Sunday, 26 February 2012


Taiwan (excluding Penghu) was first populated by unknown peoples, then by Austronesian people. It was colonized by the Dutch in the 17th century, followed by an influx of Han Chinese including Hakka immigrants from areas of Fujian and Guangdong of mainland China, across the Taiwan Strait. The Spanish also built a settlement in the north for a brief period, but were driven out by the Dutch in 1642. In the past (from the 16th century), the island has been called Formosa (from Portuguese Ilha Formosa, " Beautiful Island") by the west.
In 1662, Koxinga (Zheng Cheng-gong), a loyalist of the Ming Dynasty, which had lost control of mainland China in 1644, defeated the Dutch and established a base of operations on the island. Zheng's forces were later defeated by the Qing Dynasty in 1683. From then, parts of Taiwan became increasingly integrated into the Qing Dynasty before it ceded the island along with Penghu to the Empire of Japan in 1895 following the First Sino-Japanese War. Taiwan produced rice and sugar to be exported to Empire of Japan and also served as a base for the Japanese colonial expansion into Southeast Asia and the Pacific during World War II. Japanese imperial education was implemented in Taiwan and many Taiwanese also fought for Japan during the war.
In 1945, following the end of World War II, the Republic of China (ROC) led by the Kuomintang (KMT) became the governing polity on Taiwan. In 1949, after losing control of mainland China following the Chinese civil war, the ROC government under the KMT withdrew to Taiwan and Chiang Kai-shek declared martial law. Japan formally renounced all territorial rights to Taiwan in 1952 in the San Francisco Peace Treaty. The KMT ruled Taiwan as a single-party state for forty years, until democratic reforms were mandated during the final year of authoritarian rule under Chiang Ching-kuo. The reforms were promulgated under Chiang's successor, Lee Teng-hui, which culminated in the first ever direct presidential election in 1996. In 2000, Chen Shui-bian was elected the president, becoming the first non-KMT president on Taiwan. The 2008 election of President Ma Ying-jeou marked the second peaceful transfer of power, this time back to the KMT.

In the Late Pleistocene, sea levels were about 140 m lower than in the present day, exposing the floor of the shallow Taiwan Strait as a land bridge that was crossed by mainland fauna. The oldest evidence of human presence on Taiwan consists of three cranial fragments and a molar tooth found at Chouqu and Gangzilin, in Zuozhen District, Tainan. These are estimated to be between 20,000 and 30,000 years old. The oldest artifacts are chipped-pebble tools of a Paleolithic culture found in four caves in Changbin, Taitung, dated 15,000 to 5,000 years ago, and similar to contemporary sites in Fujian. The same culture is found at sites at Eluanbi on the southern tip of Taiwan, persisting until 5,000 years ago. At the beginning of the Holocene 10,000 years ago, sea levels rose, forming the Taiwan Strait and cutting off the island from the Asian mainland.
Around 3,000 BC, the Neolithic Dapenkeng culture (named after a site in Taibei county) abruptly appeared and quickly spread around the coast of the island. Their sites are characterized by corded-ware pottery, polished stone adzes and slate points. The inhabitants cultivated rice and millet, but were also heavily reliant on marine shells and fish. Most scholars believe this culture is not derived from the Changbinian, but was brought across the Strait by the ancestors of today's Taiwanese aborigines, speaking early Austronesian languages. Some of these people later migrated from Taiwan to the islands of Southeast Asia and thence throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Malayo-Polynesian languages are now spoken across a huge area from Madagascar to Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand, but form only one branch of the Austronesian family, the rest of whose branches are found only on Taiwan.
The Dapenkeng culture was succeeded by a variety of cultures throughout the island, including the Tahu and Yingpu cultures. Iron appeared at the beginning of the current era in such cultures as the Niaosung Culture.

Dutch and Spanish rule Taiwan under Dutch rule and Taiwan under Spanish rule

Portuguese sailors, passing Taiwan in 1544, first jotted in a ship's log the name of the island Ilha Formosa, meaning "Beautiful Island". In 1582 the survivors of a Portuguese shipwreck spent ten weeks battling malaria and aborigines before returning to Macau on a raft.
Dutch traders in search of an Asian base first arrived on the island in 1623 to use the island as a base for Dutch commerce with Japan and the coastal areas of China. The Spanish established a settlement at Santissima Trinidad, building Fort San Salvador on the northwest coast of Taiwan near Keelung in 1626 which they occupied until 1642 when they were driven out by a joint Dutch–Aborigine invasion force. They also built a fort in Tamsui (1628) but had already abandoned it by 1638. The Dutch later erected Fort Anthonio on the site in 1642, which still stands (now part of the Fort San Domingo museum complex).
The Dutch East India Company (VOC) administered the island and its predominantly aboriginal population until 1662, setting up a tax system, schools to teach romanized script of aboriginal languages and evangelizing. Although its control was mainly limited to the western plain of the island, the Dutch systems were adopted by succeeding occupiers. The first influx of migrants from coastal Fujian came during the Dutch period, in which merchants and traders from the mainland Chinese coast sought to purchase hunting licenses from the Dutch or hide out in aboriginal villages to escape the Qing authorities. Most of the immigrants were young single males who were discouraged from staying on the island often referred to by Han as "The Gate of Hell" for its reputation in taking the lives of sailors and explorers.

The Dutch originally sought to use their castle Zeelandia at Tayowan as a trading base between Japan and China, but soon realized the potential of the huge deer populations that roamed in herds of thousands along the alluvial plains of Taiwan's western regions. Deer were in high demand by the Japanese who were willing to pay top dollar for use of the hides in samurai armor. Other parts of the deer were sold to Han traders for meat and medical use. The Dutch paid aborigines for the deer brought to them and tried to manage the deer stocks to keep up with demand. The Dutch also employed Han to farm sugarcane and rice for export, some of these rice and sugarcane products reached as far as the markets of Persia. Unfortunately the deer the aborigines had relied on for their livelihoods began to disappear forcing the aborigines to adopt new means of survival.
The Dutch built a second administrative castle on the main island of Taiwan in 1633 and set out to earnestly turn Taiwan into a Dutch colony. The first order of business was to punish villages that had violently opposed the Dutch and unite the aborigines in allegiance with the VOC. The first punitive expedition was against the villages of Baccloan and Mattauw, north of Saccam near Tayowan. The Mattauw campaign had been easier than expected and the tribe submitted after having their village razed by fire. The campaign also served as a threat to other villages from Tirossen (modern Chiayi) to Lonkjiaow (Heng Chun). The 1636 punitive attack on Lamay Island in response to the killing of the shipwrecked crew of the Beverwijck and the Golden Lion ended ten years later with the entire aboriginal population of 1100 removed from the island including 327 Lamayans killed in a cave, having been trapped there by the Dutch and suffocated in the fumes and smoke pumped into the cave by the Dutch and their allied aborigines from Saccam, Soulang and Pangsoya. The men were forced into slavery in Batavia (Java) and the women and children became servants and wives for the Dutch officers. The events on Lamay changed the course of Dutch rule to work closer with allied aborigines, though there remained plans to depopulate the outlying islands.
Kingdom of Tungning
Manchu forces broke through Shanhai Pass in 1644 and rapidly overwhelmed the Ming Dynasty. In 1661, a naval fleet led by the Ming loyalist Koxinga, arrived in Taiwan to oust the Dutch from Zeelandia and establish a pro-Ming base in Taiwan.
Koxinga was born to Zheng Zhilong, a Chinese merchant and pirate, and Tagawa Matsu, a Japanese woman, in 1624 in Hirado, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. He was raised there until seven and moved to Quanzhou, in the Fujian province of China. In a family made wealthy from shipping and piracy, Koxinga inherited his father's trade networks, which stretched from Nagasaki to Macao. Following the Manchu advance on Fujian, Koxinga retreated from his stronghold in Amoy (Xiamen) and besieged Taiwan in the hope of establishing a strategic base to marshal his troops to retake his base at Amoy. In 1662, following a nine month siege, Koxinga captured the Dutch fortress Zeelandia and Taiwan became his base (see Kingdom of Tungning). Concurrently the last Ming pretender had been captured and killed by General Wu Sangui, extinguishing any hope Koxinga may have had of re-establishing the Ming Empire. He died four months thereafter in a fit of madness after learning of the cruel killings of his father and brother at the hands of the Manchus. Other accounts are more straightforward, attributing Koxinga's death to a case of malaria.

Qing Dynasty rule Taiwan under Qing Dynasty rule

In 1683, following a naval engagement with Admiral Shi Lang, one of Koxinga's father's trusted friends, Koxinga's grandson Zheng Keshuang submitted to Qing Dynasty control.
There has been much confusion about Taiwan's association with the rumored "Island of Dogs," "Island of Women," etc., which were thought, by Han literati, to lie beyond the seas. Taiwan was officially regarded by Qing Emperor Kangxi as "a ball of mud beyond the pale of civilization" and did not appear on any map of the imperial domain until 1683. The act of presenting a map to the emperor was equal to presenting the lands of the empire. It took several more years before the Qing court would recognize Taiwan as part of the Qing realm. Prior to the Qing Dynasty, China was conceived as a land bound by mountains, rivers and seas. The idea of an island as a part of China was unfathomable to the Han prior to the Qing frontier expansion effort of the 17th Century.
Despite the expense of the military and diplomatic campaign that brought Taiwan into the imperial realm, the general sentiment in Beijing was ambivalent. The point of the campaign had been to destroy the Zheng-family regime, not to conquer the island. Qing Emperor Kangxi expressed the sentiment that Taiwan was "the size of a pellet; taking it is no gain; not taking it is no loss". His ministers counseled that the island was "a ball of mud beyond the sea, adding nothing to the breadth of China", and advocated removing all the Chinese to mainland China and abandoning the island. It was only the campaigning of admiral Shi Lang and other supporters that convinced the Emperor not to abandon Taiwan. Koxinga's followers were forced to depart from Taiwan to the more unpleasant parts of Qing controlled land. By 1682 there were only 7000 Chinese left on Taiwan as they had intermarried with aboriginal women and had property in Taiwan. The Koxinga reign had continued the tax systems of the Dutch, established schools and religious temples.

From 1683, the Qing Dynasty ruled Taiwan as a prefecture and in 1875 divided the island into two prefectures, north and south. In 1885, the island was made into a separate Chinese province.
The Qing authorities tried to limit immigration to Taiwan and barred families from traveling to Taiwan to ensure the immigrants would return to their families and ancestral graves. Illegal immigration continued, but many of the men had few prospects in war weary Fujian and thus married locally, resulting in the idiom "Tangshan (Chinese) grandfather no Tangshan grandmother". The Qing tried to protect aboriginal land claims, but also sought to turn them into tax paying subjects. Chinese and tax paying aborigines were barred from entering the wilderness which covered most of the island for the fear of raising the ire of the non taxpaying, highland aborigines and inciting rebellion. A border was constructed along the western plain, built using pits and mounds of earth, called "earth cows", to discourage illegal land reclamation.
From 1683 to around 1760, the Qing government limited immigration to Taiwan. Such restriction was relaxed following the 1760s and by 1811 there were more than two million Chinese immigrants on Taiwan. In 1875 the Taipei government (台北府) was established, under the jurisdiction of Fujian province. Also, there had been various conflicts between Chinese immigrants. Most conflicts were between Han from Fujian and Han from Guangdong, between people from different areas of Fujian, between Han and Hakka settlers, or simply between people of different surnames engaged in clan feuds. Because of the strong provincial loyalties held by these immigrants, the Qing government felt Taiwan was somewhat difficult to govern. Taiwan was also plagued by foreign invasions. In 1840 Keelung was invaded by the British in the Opium War, and in 1884 the French invaded as part of the Sino-French War. Because of these incursions, the Qing government began constructing a series of coastal defenses and on 12 October 1885 Taiwan was made a province, with Liu Mingchuan serving as the first governor. He divided Taiwan into eleven counties and tried to improve relations with the aborigines. He also developed a railway from Taipei to Hsinchu, established a mine in Keelung, and built an arsenal to improve Taiwan's defensive capability against foreigners.
Following a shipwreck of a Ryūkyūan vessel on the southeastern tip of Taiwan in winter of 1871, in which the heads of 54 crew members were taken by the aboriginal Taiwanese Paiwan people in Mutan village (牡丹社), the Japanese sought to use this incident as a pretext to have the Qing formally acknowledge Japanese sovereignty over the Ryuku islands as a Japanese prefecture and to test reactions to potential expansion into Taiwan. According to records from Japanese documents, Mao Changxi and Dong Xun, the Qing ministers at Zongli Yamen who handled the complaints from Japanese envoy Yanagihara Sakimitsu replied first that they had heard only of a massacre of Ryūkyūans, not of Japanese, and quickly noted that Ryūkyū was under Chinese suzerainty, therefore this issue was not Japan's business. In addition, the governor-general of the Qing province Fujian had rescued the survivors of the massacre and returned them safely to Ryūkyū. The Qing authorities explained that there were two kinds of aborigines on Taiwan: those governed by the Qing, and those unnaturalized "raw barbarians... beyond the reach of Qing government and customs." They indirectly hinted that foreigners traveling in those areas settled by indigenous people must exercise caution. After the Yanagihara-Yamen interview, the Japanese took their explanation to mean that the Qing government had not opposed Japan's claims to sovereignty over the Ryūkyū Islands, disclaimed any jurisdiction over Aboriginal Taiwanese, and had indeed consented to Japan's expedition to Taiwan. The Qing Dynasty made it clear to the Japanese that Taiwan was definitely within Qing jurisdiction, even though part of that island's aboriginal population was not yet under the influence of Chinese culture. The Qing also pointed to similar cases all over the world where an aboriginal population within a national boundary was not completely subjugated by the dominant culture of that country.
The Japanese nevertheless launched an expedition to Mutan village with a force of 2000 soldiers in 1874. The number of casualties for the Paiwan was about 30, and that for the Japanese was 543; 12 Japanese soldiers were killed in battle and 531 by disease. Eventually, the Japanese withdrew just before the Qing Dynasty sent 3 divisions of forces (9000 soldiers) to reinforce Taiwan. This incident caused the Qing to re-think the importance of Taiwan in their maritime defense strategy and greater importance was placed on gaining control over the wilderness regions.
On the eve of the Sino-Japanese War about 45 percent of the island was administered under direct Qing administration while the remaining was lightly populated by Aborigines. In a population of around 2.5 million, about 2.3 million were Han Chinese and the remaining two hundred thousand were classified as members of various indigenous tribes.
As part of the settlement for losing the Sino-Japanese War, The Qing empire ceded the island of Taiwan and Penghu to Japan on 17 April 1895, according to the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. The loss of Taiwan would become a rallying point for the Chinese nationalist movement in the years that followed.

Japanese rule

Japan had sought to claim sovereignty over Taiwan (known to them as Takasago Koku) since 1592, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi undertook a policy of overseas expansion and extending Japanese influence southward, to the west, was invaded and an attempt to invade Taiwan and subsequent invasion attempts were to be unsuccessful due mainly to disease and attacks by aborigines on the island. In 1609, the Tokugawa Shogunate sent Harunobu Arima on an exploratory mission of the island. In 1616, Murayama Toan led an unsuccessful invasion of the island. The Mudan Incident of 1871 occurred when an Okinawan vessel shipwrecked on the southern tip of Taiwan and the crew of 54 were beheaded by Paiwan Aborigines. When Japan sought compensation from Qing China, the court rejected compensation on the account that they didn't have jurisdiction over the island. This was to lead to Japan testing the situation for colonizing the island and in 1874 an expedition force of 3,000 (or 2,000) troops were sent to the island, but were not able to take it. It was not until the defeat of the Chinese navy during the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894-95 for Japan to finally realize possession of Taiwan and the shifting of Asian dominance from China to Japan. The Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed on 17 April 1895, ceding Taiwan and Penghu over to Japan, which would rule the island for 50 years until its defeat in World War II.
After receiving sovereignty of Taiwan, the Japanese feared military resistance from both Taiwanese and Aborigines who followed the establishment by the local elite of the short-lived Republic of Formosa. Taiwan's elite hoped that by declaring themselves a republic the world would not stand by and allow a sovereign state to be invaded by the Japanese, thereby allying with the Qing. The plan quickly turned to chaos as standard Green troops and ethnic Yue soldiers took to looting and pillage. Given the choice between chaos at the hands of Chinese or submission to the Japanese, the Taipei elite sent Koo Hsien-jung to Keelung to invite the advancing Japanese forces to proceed to Taipei and restore order.
Armed resistance was sporadic, yet at times fierce, but was largely crushed by 1902, although relatively minor rebellions occurred in subsequent years, including the Ta-pa-ni incident of 1915 in Tainan county. Nonviolent means of resistance began to take place of armed rebellions and the most prominent organization was the Taiwanese Cultural Association, founded in 1921. Taiwanese resistance was caused by several different factors (e.g., the Taishō Democracy). Some were goaded by Chinese nationalism, while others contained nascent Taiwanese self-determination. Rebellions were often caused by a combination of the effects of unequal colonial policies on local elites and extant millenarian beliefs of the local Taiwanese and plains Aborigines. Aboriginal resistance to the heavy-handed Japanese policies of acculturation and pacification lasted up until the early 1930s. The last major Aboriginal rebellion, the Musha Uprising (Wushe Uprising) in late 1930 by the Atayal people angry over their treatment while laboring in the burdensome job of camphor extraction, launched the last headhunting party in which over 150 Japanese officials were killed and beheaded during the opening ceremonies of a school. The uprising, led by Mona Rudao, was crushed by 2,000-3,000 Japanese troops and Aboriginal auxiliaries with the help of poison gas.
Japanese colonization of the island fell under three stages. It began with an oppressive period of crackdown and paternalistic rule, then a dōka period of aims to treat all people (races) alike proclaimed by Taiwanese Nationalists who were inspired by the Self-Determination of Nations proposed by Woodrow Wilson after World War I, and finally, during World War II, a period of kōminka, a policy which aimed to turn Taiwanese into loyal subjects of the Japanese emperor.
Reaction to Japanese rule among the Taiwanese populace differed. Some felt that the safety of personal life and property was of utmost importance and went along with the Japanese colonial authorities. The second group of Taiwanese were eager to become imperial subjects, believing that such action would lead to equal status with Japanese nationals. The third group was influenced Taiwan independence and tried to get rid of the Japanese colonials to establish a native Taiwanese rule. The fourth group on the other hand were influenced by Chinese nationalism and fought for the return of Taiwan to Chinese rule. From 1897 onwards the latter group staged many rebellions, the most famous one being led by Luo Fuxing (羅福星), who was arrested and executed along with two hundred of his comrades in 1913. Luo himself was a member of the Tongmenghui, an organization founded by Sun Yat-sen and was the precursor to the Kuomintang.

Initial infrastructural development took place quickly. The Bank of Taiwan was established in 1899 to encourage Japanese private sectors, including Mitsubishi and the Mitsui Group, to invest in Taiwan. In 1900, the third Taiwan Governor-General passed a budget which initiated the building of Taiwan's railroad system from Kirun (Keelung) to Takao (Kaohsiung). By 1905 the island had electric power supplied by water power in Sun-Moon Lake, and in subsequent years Taiwan was considered the second-most developed region of East Asia (after Japan). By 1905, Taiwan was financially self-sufficient and had been weaned off of subsidies from Japan's central government.
Under the governor Shimpei Goto's rule, many major public works projects were completed. The Taiwan rail system connecting the south and the north and the modernizations of Kirun (Keelung) and Takao (Kaohsiung) ports were completed to facilitate transport and shipping of raw material and agricultural products. Exports increased by fourfold. 55% of agricultural land was covered by dam-supported irrigation systems. Food production had increased fourfold and sugar cane production had increased 15-fold between 1895 to 1925 and Taiwan became a major foodbasket serving Japan's industrial economy. The health care system was widely established and infectious diseases were almost completely eradicated. The average lifespan for a Taiwanese resident would become 60 years by 1945.

In October 1935, the Governor-General of Taiwan held an "Exposition to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Beginning of Administration in Taiwan," which served as a showcase for the achievements of Taiwan's modernization process under Japanese rule. This attracted worldwide attention, including the Republic of China's KMT regime which sent the Japanese-educated Chen Yi to attend the affair. He expressed his admiration about the efficiency of Japanese government in developing Taiwan, and commented on how lucky the Taiwanese were to live under such effective administration. Somewhat ironically, Chen Yi would later become the ROC's first Chief Executive of Taiwan, who would be infamous for the corruption that occurred under his watch.
The later period of Japanese rule saw a local elite educated and organized. During the 1930s several home rule groups were created at a time when others around the world sought to end colonialism. In 1935, the Taiwanese elected their first group of local legislators. By March 1945, the Japanese legislative branch hastily modified election laws to allow Taiwanese representation in the Japanese Diet.
As Japan embarked on full-scale war in China in 1937, it expanded Taiwan's industrial capacity to manufacture war material. By 1939, industrial production had exceeded agricultural production in Taiwan. At the same time, the "kominka" imperialization project was put under way to instill the "Japanese Spirit" in Taiwanese residents, and ensure the Taiwanese would remain loyal subjects of the Japanese Emperor ready to make sacrifices during wartime. Measures including Japanese-language education, the option of adopting Japanese names, and the worship of Japanese religion were instituted. In 1943, 94% of the children received 6-year compulsory education. From 1937 to 1945, 126,750 Taiwanese joined and served in the military of the Japanese Empire, while a further 80,433 were conscripted between 1942 to 1945. Of the sum total, 30,304, or 15%, died in Japan's war in Asia.
The Imperial Japanese Navy operated heavily out of Taiwan. The "South Strike Group" was based out of the Taihoku Imperial University (now National Taiwan University) in Taiwan. Many of the Japanese forces participating in the Aerial Battle of Taiwan-Okinawa were based in Taiwan. Important Japanese military bases and industrial centers throughout Taiwan, like Takao (now Kaohsiung), were targets of heavy American bombing.
In 1942, after the United States entered in war against Japan and on the side of China, the Chinese government under the KMT renounced all treaties signed with Japan before that date and made Taiwan's return to China (as with Manchuria) one of the wartime objectives. In the Cairo Declaration of 1943, the Allied Powers declared the return of Taiwan to China as one of several Allied demands. In 1945, Japan unconditionally surrendered with signing of the instrument of surrender and ended its rule in Taiwan as the territory was put under the administrative control of the Republic of China government in 1945 by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Per the provisions in Article 2 of San Francisco Peace Treaty, the Japanese formally renounced the territorial sovereignty of Taiwan and Penghu islands, and the treaty was signed in 1951 and came into force in 1952. As of the moment when the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into force, the political status of Taiwan and Penghu Islands were still uncertain. The Republic of China and Japan signed Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty on April 28, 1952 in Taipei and the treaty came into force on August 5. Writing in the American Journal of International Law, professors Jonathan I. Charney and J. R. V. Prescott argued that "none of the post–World War II peace treaties explicitly ceded sovereignty over the covered territories to any specific state or government."

Republic of China rule Taiwan after World War II

Nationalist party period Under martial laws
The Republic of China established Taiwan Provincial Government in September 1945 and proclaimed on October 25, 1945 as "Taiwan Retrocession Day." This is the day in which the Japanese troops surrendered. The validity of the proclamation is subject to some debate, with some supporters of Taiwan independence arguing that it is invalid, and that the date only marks the beginning of military occupation that persists to the present. During the immediate postwar period, the Kuomintang (KMT) administration on Taiwan was repressive and extremely corrupt compared with the previous Japanese rule, leading to local discontent. Anti-mainlander violence flared on February 28, 1947, prompted by an incident in which a cigarette seller was injured and a passerby was indiscriminately shot dead by Nationalist authorities. During the ensuing crackdown by the KMT administration in what became known as the 228 incident, tens of thousands of people were killed, and the incident became a taboo topic of discussion for the entire martial law era.
From the 1930s onward a civil war was underway in mainland China between Chiang Kai-shek's ROC government and the Communist Party of China led by Mao Zedong. When the civil war ended in 1949, 2 million refugees, predominantly from the Nationalist government, military, and business community, fled to Taiwan. On October 1, 1949 the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) was founded in mainland China by the victorious communists; several months before, Chiang Kai-shek had established a provisional ROC capital in Taipei and moved his government there from Nanjing. Under Nationalist rule, the mainlanders dominated the government and civil services.
Chiang Kai-shek died in April 1975, and was succeeded to the presidency by Yen Chia-kan while his son Chiang Ching-kuo succeeded to the leadership of the Kuomintang (opting to take the title "Chairman" rather than the elder Chiang's title of "Director-General"). He set the stage that led to incredible economic successes of the territories starting in the mid 1980s. In 1987, Chiang ended martial law and allowed family visits to mainland China. His administration saw a gradual loosening of political controls and opponents of the Nationalists were no longer forbidden to hold meetings or publish papers. Opposition political parties, though still illegal, were allowed to form. When the Democratic Progressive Party was established in 1986, President Chiang decided against dissolving the group or persecuting its leaders, but its candidates officially ran in elections as independents in the Tangwai movement.
In an effort of bringing more Taiwan-born citizens into government services, Chiang Ching-kuo hand-picked Lee Teng-hui as vice-president of the Republic of China, first-in-the-line of succession to the presidency. However, it is unclear whether he was in favor of having Lee succeeding him as Chairman of the Nationalist Party.

Economic developments

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, post-war economic conditions compounded with the then-ongoing Chinese Civil War caused severe inflation across mainland China and in Taiwan, made worse by disastrous currency reforms and corruption. This gave way to the reconstruction process and new reforms.
The KMT took control of Taiwan's monopolies that had been owned by the Japanese during colonial period. Approximately 91% of Taiwan's GNP was nationalized. Also, Taiwanese investors lost their claim to the Japanese bond certificates they possessed. These real estate holdings as well as American aid such as the China Aid Act and the Chinese-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction helped to ensure that Taiwan would recover quickly from war. The Kuomintang government also moved the entire gold reserve from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan, and used this reserve to back the newly-issued New Taiwan Dollar to stabilize the new currency and put a stop to hyperinflation.
The KMT authorities implemented a far-reaching and highly successful land reform program on Taiwan during the 1950s. The 375 Rent Reduction Act alleviated tax burden on peasants and another act redistributed land among small farmers and compensated large landowners with commodities certificates and stock in state-owned industries. Although this left some large landowners impoverished, others turned their compensation into capital and started commercial and industrial enterprises. These entrepreneurs were to become Taiwan's first industrial capitalists. Together with businessmen who fled from mainland China, they once again revived Taiwan's prosperity previously ceased along with Japanese withdrawal and managed Taiwan's transition from an agricultural to a commercial, industrial economy.
From 1950 to 1965, Taiwan received a total of $1.5 billion in economic aid and $2.4 billion in military aid from the United States. In 1965 all American aid ceased when Taiwan had established a solid financial base. Having accomplished that, the government then adopted policies for building a strong export-driven economy, with state projects such as the Ten Major Construction Projects that provided the infrastructure required for such ventures. Taiwan has developed steadily into a major international trading power with more than $218 billion in two-way trade and one of the highest foreign exchange reserves in the world. Tremendous prosperity on the island was accompanied by economic and social stability. Taiwan's phenomenal economic development earned it a spot as one of the Four Asian Tigers.

Democratic reforms

Until the early 1970s, the Republic of China was recognized as the sole legitimate government of China by the United Nations and most Western nations, refusing to recognize the People's Republic of China on account of the Cold War. The KMT ruled Taiwan under martial law until the late 1980s, with the stated goal of being vigilant against Communist infiltration and preparing to retake mainland China. Therefore, political dissent was not tolerated.
The late 1970s and early 1980s were a turbulent time for Taiwanese as many of the people who had originally been oppressed and left behind by economic changes became members of the Taiwan's new middle class. Free enterprise had allowed native Taiwanese to gain a powerful bargaining chip in their demands for respect for their basic human rights. The Kaohsiung Incident would be a major turning point for democracy in Taiwan.
Taiwan also faced setbacks in the international sphere. In 1971, the ROC government walked out of the United Nations shortly before it recognized the PRC government in Beijing as the legitimate holder of China's seat in the United Nations. The ROC had been offered dual representation, but Chiang Kai-shek demanded to retain a seat on the UN Security Council, which was not acceptable to the PRC. Chiang expressed his decision in his famous "the sky is not big enough for two suns" speech. In October 1971, Resolution 2758 was passed by the UN General Assembly and "the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek" (and thus the ROC) were expelled from the UN and replaced as "China" by the PRC. In 1979, the United States switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
Chiang Kai-shek was succeeded by his son Chiang Ching-kuo. When the younger Chiang came to power he began to liberalize the system. In 1986, the Democratic Progressive Party was formed. This organization was formed illegally, and inaugurated as the first party in opposition to Taiwan. This was formed to counter the KMT. Martial law was lifted one year later by Chiang Ching-kuo. Chiang selected Lee Teng-hui, a Taiwanese born technocrat to be his Vice President. The move followed other reforms giving more power to Taiwanese born citizens and calmed anti-KMT sentiments during a period in which many other Asian autocracies were being shaken by People Power movements.
Chiang Ching-kuo died in 1988. Chiang's successor, President Lee Teng-hui, continued to hand more government authority over to Taiwanese born citizens. He also began to democratize the government. Taiwan underwent a process of localization, under Lee. In this localization process, local culture and history was promoted over a pan-China viewpoint. Lee's reforms included printing banknotes from the Central Bank instead of the usual Provincial Bank of Taiwan. He also largely suspended the operation of the Taiwan Provincial Government. In 1991 the Legislative Yuan and National Assembly elected in 1947 were forced to resign. These groups was originally created to represent mainland China constituencies. Also lifted were the restrictions on the use of Taiwanese languages in the broadcast media and in schools.
However, Lee failed to crack down on the massive corruption that developed under authoritarian KMT party rule. Many KMT loyalists feel Lee betrayed the ROC by taking reforms too far, while other Taiwanese feel he did not take reforms far enough.

Democratic period

Lee ran as the incumbent in Taiwan's first direct presidential election in 1996 against DPP candidate and former dissident, Peng Min-ming. This election prompted the PRC to conduct a series of missile tests in the Taiwan Strait to intimidate the Taiwanese electorate so that electorates would vote for other pro-unification candidates, Chen Li-an and Lin Yang-kang. The aggressive tactic prompted U.S. President Clinton to invoke the Taiwan Relations Act and dispatch two aircraft carrier battle groups into the region off Taiwan's southern coast to monitor the situation, and PRC's missile tests were forced to end earlier than planned. This incident is known as the 1996 Taiwan Straits Crisis.
One of Lee's final acts as president was to declare on German radio that the ROC and the PRC have a special state to state relationship. Lee's statement was met with the PRC's People's Army conducting military drills in Fujian and a frightening island-wide blackout in Taiwan, causing many to fear an attack.

Peaceful change of political party in power

The 2000 presidential election marked the end of KMT rule. Opposition DPP candidate Chen Shui-bian won a three way race that saw the Pan-Blue vote split between independent James Soong and KMT candidate Lien Chan. President Chen garnered 39% of the vote.
In 2004, President Chen was re-elected to a second four year term after an assassination attempt which occurred the day before the election. Two shots were fired, one bullet grazing the President's belly after penetrating the windshield of a jeep and multilayers of clothing, the other bullet penetrated the windshield and hitting the vice president's knee cast(She was wearing a knee cast due to an earlier injury). Police investigators have said that the most likely suspect is believed to have been Chen Yi-hsiung, who was later found dead.
In 2007, President Chen proposed a policy of Four Wants and One Without, which in substance states that Taiwan wants independence; Taiwan wants the rectification of its name; Taiwan wants a new constitution; Taiwan wants development; and Taiwanese politics is without the question of left or right, but only the question of unification or independence. The reception of this proposed policy in Taiwanese general public was unclear. It, however, was met with a cold reception by both the PRC and the United States. The PRC Foreign Minister emphasised that the Anti-Secession Law was not a piece of unenforceable legislation, while the US Department of State spokesman Sean McCormack described Chen's policy as "unhelpful".
The KMT retook the office of president when Ma Ying-jeou was elected in March 2008. The party also retained control of the legislature.
A spate of arrests of members of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has drawn allegations that the Beijing-friendly Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which once ruled Taiwan under martial law, is back in the business of political repression.
The most controversial are the arrests on allegations of corruption of Chen Shui-bian, Taiwan's former president; Chiou I-jen, a former National Security Council secretary-general; and Yeh Sheng-mao, former director-general of the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau.
"I am extremely concerned about the political situation in Taiwan, and I am personally very angry at the way the current government is handling national affairs and the way our beloved Taiwan is heading: back to the authoritarian past," said Joseph Wu, former de facto ambassador of Republic of China to the United States under the Chen administration.

Potential futures

Though current politics are at an uneasy standstill, claims of legitimacy have been made by three different sides. The People's Republic of China stakes claim of the Taiwan Province and denounces the Taiwan independence movement, the Republic of China declares control and a return to mainland China while denouncing the independence movement, and the independence movement either denounces both governments' claims of control and proposes an independent Republic of Taiwan or proclaims that the Republic of China has become synonymous with Taiwan and that Taiwan as the Republic of China is a separate nation-state from China.

What China Said in Its White Paper 1993

     Taiwan was known as Yizhou (barbarian’s island) or Liuqiu (Okinawa) in antiquities. Many historical records and annals documented the development of Taiwan by the Chinese people in earlier periods. References to this effect were to be found in ancient Chinese book written more than 1,700 years ago and several others written in later times. Since early seventeenth century the Chinese people began to step up the development of Taiwan. The numbers topped one hundred thousand at the end of the century. By 1893 their population exceeded 2.54 million. That was a 25-fold increase in 200 years. 
     They brought in a more advanced mode of production and settled the whole length and breadth of Taiwan. Thanks to the determined efforts and hard toil of the pioneers, the development of the island as a whole greatly accelerated. This was the historical fact of how Taiwan, like other parts of China, came to be opened up and settled by the Chinese people of various nationalities. >From the very beginning the Taiwan society derived from the source of Chinese cultural tradition. This basic fact had not changed even during the half century of Japanese occupation. The history of Taiwan’s development is imbued with the blood, sweat, and ingenuity of the Chinese people.

What Is The Truth

     1. Taiwanese are of Taiwan origin, not Chinese.
More than 10,000 years ago, the ancestors of modern Taiwanese were found in Taiwan which at that time was all mountain, so the Taiwanese ancestors are called mountain people. In the glacial epoch, some of the ancestors were driven south by the cold weather via seabed (it was dry at that time) to the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

     About 7,000~8,000 years ago, the weather was warm again, the sea was full of water, with ocean currents flowing from South-East Asia to Japan via Taiwan. Some of the ancestors were drifted back to Taiwan, their homeland. Of course, many of them might carry the blood from South-East Asia due to hybrid. These ancestors were called Plain People because the majority of them lived in the plain areas after arriving in Taiwan.

     In 1624, the Dutch invaded Taiwan, according to Dutch records, there were about 100,000 Taiwanese surrendered. In 1661, Koxinga took place of the Dutch, about 130,000~200,000 Taiwanese surrendered. Among them, there were 12,727 household units, about 40,000~60,000 Taiwanese were forced to be converted into the Han (the Chinese). These aboriginal were the first ones who were forced to give up their Taiwanese nationalities. In 1683, Ching, the Manchus, replaced Koxinga. In 1730, a report made by a general of Ching that surrendered Taiwanese were at least 600,000.

     In 1756, the annual report came out with 660,147 men and women surrendered, they were aboriginal. In 1782 the population that surrendered was up to 912,900 and then 2.54 million in 1893. This 2.54 million was mentioned in the 1993 Chinese White Paper which treated them as Chinese. This was totally wrong, they were of Taiwanese origin. They grew as time went by. Their population was 6 million in 1943, and 21.5 million in 2000, among them, some are the offspring of Dutch or Chinese hybrid.

     The pure Chinese came in 1949~1954 period, when Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan with 0.94 million Chinese refugees, among them, only 0.21 million were female. Therefore, even if all female Chinese refugees married with male refugees, they could only create 0.42 million pure Chinese couples producing pure Chinese offspring, the rest 0.52 million had to look for Taiwanese to marry, thus Taiwanese blood occupied more than half the so-called Chinese. The population of Taiwan in 2000 is about 23 million, the pure Chinese are not more than 5%, about 95% of Taiwan’s population today carries aboriginal blood. Some have 100% aboriginal blood, some have 10%, mostly have more than 50%.

     2. The land of Taiwan was developed by Taiwanese not by Chinese.According to Ching regulation, Chinese were not allowed to come to Taiwan freely. When they came to Taiwan, they were not permitted to trespass the reserved areas, because, Ching reserved almost all of Taiwan for the aboriginal. According to the government statistics, the total free area was only 71,150 hectares, which was less than 2 % of the area of Taiwan.

     Further, the Chinese were not able to resist the diseases in Taiwan, 9 out of 10 died, according to government records. Under such condition, Chinese dared not stay in the rural area. If they did not stay in the country side, who would cultivate the land? Only Taiwanese!

     3. What were the Chinese in Taiwan during the Ching Era?
The majority Chinese in Taiwan were rascals, being single through out their lives, according to the government files. Most of them hide themselves in the urban area, lived on committing crimes. When they passed away, nobody dared to bury them.

     The Chinese who came to Taiwan to “cultivate” actually were to deprive not to cultivate. They got the pieces of land by application. Through personal relations with the government officials or by bribe, they got the permit to cultivate the land in the appointed areas, usually hundreds or thousands hectares, a hectare is about 2.4 acres. It took at least 5 man/year to clear a hectare, and took one man to do the farming year around. If the Chinese got a thousand-hectare permit, they had to invite at least 1,000 tenants to rent, cultivate and do the farming. The profit for these Chinese guys after paying taxes was US$300~400 per hectare per year. As said before, the Chinese were not disease resisting, so most of the tenants were Taiwanese. Therefore, the true picture was, Taiwanese cultivated and Chinese got the profit which could be amounted to US$300,000~400,000 per year per person if the Chinese got the thousand-hectare permit.

     4. The reason why Taiwanese are documented as Chinese.
Since 1624, Taiwan has being ruled by foreign regimes, such as, the Dutch, Koxinga, Ching, Japan, the Republic of China. All of the regimes were trying to convert Taiwanese into their nationals. Ching was successful, so the influence passed down to this day. When Ching occupied Taiwan in 1683, it adopted a policy called “To Convert The Wild Barbarians into The Civilized Barbarians” and then “To Convert The Civilized Barbarians into The Han (the Chinese).” The contents of the policy included discriminative practices such as higher taxes, longer free community services, unfair judicial judgements, for those resisting the conversion. No Taiwanese could live without being converted into Chinese. In 1683, the Ching still documented most Taiwanese as Wild Barbarians; in 1756, the status of the Taiwanese was changed to Civilized Barbarians; in 1777, all became Chinese. These historical records also evidenced the process of the compulsory conversion of Taiwanese into Chinese.

     Since 1777, Taiwanese were documented as Chinese throughout the period of the Ching occupation. In 1895 when Japanese came, they tried to convert Taiwanese into Japanese but failed. In 1945, the Republic of China took advantage of the achievements of Ching policy, documented Taiwanese as Chinese with no resist. So even today, the poor Taiwanese would rather call themselves Chinese instead of aboriginal, since the term "aboriginal" implies wild or civilized barbarians. 
Taiwan was inhabited by aborigines of Malayan descent when Chinese from the areas now designated as Fukien and Kwangtung began settling it in the 7th century, becoming the majority. The Portuguese explored the area in 1590, naming it “the Beautiful” (Formosa). In 1624 the Dutch set up forts in the south, the Spanish in the north. The Dutch forced out the Spanish in 1641 and controlled the island until 1661, when Chinese general Koxinga took it over and established an independent kingdom. The Manchus seized the island in 1683 and held it until 1895, when it passed to Japan after the first Sino-Japanese War. Japan developed and exploited Formosa. It was the target of heavy American bombing during World War II, and at the close of the war the island was restored to China.
After the defeat of its armies on the mainland, the Nationalist government of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek retreated to Taiwan in Dec. 1949. Chiang dominated the island, even though only 15% of the population consisted of the 1949 immigrants, the Kuomintang. He maintained a 600,000-man army in the hope of eventually recovering the mainland. Beijing viewed the Taiwanese government with suspicion and anger, referring to Taiwan as a breakaway province of China.
The UN seat representing all of China was held by the Nationalists for over two decades before being lost in Oct. 1971, when the People's Republic of China was admitted and Taiwan was forced to abdicate its seat to Beijing.
Chiang died at 87 of a heart attack on April 5, 1975. His son, Chiang Ching-kuo, continued as prime minister and was a dominant figure in the Taipei regime. In April 1991, President Lee Teng-hui formally declared an end to emergency rule, which had existed since Chiang's forces originally occupied the island. In the first full election in many decades, the governing Kuomintang in Dec. 1991 won 71% of the vote, affirming the island's opposition to reunification with China. In Feb. 1993 the president, himself a native Taiwanese, nominated Lien Chan, another native, to be prime minister, marking a further generational shift away from the mainland exiles.
In the island's first free presidential election, voters defied mainland intimidation and gave 54% of the vote to incumbent president Lee Teng-hui.
In 1998, Taiwan renewed its push for a separate UN seat—its sixth attempt in recent years. The move has been blocked each time by the Beijing government.
President Lee Teng-hui rankled mainland China by announcing in July 1999 that he was abandoning the long-standing “One China” policy that had kept the peace between the small island and its powerful neighbor and that he would from then on deal with China on a “state-to-state basis.” China, which had vowed to someday unite Taiwan with the mainland, retaliated by conducting submarine warfare exercises and missile tests near the island in an effort to intimidate its tiny brazen neighbor, as it had once before in 1996.

New President Brings New Beginning
In the March 2000 presidential race, voters elected pro-independence candidate Chen Shui-bian of the Democratic Progressive Party, ending more than 50 years of Nationalist rule.
Taiwan joined the World Trade Organization in Jan. 2002, just one day after China gained entry. In August President Chen outraged China when he asserted that Taiwan and China are separate countries and that a referendum on independence for Taiwan is a “basic human right.”
The day before the March 20, 2004, elections, President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu survived an assassination attempt. Chen won the election over Lien Chan by just 30,000 votes out of 13 million cast. The country's first-ever referendum failed because less than 50% of eligible voters weighed in on its questions. The referendum asked if Taiwan should arm itself with additional defensive weapons if China does not withdraw its missiles and if Taiwan should continue to negotiate with China. 

Tension between China and Taiwan intensified in March 2005, when China passed an antisecession law that said the country could use force if Taiwan moved toward achieving independence. “The state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the legislation stated. Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian called the bill a “law of aggression.” Hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese took to the streets to protest the bill.
In 2005, China met with several Taiwanese opposition leaders in an effort to undermine Taiwan's defiant president. Lien Chan, who heads the opposition Nationalist Party, traveled to China in April and met with President Hu Jintao. It was the first meeting between Nationalist and Communist Party leaders since 1949, when the defeated Nationalists retreated to Taiwan. Lien called the visit a “journey of peace.” In May, Hu met with another opposition leader, James Soong, chairman of the People First Party. In a joint communiqué intended to restart negotiations between Taiwan and China, they agreed to a principle of “two sides of the strait, one China.”
President Chen tested China in February 2006, when he announced that he was rescinding the National Unification Council, a group that was established in 1990 to deal with reunification issues with China. He stopped short of abolishing the council, saying, “Taiwan has no intention of changing the status quo.”
In June 2006, Taiwan's legislature initiated proceedings to oust President Chen because of allegations of corruption involving his family and senior administration officials, but the motion failed later that month. In November, prosecutors indicted Wu Shu-chen, the wife of President Chen Shui-ban, charging that she spent $450,000 in public funds on personal expenditures. Authorities also said that President Chen submitted fake receipts when drawing from the same fund and lied about how he spent the money.
Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang resigned in May 2007. President Chen Shui-bian appointed Chang Chun-hsiung as his successor.
In parliamentary elections in January 2008, the opposition Kuomintang soundly defeated Chen's Democratic Progressive Party, taking 81 out of 113 seats. President Chen resigned as head of the party. The result of vote was considered a rejection of Chen's policy of edging toward independence from China. Taiwan continued its move toward warmer relations with China in March, when Ma Ying-jeou, of Kuomintang, prevailed over Frank Hsieh, of the Democratic Progressive Party, 58.4% to 41.6%, in presidential elections. Ma's victory ended eight years of Democratic Progressive Party rule. Ma said he planned to pursue closer ties with China and spur Taiwan's economic growth. Ma, however, does not favor political reunification with China.
Ma reinforced his desire to pursue closer ties to mainland China in June when he outlined his economic plan. He called for access to China’s financial markets for Taiwanese businesses, regular passenger flights and cargo passage across the Taiwan Strait, among other proposals. He insisted, however, that China remove the short- and medium-range missiles facing Taiwan before he will engage in peace talks with China. Ma realized several of his goals in November, Chen Yunlin, the head of the Chinese organization that negotiates with Taiwan, visited the island, becoming the most senior mainland official to do so since 1949. He met President Ma and signed several pacts that will lead to a signficant increase in transportion and shipments of food between the two sides. 

Political Leaders Stumble, Fall
Former president Chen, who lost a reelection bid in March 2008, was arrested in November and charged with corruption and embezzling money from a state affairs fund. Chen, who has long asserted that Taiwan and China are separate countries, denied the allegations, claiming he was being persecuted to appease China. He was convicted of the charges and in Sept. 2009 was sentenced to life in prison.
In Aug. 2009, Typhoon Morakot caused a mudslide in a rural mountain village in southern Taiwan that buried schools, homes, and killed at least 600 people. Prime Minister Liu Chao-shiuan resigned in September amid withering criticism of the government's slow response to the typhoon and its failure to evacuate residents before the storm hit.
Taiwan and China signed a landmark free-trade agreement in June 2010 that lifts or reduces hundreds of tariffs for both sides. Officials from both Taiwan and China described the deal as the most important achievement since the 1949 civil war. Taiwan seems poised to benefit more economically from the deal than China, and China sees a political benefit as the agreement brings the two closer together.
On June 30, 2011, ex-president Lee Teng-hui was indicted on charges of embezzlement. Upon delivery of the 23-page indictment, the 88-year-old Mr. Lee, accused of siphoning $7.79 million from a National Security Bureau fund during his presidency, became the second Tawainese president to be charged with fraud.