Democratization in Greater China-Taiwan's Best Case Democratization

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Lynette Ong

Ernie Tam 2011-10-28 Democratization in Greater China-Taiwan’s Best Case Democratization • Among the third wave democratizations, Taiwan’s transition has been the smoothest • 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 have-nots • 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 Nationalism o Economic justice o Democracy • The KMT government took control of Taiwan when the Japanese colonial government withdrew in 1945 based its legitimacy on its democratic aspirations. o Wanted to indoctrinate the Taiwanese people in Sun Yat Sen’s thoughtPolitical tutelage (in reference to KMT’s rule) o KMT promoted the idea abroad and made its identity “Free China”. • 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- 1980s 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 2011-10-28 Former was always more important and therefore, it dominated the political culture. • Eventually it led to a split in the KMT’s party into reformist and hardliner sides. • 1986Led to the election of DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) Second Factor of Democratization • Existence of long standing democratic institutions and practices • ROC constituti
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