Democratization in Greater China-Taiwan’s Best Case
• Among the third wave democratizations, Taiwan’s transition has been
• The violence suffered by most states making the transition towards
democracy was not suffered by Taiwan at all.
• Conditions for successful democratization includes
o Socioeconomic development with a strong middle class and a
better chance to democratize than an impoverished nation.
An impoverished nation only has two classes: haves and
• Under the single party authoritarianism of KMT or (Kuomingtang) the
ideological justification for the Republic of China is to be democratic
(Republic of China=Taiwan)
• The KMT is based on the three notions of Sun Yat Sen’s notion of Three
Principles of the People:
o Economic justice
• The KMT government took control of Taiwan when the Japanese
colonial government withdrew in 1945 based its legitimacy on its
o Wanted to indoctrinate the Taiwanese people in Sun Yat Sen’s
thoughtPolitical tutelage (in reference to KMT’s rule)
o KMT promoted the idea abroad and made its identity “Free
• After PRC (People’s Republic of China) solidified its control over
mainland China, KMT’s legitimacy rested on its claim to democracy.
• KMT allowed the principle of nationalism over democracy, claiming that
restoring ROC rule over mainland china was such an important goal
that it justified delaying the implementation of democracy.
o As PRC gained military strength and international recognition,
the KMT’s rationale to limit popular participation weakened.
• Social Mobilization drive by rapid economic development from 1950s-
o The Growing middle class allowed for Taiwanese citizens to
demand for more rights.
o In the early years of ROC control on Taiwan, most of the high
status positions available were in state agencies and public
universities but economic development created opportunities for
professionals such as law, medicine and business administration.
• The KMT ran into trouble in the 1960s an 1970s b/c the opposition
parties often made them choose between maintain legitimacy in the
eyes of the international community and authoritarian impulses. The Ernie Tam
Former was always more important and therefore, it dominated the
• Eventually it led to a split in the KMT’s party into reformist and
• 1986Led to the election of DPP (Democratic Progressive Party)
Second Factor of Democratization
• Existence of long standing democratic institutions and practices
• ROC constituti