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Taiwan History

Taiwan (National Flag)Taiwan (National Flag)

The flag was officially introduced in 1928. The red color symbolizes China, ie. he, the largest Chinese people. The white sun on the blue field is the emblem of Guomindang, created in the late 1800's. The blue color stands for equality and justice, the white for brotherhood and sincerity; the white triangles refer to the 12 hours of the day. The flag, created by the party's founder, Sun Yat-sen, was in use throughout China until 1949.

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Taiwan (History)

The island's indigenous population of Malay and Polynesian tribes, from the early 1600's was displaced by an immigration of poor Chinese from the mainland. At the same time, the interest of European powers in the island grew. The Portuguese first visited Taiwan in 1590, and in 1624 a Dutch settlement was established, followed by a Spanish one in 1626. In 1646, the Netherlands occupied Spanish possessions and dominated the entire island, until in 1661 the pirate and smuggler king Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga) defeated the Dutch and established Taiwan as a base. for resistance to the Manchurian Qing dynasty, which had begun the conquest of China in 1644. It was not until 1683 that Qing succeeded in defeating the Zheng family and gaining control of the island, which was subordinated to Fujian Province. The size of the Chinese population at this time is estimated at approximately 200,000, but despite official principles of restricting migration to Taiwan, this figure grew to 2.5 million. in 1842. In 1886, Taiwan became an independent province and a series of reforms were initiated. After The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 forced the Qing Dynasty to cede Taiwan to Japan, which for the next half century used the island as an agricultural supply base, while seeking to integrate the population through the use of Japanese as a language of instruction. The island experienced significant economic development as well as health and educational advances.

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After World War II, control of Taiwan was transferred in October 1945 to China's nationalist regime led by Chiang Kai-shek. The new regime, however, was both corrupt and brutal; protests from the Taiwanese people were met in 1947 by a wave of terror that left thousands dead and a lasting trauma in the relationship between the nationalist regime and the island's Taiwanese Chinese majority. In 1949-50, the remnants of the nationalist regime and its armies were evacuated to Taiwan after the Communist victory on the mainland, and the island then served as the base for Chiang Kai - shek's Chinese Republic, which continued to claim to be the legitimate government of all of China. Thanks to the 1950-53 Korean War, Taiwan gained US attention as well as economic and military aid, and with US support until 1971, the Nationalist regime was able to maintain its position as China's representative to the United Nations. Despite a principally democratic constitution, Chiang Kai-shek ruled the country with an iron fist until his death in 1975, and it fell to his son Chiang Ching-kuo to reform the authoritarian regime during his tenure as Taiwan's leader 1975-88. Internationally, however, Taiwan weakened with the loss of UN space in 1971, and during the 1970's, most countries, including the United States and Japan, transferred their diplomatic relations with China to the People's Republic. Under Lee Teng-hui, the first native Taiwanese to hold the presidency, economic growth continued and political liberalization accelerated. In 1991, the Taiwanese government abandoned the principle of representing the whole of China, opening up Taiwanese tourism and extensive investment on the mainland. The gradual softening of relations between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan in 1990 ' However, the years were suspended in 1995-96 and again in 1999, both in connection with Lee Teng-huis' efforts to mark Taiwan's de facto independence. The March 2000 presidential election placed opposition candidate Chen Shui-bian (b. 1951) in the country's highest office, thus accomplishing the democratization of Taiwan.

Taiwan History

Democracy has consolidated in Taiwan since 2000, with free and orderly presidential and parliamentary elections becoming the norm. Relations with mainland China, however, remain Taiwan's dominant issue, and here the leading parties have had to adjust their policies. The GMD, originally based in the mainland Chinese population of Taiwan, has moved away from its profile as the Pan-Chinese Nationalist Party and has implemented a "Taiwaneseization" of the party. The DPP, based in the Taiwanese Chinese people, has in turn adjusted its secessionist demands and is today satisfied with Taiwan's de facto independence from China. Since the end of the 1990's, China has increased the pressure on Taiwan to achieve a reunification of the country under the formula one country - two systems, and the very large Taiwanese investment in mainland China is a strong card in Beijing's hand. The first years of DPP leader Chen Shui-bian's presidency have not been easy for Taiwan. The island was hit by the worst economic crisis in three decades in 2000 and 2001, and there have been earthquakes and floods.

An assassination attempt, shrouded in much mystery, against incumbent President Chen Shui-bian in the final phase of the 2004 election campaign cast a shadow over democratization; the assassination attempt was presumably the deciding factor in Chen Shui - bian's narrow election victory in 2004, and he was accused by the opposition Guomindang party of staging the event. Taiwan's business has recovered from the island's economic crisis in 2001, but its dependence on China is growing in line with the huge Taiwanese investment on the mainland. The adoption of an anti-secession law in Beijing in March 2005 sparked protests in Taiwan, reminding the world that there is no easy solution to the Taiwan problem.

Growing frustration over the lack of political results in recent years of Chen Shui - bian's second presidential term 2004-08, as well as concerns about the possible costs of Chen's confrontational course towards the People's Republic of China, paved the way for a regular upheaval in Taiwanese politics in 2008: first, Guomindang, along with party allies, won an overwhelming victory in the January 2008 parliamentary elections, with three-quarters of the seats going to the Guomindang-dominated "Blue Coalition". Next, Guomindang's candidate, former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou, won an equally clear victory over DPP candidate Frank Hsieh in the March 2008 presidential election with 58% of the vote against Hsieh's 42%. Guomindang won the two elections on promises of a more dynamic economic policy, with far-reaching opening for new forms of economic cooperation with mainland China, and a generally more accommodating policy towards the Beijing government. But behind the image of a major political upheaval in Taiwan's political life in 2008 emerges at the same time a growing common ground between the two major parties in their struggle for the same center-right voters; thus, too, the DPP's Frank Hsieh had promised a more accommodating course towards Beijing if elected.

 

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