,
Malaysia, and Vietnam. It is estimated that some 50,000 Taiwanese
businesses and 1,000,000 businesspeople and their dependents are
established in the PRC.
Because of its conservative financial approach and its entrepreneurial
Taiwan suffered little compared with many of its neighbours
from the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Unlike its neighbours, 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
co-ordination 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 labour-intensive industries to the PRC,
unemployment also reached a level not seen since the 1970s oil crisis.
This became a major issue in the 2004 presidential election. Growth
averaged more than 4% in the 2002–2006 period and the unemployment
rate fell below 4%.
The ROC often joins international organizations (especially ones that
also include the People's Republic of China) under a politically
neutral name. The ROC has been a member of governmental trade
organizations such as the
World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization under the name
Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu,
Kinmen and Matsu
(Chinese Taipei) since 2002.
Main article: Transportation in Taiwan
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications of the Republic of
China is the cabinet-level governing body of the transportation
network in Taiwan.
Taiwan has an extensive highway network, classified
into five levels: national highways, provincial highways, county
routes, township routes, and special routes, with the first four being
Taiwan also has an extensive bus network, most of which are
run by private bus companies. Inter-city rail services are provided by
Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) and
Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR).
Rapid transit systems include the
Taoyuan Metro (incl.
the Airport MRT) and
Kaohsiung MRT, while
Taichung Metro is under
construction. Major airports include
Taiwan Taoyuan, Kaohsiung, Taipei
Songshan and Taichung. There are currently seven airlines in Taiwan,
the largest ones being
China Airlines and EVA Air. There are four
international seaports: Keelung, Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Hualien.
Education, research, and academia
Main articles: Education in Taiwan, Academia Sinica, and History of
education in Taiwan
See also: Scholarships in Taiwan
The higher education system was established in
the colonial period. However, after the Republic of
China took over
Japan in 1945, the system was promptly replaced by the
same system as in mainland
China which mixed with features of the
Chinese and American educational systems.
Taiwan is well known for adhering to the Confucian paradigm of valuing
education as a means to improve one's socioeconomic position in
Taiwanese society. Heavy investment and a cultural value for
education has catapulted the resource poor nation consistently atop
the global education rankings.
Taiwan is one of the top-performing
countries in reading literacy, maths and sciences. In 2015, Taiwanese
students achieved one of the world's best results in mathematics,
science and literacy, as tested by the Programme for International
Student Assessment (PISA), a worldwide evaluation of 15-year-old
school pupils' scholastic performance. The strong scholastic and
educational performance of Taiwanese students has prompted the nation
to build a highly educated labour force that possesses a strong
background in mathematics and science to cope with the current labor
market demands of the 21st century.
The Taiwanese education system has been praised for various reasons
including its comparatively high test results and its major role in
ushering Taiwan's economic development while creating one of the
world’s most highly educated workforces. The country has
also been praised for its high university entrance rate where the
university acceptance rate has increased from around 20 percent before
the 1970s to 49 percent in 1996 and over 90 percent since 2006, among
the highest in Asia. The nation's high university entrance rate
has created a highly skilled workforce making
Taiwan one of the most
highly educated countries in the world with 68.5% of Taiwanese high
school students going on to attend university.
Taiwan has a high
percentage of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree where
45 percent of Taiwanese aged 25–64 hold a bachelors degree or higher
compared with the average of 33 percent among member countries of the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
On the other hand, the system has been criticized for placing
excessive pressure on students and eschewing creativity in favor of
rote memorization. In addition, the system has been criticized for
producing an excess supply of over-educated university graduates and a
higher unemployment rate. With a large supply of university graduates
seeking a limited demand of prestigious white collar jobs in an
environment that is increasingly losing its competitive edge has led
many degree holders ending up with lower end jobs with salaries far
beneath than their expectations. Taiwan’s universities
have also been under criticism for not being able to fully meet the
requirements and demands of Taiwan’s 21st century fast-moving job
market citing a skills mismatch among a large number of self-assessed
overeducated university graduates that don't fit the demands of the
modern Taiwanese labor market. The Taiwanese government has also
been criticized for undermining the economy as it has been unable to
produce enough jobs to meet the demands of numerous underemployed
As the Taiwanese economy is largely science and technology based, the
labor market demands people who have achieved some form of higher
education, particularly related to science and engineering in order to
gain a competitive edge when searching for employment. Although
current Taiwanese law mandates only nine years of schooling, 95% of
junior high graduates go on to attend a senior vocational high school,
university, junior college, trade school, or other higher education
Many Taiwanese students attend cram schools, or bushiban, to improve
skills and knowledge on problem solving against exams of subjects like
mathematics, nature science, history and many others. Courses are
available for most popular subjects. Lessons are organized in
lectures, reviews, private tutorial sessions, and
As of 2013[update], the literacy rate in
Taiwan is 97.15%.
Main article: Demographics of Taiwan
Taiwan's population is about 23.4 million, most of whom are on the
island proper. The remainder live on
Penghu (101,758), Kinmen
(127,723), and Matsu (12,506).
Main articles: Taiwanese people, Han Taiwanese, and Taiwanese
Bunun dancer in traditional aboriginal dress
The ROC government reports that over 95% of the population is Han
Chinese, of which the majority includes descendants of early Han
Chinese immigrants who arrived in
Taiwan in large numbers starting in
the 18th century. Alternatively, the ethnic groups of
Taiwan may be
roughly divided among the Hoklo (70%), the Hakka (14%), the
Waishengren (14%), and indigenous peoples (2%).
Hoklo people are the largest Han subgroup (70% of the total
population), whose ancestors migrated from the coastal southern Fujian
region across the
Taiwan Strait starting in the 17th century. The
Hakka comprise about 15% of the total population, and descend from Han
migrants to Guangdong, its surrounding areas and Taiwan. Additional
people of Han origin include and descend from the 2 million
Nationalists who fled to
Taiwan following the communist victory on the
mainland in 1949.
Taiwanese aborigines number about 533,600 and are
divided into 16 recognized groups. The Ami, Atayal, Bunun,
Kanakanavu, Kavalan, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat, Saaroa,
Sakizaya, Sediq, Thao, Truku and Tsou live mostly in the eastern half
of the island, while the Yami inhabit Orchid Island.
Main article: Languages of Taiwan
Mandarin is the official national language and is spoken by the vast
majority of the population of Taiwan. It has been the primary language
of instruction in schools since the end of Japanese rule. As in Hong
Kong and Macau,
Traditional Chinese is used as the writing system in
The 70% of the population belonging to the Hoklo ethnic group speak
Taiwanese Hokkien (a variant of the
Min Nan speech of
as their mother tongue, in addition to Mandarin, and many others have
some degree of understanding. The Hakka ethnic group (15% of the
population) use Hakka Chinese. Most waishengren[c] speak primarily
Mandarin. Although Mandarin is the language of instruction in schools
and dominates television and radio, non-
Mandarin Chinese varieties
have undergone a revival in public life in Taiwan, particularly since
restrictions on their use were lifted in the 1990s.
Taiwan's indigenous languages, the Formosan languages, do not belong
to the Chinese or Sino-Tibetan language family, but rather to the
Austronesian language family. Their use among Taiwan's aboriginal
minority groups has been in decline as usage of Mandarin has
risen. Of the 14 extant languages, five are considered
Main article: Religion in Taiwan
Taiwan (2005 census)
Yiguandao (XTD) (3.5%)
Tiandism (XTD) (2.2%)
Miledadao (XTD) (1.1%)
Other or undeclared (1%)
Constitution of the Republic of
China protects people's freedom of
religion and the practices of belief. There are approximately
18,718,600 religious followers in
Taiwan as of 2005[update] (81.3% of
total population) and 14–18% are non-religious. According to the
2005 census, of the 26 religions recognized by the ROC government, the
five largest are:
Buddhism (8,086,000 or 35.1%),
Taoism (7,600,000 or
Yiguandao (810,000 or 3.5%), Protestantism (605,000 or 2.6%),
and Roman Catholicism (298,000 or 1.3%).
CIA World Factbook reports that over 93% of Taiwanese are
adherents of a combination of the polytheistic Chinese popular
religion, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism; 4.5% are adherents of
Christianity, which includes Protestants, Catholics, and other,
non-denominational, Christian groups; and less than 2.5% are adherents
of other religions.
Taiwanese aborigines comprise a notable
subgroup among professing Christians: "...over 64% identify as
Christian... Church buildings are the most obvious markers of
Aboriginal villages, distinguishing them from Taiwanese or Hakka
Confucianism is a philosophy that deals with secular moral ethics, and
serves as the foundation of both Chinese and Taiwanese culture. The
Taiwanese people usually combine the secular moral
Confucianism with whatever religions they are affiliated
As of 2009[update], there were 14,993 temples in Taiwan, approximately
one place of worship per 1,500 residents. 9,202 of those temples were
dedicated to Taoism. In 2008,
Taiwan had 3,262 Churches, an increase
Largest cities and counties
Main article: List of cities in Taiwan
The figures below are the 2011 estimates for the twenty most populous
administrative divisions; a different ranking exists when considering
the total metropolitan area populations (in such rankings the
Keelung metro area is by far the largest agglomeration).
Largest administrative divisions in Taiwan
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (November 2013)
Main article: Healthcare in Taiwan
Taiwan University Hospital
Health care in
Taiwan is managed by the Bureau of National Health
The current program was implemented in 1995, and is considered to be a
form of social insurance. The government health insurance program
maintains compulsory insurance for citizens who are employed,
impoverished, unemployed, or victims of natural disasters with fees
that correlate to the individual and/or family income; it also
maintains protection for non-citizens working in Taiwan. A
standardized method of calculation applies to all persons and can
optionally be paid by an employer or by individual contributions.
BNHI insurance coverage requires co-payment at the time of service for
most services unless it is a preventative health service, for
low-income families, veterans, children under three years old, or in
the case of catastrophic diseases. Low income households maintain 100%
premium coverage by the BNHI and co-pays are reduced for disabled or
certain elderly people.
According to a recently published survey, out of 3,360 patients
surveyed at a randomly chosen hospital, 75.1% of the patients said
they are "very satisfied" with the hospital service; 20.5% said they
are "okay" with the service. Only 4.4% of the patients said they are
either "not satisfied" or "very not satisfied" with the service or
Taiwan has its own Center for Disease Control, and during the SARS
outbreak in March 2003 there were 347 confirmed cases. During the
outbreak the Centers for Disease Control and local governments set up
monitored stations throughout public transportation, recreational
sites and other public areas. With full containment in July 2003,
there has not been a case of SARS since.
As of 2006[update], the BNHI Facility Contract Distribution facilities
total 17,259, including:
Chinese medicine clinics
local community hospitals
Chinese medicine hospitals
academic medical centers
Basic coverage areas of the insurance include:
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs
Traditional Chinese medicine
Preventative services (check-ups, prenatal care, pap smears)
In 2004, the infant mortality rate was 5.3 with 15 physicians and
63 hospital beds per 10,000 people. The life expectancy for
males was 73.5 years and 79.7 years for females according to
the World Health Report.
In July 2013, the Department of Health was restructured as the
Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Main articles: Culture of
Taiwan and Cultural history of Taiwan
See also: Taiwanese Wave
Apo Hsu and the NTNU Symphony Orchestra on stage in the National
The cultures of
Taiwan are a hybrid blend of various sources,
incorporating elements of traditional Chinese culture, attributable to
the historical and ancestry origin of the majority of its current
residents, Japanese culture, traditional Confucianist beliefs, and
increasingly Western values.
After their move to Taiwan, the
Kuomintang imposed an official
interpretation of traditional Chinese culture over Taiwan. The
government launched a program promoting Chinese calligraphy,
traditional Chinese painting, folk art, and Chinese opera.[citation
The status of Taiwanese culture is debated. It is disputed
whether Taiwanese culture is a regional form of Chinese culture or a
distinct culture. Reflecting the continuing controversy surrounding
the political status of Taiwan, politics continues to play a role in
the conception and development of a Taiwanese cultural identity,
especially in the prior dominant frame of a Taiwanese and Chinese
dualism. In recent years, the concept of Taiwanese multiculturalism
has been proposed as a relatively apolitical alternative view, which
has allowed for the inclusion of mainlanders and other minority groups
into the continuing re-definition of Taiwanese culture as collectively
held systems of meaning and customary patterns of thought and
behaviour shared by the people of Taiwan. Identity politics,
along with the over one hundred years of political separation from
mainland China, has led to distinct traditions in many areas,
including cuisine and music.
Wang Tuoh, a Taiwanese writer, literary critic and politician
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 and is considered one of the
greatest collections of Chinese art and objects in the world. The
KMT moved this collection from the
Forbidden City in
Beijing in 1933
and part of the collection was eventually transported to
the Chinese Civil War. The collection, estimated to be one-tenth of
China's cultural treasures, is so extensive that only 1% is on display
at any time. The PRC had said that the collection was stolen and has
called for its return, but the ROC has long defended its control of
the collection as a necessary act to protect the pieces from
destruction, especially during the Cultural Revolution. Relations
regarding this treasure have warmed recently;
Beijing Palace Museum
Curator Zheng Xinmiao said that artefacts in both Chinese and
Taiwanese museums are "China's cultural heritage jointly owned by
people across the
The classical music culture in
Taiwan is highly developed and features
artists such as violinist Cho-Liang Lin, pianist Ching-Yun Hu, and the
Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Artist Director Wu Han. Karaoke,
drawn from contemporary Japanese culture, is extremely popular in
Taiwan, where it is known as KTV. KTV businesses operate in a
hotel-like style, renting out small rooms and ballrooms varying on the
number of guests in a group. Many KTV establishments partner with
restaurants and buffets to form all-encompassing elaborate evening
affairs for families, friends, or businessmen. Tour buses that travel
Taiwan have several TV's, equipped not for watching movies, but
primarily for singing Karaoke. The entertainment counterpart of a KTV
is an MTV, being found much less frequently out of the city. There,
movies out on DVD can be selected and played in a private theatre
room. However, MTV, more so than KTV, has a growing reputation for
being a place that young couples will go to be alone and intimate.
Taiwan has a high density of 24-hour convenience stores, which, in
addition to the usual services, provide services on behalf of
financial institutions or government agencies such as collection of
parking fees, utility bills, traffic violation fines, and credit card
payments. They also provide a service for mailing packages.
Taiwanese culture has also influenced other cultures.
Bubble tea and
milk tea are available in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Europe, and
Taiwan television shows are popular in Singapore,
Malaysia, and other Asian countries. Taiwanese films have won various
international awards at film festivals around the world. Ang Lee, a
Taiwanese director, has directed critically acclaimed films such as:
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Eat Drink Man Woman; Sense and
Sensibility; Brokeback Mountain; Life of Pi; and Lust, Caution. Other
famous Taiwanese directors include Tsai Ming-Liang, Edward Yang, and
Main article: Sports in Taiwan
Yani Tseng with the 2011 Women's British Open trophy
Baseball is Taiwan's national sport and it is a popular spectator
sport. Two of the most famous Taiwanese baseball pitchers are
Chien-Ming Wang and Wei-Yin Chen; both are pitchers in Major League
Baseball. Other notable players playing in the
United States include
Chin-hui Tsao who played for the
Colorado Rockies (2003–2005) and
Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers (2007, 2015–2016), Hong-Chih Kuo, Fu-Te Ni,
and Chin-lung Hu. The Chinese Professional
Baseball League in Taiwan
was established in 1989, and eventually absorbed the competing
Taiwan Major League in 2003. As of 2015[update], the CPBL has four
teams with average attendance over 5,000 per game.
Besides baseball, basketball is Taiwan's major sport. Taekwondo
has also become a mature and successful sport in recent years. In the
Chen Shih-hsin and
Chu Mu-yen won the first two gold
medals in women's flyweight event and men's flyweight event,
respectively. Subsequent taekwondo competitors such as Yang Shu-chun
have strengthened Taiwan's taekwondo culture.
Taiwan participates in international sporting organizations and events
under the name of "Chinese Taipei" due to its political status. In
Taiwan hosted two international sporting events on the island.
World Games 2009
World Games 2009 were held in
Kaohsiung between 16 and 26 July
Taipei hosted the
21st Summer Deaflympics
21st Summer Deaflympics in September of the
same year. Furthermore,
Taipei will host the Summer
Taiwan is also a major Asian country for Korfball. In 2008, Taiwan
hosted the World Youth
Korfball Championship and took the silver
medal. In 2009, Taiwan's korfball team won a bronze medal at the
Yani Tseng is the most famous Taiwanese professional golfer currently
playing on the US-based LPGA Tour. She is the youngest player ever,
male or female, to win five major championships and had been ranked
number 1 in the
Women's World Golf Rankings for 109 consecutive weeks
from 2011 to 2013.
Main article: Minguo calendar
Chinese calendar and Public holidays in Taiwan
A calendar that commemorates the first year of the Republic as well as
the election of
Sun Yat-sen as the provisional President
Taiwan uses two official calendars: the
Gregorian calendar and the
Minguo calendar. The latter numbers years starting from 1911, the year
of the founding of the Republic of China. For example, 2007 was the
"96th year of the Republic" (民國96年), while its months and
days were numbered according to the Gregorian calendar.
Usually, year numbering may use the Gregorian system as well as the
ROC era system. For example, 3 May 2004, may be written 2004-05-03 or
93-05-03. The use of two different calendar systems in
Taiwan may be
confusing, in particular for foreigners. For instance, products for
export marked using the
Minguo calendar can be misunderstood as having
an expiration date 11 years earlier than intended.
Taiwan also uses the lunar calendar for traditional festivals such as
the Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival, and the Dragon Boat
Index of Taiwan-related articles
Outline of Taiwan
List of tourist attractions in Taiwan
List of wars involving the Republic of China
^ See Names of the Republic of China.
^ See 
^ a b This does not include citizens of the People's Republic of China
who more recently moved to Taiwan. Some
Waishengren are also Hakka or
Hokkien, and small minority are not Han but Manchu, Mongol etc.
Taiwanese aborigines are officially categorised into 16 separate
ethnic groups by the Republic of China. Exec. Yuan (2014), p. 49
^ a b The UN has not calculated an HDI for the ROC, which is not a
member nation. The ROC government calculated its HDI for 2015 to be
0.885, which would rank it 27th among countries.
^ Although this is the present meaning of guó, in
Old Chinese (when
its pronunciation was something like /*qʷˤək/) it meant the
walled city of the Chinese and the areas they could control from
^ Its use is attested from the 6th-century Classic of History, which
states "Huangtian bestowed the lands and the peoples of the central
state to the ancestors"
^ "Interior minister reaffirms
Taipei is ROC's capital".
5 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
^ Shih, Hsiu-chuan (27 January 2018). "
Taiwan mulling English as an
official language, but is it ready?". Central News Agency. Retrieved
27 January 2018.
^ "President lauds efforts in transitional justice for indigenous
people". Focus Taiwan. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
^ "Hakka made an official language".
Taipei Times. Retrieved 29
^ "Official documents issued in Aboriginal languages".
Retrieved 20 July 2017.
^ a b c Exec. Yuan (2014), p. 36.
^ a b c d e "
CIA World Factbook".
United States Central Intelligence
Agency. Missing or empty url= (help); access-date= requires
^ a b c d e "Number of Villages, Neighborhoods, Households and
Resident Population". MOI Statistical Information Service. Archived
from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
^ "Statistics from Statistical Bureau". National Statistics, Republic
China (Taiwan). Retrieved 29 June 2017.
^ "General Statistical analysis report, Population and Housing Census"
(PDF). National Statistics, ROC (Taiwan). Archived from the original
(PDF) on 26 December 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
^ a b c d "
Taiwan Province of China". International Monetary Fund.
Retrieved 7 May 2017.
^ "Table 4. Percentage Share of Disposable Income by Quintile Group of
Households and Income Inequality Indices". Report on The Survey of
Family Income and Expenditure. Taipei, Taiwan: Directorate General of
Budget, Accounting and Statistics. 2010.
^ a b "Key Figures for Calculating Composite Gender Equality Index".
National Statistics, Republic of
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