Chinese Politics March 25
Political History of Taiwan
Number of indigenous
First wave of Chinese immigrants in 17 century, after the Dutch are defeated
Most of these immigrants came from the province of Fujin and speak Taiwanese.
Today 1.5% of population is indigenous
Portuguese sailors call it Formosa in 17 century
Formally becomes part of China in 1885
Following China’s defeat in first SinoJapanese war they cede Taiwan to japan.
Consequently, Taiwan was colonized by Japan for 50 years from 18951945
When Japan surrendered after WW2, KMT take control.
Chnag Kai Shek retreats to Taiwan and established Republic of China after defeat
to communists in 1949
o Majority of these people speak mandarin chinese.
Political history quite complex Portuguese, indigenous, Japanese colonization
Not just an island full of Chinese people
History of Taiwan gives rise to complex national identity
Taiwan’s National Identity
2 main groups beside indigenous people
o Native Taiwanese who are ethnically Chinese but their ancestors came in
the early period and they seak Taiwanese. Refered to as Beshengren (from
within the province)
o The mainlanders who came in 1940s who speak Mandarin Chinese.
Refered to as Waishengren (outside of Taiwan)
According to views on cross trade relations three groups
o One group supports unification with China
o Those who support independence
o Those who are in favour of the ambiguous status quo.
Status quo Taiwan is not a sovereign state. Not recognized by UN. Has
diplomatic ties with very few countries… fewer and fewer because of China’s
growing influence. China is able to use diplomatic aid and alliances to form
Even informal conferences such as APEC, Taiwan is referred to as Chinese Taipei.
Very limited international recognition.
Historical destiny camp
o Mainlanders who arrived in Taiwan who believe in historic destiny and
Taiwan should unite with China. Mostly older
Then you have the pragmatists who have no clear ideological conviction. Belive
ein progress and change and motivstaetd by utilitarianism. Support independence
or status quo.
Majority of generation 40 and below are pragmatists. Historical camp shares belief that ethnic identity is comparable to political
identity. To be ethnic chinese is to be a chinese citizen
Pragmatists see ethnic identity and political identity as interrelated but not
necessarily identical. Ones ethnic background need not define ones nationality.
Can be ethnic chinese but citizen of Canada, US, or somewhere else. Nationality
not the same as ethnicity.
Historical destiny camp sees China’s traditional borders as all those territories
claimed by the Qing dynasty at the end of the 18 century. Hong Kong, Taiwan,
Mongolia. Ambition of every regime to unite the nation.
o Majority of Chinese nationals believe in historical destiny.
o See Taiwan’s independence as a plot conceived by foreigners to weaken or
On the other hand, proindependnace or staus quo supporters have argued that
Taiwan’s identity is distinct from China because of 50 years of Japanese
colonization and influence.
Historical camp believes that this argument is not valid because they never
approved of Japanese occupation of Taiwan, it was ceded under duress.
Taiwanese Attitudes towards CrossStrait Relation
three main parties
o KMT pro unification… currently in power
o Democratic progressive party (DPP) pro independence
o People First Party led by a former KMT member, also prounification
At the elite level, the KMT, when it was led by CKS and his son, was in favour of
unification. 1 generation of leaders was CKS. China born.
Next generation under Lee TengHui, embarked on a diplomacy front to achieve
recognition of independent identity for Taiwan. Taiwan born
Early 90s, Taiwan launched a bid to obtain a seat at General Assembly at UN
o UN maintains that it only recognizes the PRC as the only sovereign state
representing entire China including Taiwan.
In 2000, Chen Shui bian from DPP was elected president. For the first time, KMT
lost the election.
o CSB born in Taiwan.
o During his presidency, cross starit relations were tense. Sought immediate
independence for Taiwan.
o Establishes 3 links with China, coastal, transportation, and trade.
Before this, all relations went through HK or other third country.
Under current president Ma Yingjeou (hong kong b