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The early days of Taiwanese politics

Pre 1949
The early days of Taiwanese politics
  • From 1624-1684, Taiwan was under Dutch rule.
  • From 1684-1895, Taiwan was under China's Qing dynasty.
  • In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to the Japanese and remained under Japanese rule until the end of World War 2 in 1945.
  • From 1945-1949, China and Taiwan were ruled as the Republic of China by the Kuomintang (KMT) government of Chiang-Kai Shek.

The Communist Party rises to power

1949
The Communist Party rises to power
  • In 1949, after weeks of fighting against Mao Zedong, the Kuomintang government fled to Taipei, and established a 'temporary capital' there.
  • World powers refused to acknowledge Mao's control over China (PRC) and the Koumintang government's Republic of China (ROC) was considered the official Chinese government.
  • Following a series of nuclear tests by the PRC, the UN officially recognized it as China's government in 1971.

Taiwan's identity crisis

Fact
Information

Officially, its status as a nation is disputed. However, Taiwan calls itself a sovereign nation and has its own constitution, democratically-elected leaders, and about 300,000 active troops in its armed forces.

One country, two systems

Progress
One country, two systems
  • Relations began to improve in the 1980s and the PRC presented the 'One Country, Two Systems' policy.
  • Under this, Taiwan would be given significant autonomy if it accepted Chinese reunification.
  • Taiwan rejected this offer outright, but relaxed trade and travel restrictions with the mainland.
  • In 1991, Taiwan declared the end of the 'war' with the PRC, that began in 1949.

Transition to democracy

Fact
Personal

Chiang Ching-kuo, Chiang Kai-shek's son and successor as the President, began to liberalize the political system in the mid-1980s. In 1986, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was formed and inaugurated as the first opposition party in the ROC to counter the KMT.

The independence movement and anti-secession laws

Tensions
The independence movement and anti-secession laws
  • In 2000, the DPP's Chen Shui-bian, a pro-independence politician, was voted to power and was re-elected in 2004.
  • This prompted Beijing to issue the anti-secession law, which empowered the PRC to use "non peaceful means" if Taiwan tried to secede.
  • In 2008, Ma Ying-jeou of the Koumintang came to power and resumed reconciliation efforts with the mainland in his 2 successive terms as President.

Protests and a new pro-independence President

Sunflower Movement
Protests and a new pro-independence President
  • Following Ma Ying-jeou's reconciliation policies, many Taiwanese began to grow weary of China's growing influence.
  • In 2014, students began the 'Sunflower Movement' protests against the Cross-Straits Service Trade Agreement and dissent against the Koumintang government picked up pace.
  • In January 2016, Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party became Taiwan's first female President.
  • The outcome raised significant concerns in Beijing.

Don't read too much into military drills: China

22 Jan 2016
Don't read too much into military drills: China
  • A spokesperson from the Chinese Defence Ministry stated that people should not misinterpret China's recent broadcast of live-fire military drills and beach landings on national-television.
  • The broadcasts took place just days after elections in Taiwan brought to power, the independence-leaning opposition party.
  • Taiwanese officials expressed serious concern over China's broadcast; however, China assured the world that there was no ulterior motive behind the broadcasts.

China vows to disallow Taiwanese independence bids

6 Mar 2016
China vows to disallow Taiwanese independence bids
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to disallow any attempts of Taiwan being "split" from China, offering a strong warning to the island against any moves towards independence.
  • Xi made the statements while addressing delegates at the annual meeting of China's national legislature.
  • The statements come after a landslide win by Tsai Ing-wen and her pro independence party in Taiwan's presidential and parliamentary elections.