Taiwan after World War II


Taiwan after World War II

The Republic of China on Taiwan era (zh-t|t=中華民國在臺灣), also known as the postwar era (zh-t|t=臺灣戰後時期), refers to the period in Taiwan's history, between the end of World War II in 1945 and the present, in which Taiwan and the surrounding islands have been administered under the Republic of China.

Overview

Early post-war society

The Second World War came to a close in the spring of 1945, with the defeat of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. Taiwan was placed under the control of the Kuomintang Party (KMT) led Republic of China (ROC) with the issue of General Order No. 1 and the signing of the Instrument of Surrender by Japan. He Yingqin, the ROC representative at the Japanese surrender ceremonies established an "Office of the Chief Executive of Taiwan Province" (台灣省行政長官公署) separate from the provincial-level executive system on the Mainland. After the establishment of the provincial executive office, Chen Yi was appointed Chief Executive.

Chen Yi's administration was marred by corruption, as well as a lack of discipline in the military police assigned to occupation duties, resulting in a severe undermining of the chain of command. With the rampant corruption in his administration, Chen Yi began to monopolize power. In addition to this, the island's post-war economy was failing and headed into a recession, causing people on the island to endure economic hardship. The government's program of "De-Japanization" also created cultural estrangement, along with tensions between the growing population of migrants from the mainland and the pre-war residents of the island. The building tensions erupted in 1947, when the arrest of a cigarette vendor by government agents led to the death of a bystander. The clashes between police and residents that followed quickly spread across the island, and grew into a general rebellion against Chen Yi and the Chief Executive's Office in what came to be known as the 228 Incident. Several weeks later, government troops were sent to Taiwan from the mainland to handle the crisis and to suppress any opposition or resistance to the government . Many prominent individuals in Taiwanese society, as well as other residents of the island, many of whom had nothing to do with the incident, were either killed, imprisoned without trial, or simply disappeared. The 228 incident was a prelude to the white terror of 1950s, resulting in ethnic tensions between pre- and post-war residents, as well as the genesis of the Taiwanese independence movement.

After the 228 incident, the Kuomintang-led ROC government reorganized the local government, abolishing the Chief Executive's Office, while establishing a new provincial government. Wey Daw-ming, whose parents were scholars, became the first governor of Taiwan province and, during his administration, reduced the scope of the public enterprises, which had grown significantly under Chen Yi.

Wey was succeeded as governor by Chen Cheng in 1949. Wey reformed the currency system, replacing the devalued old Taiwan dollar with the New Taiwan dollar, at a 40,000:1 exchange rate, and implemented the 375 Rent Reduction (三七五減租), [cite web | url =http://www.landreform.org.tw/html/02-05.htm | author = Land Reform Museum(土地改革紀念館) | title = Looking for History (尋訪歷史)| language = Traditional Chinese] easing the inflationary situation.

From authoritarianism to democracy

In 1949, the National Revolutionary Army and the Kuomintang suffered a major defeat in the Chinese Civil War, forcing the Government of the Republic of China to relocate to Taiwan. This allowed the Communist Party of China to declare the establishment of a new Chinese state: the People's Republic of China. As the Kuomintang were establishing a "provisional" base in Taiwan, the party began to plan and threaten counterattacks on the mainland; however, without the support of the United States and its armed forces, the Kuomintang was only able to coordinate and carry out small-scale military campaigns across the strait, which lasted until the Second Strait Crisis. From that point on, both sides of the strait have ceased all major hostilities against each other. The government under the Kuomintang, through its enforcement of martial law, kept a powerful hold on the state and its people throughout the Cold War. Because the Republic of China was under authoritarian rule, any perceived opposition to the government was considered illegal and dealt with harshly.

A step towards political party rotation

In the 2000 presidential election, Chen Shui-bian of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was elected president with Annette Lu as vice-president. This was the first political party rotation in the history of the ROC. The splitting of Kuomintang vote was what apparently led to this result. In August 2002, President Chen openly indicated that the relationship between Taiwan and the mainland is "One Country on Each Side". This declaration led to disputations throughout Taiwan, in mainland China and in the United States. In 2004, the day before the 2004 presidential election, there was a supposed assassination attempt on President Chen and Vice-President Lu. They were re-elected the next day, although the Pan-Blue Coalition disputed the legality of the result due to the close margin of the election and the shooting incident. In 2005, an ad hoc National Assembly passed constitutional amendments ruling that elections for the Legislative Yuan change to use of parallel voting, aiding the formation of a two-party system. [cite web | url = http://issue.udn.com/FOCUSNEWS/PARLIARMENT/b8.htm | author = Lin Hsin-huei (林新輝) | title = Constitutional Amendment, Kuomintang version, National Assembly Seats ad hoc (修憲國民黨版 國大定位任務型) | language = Traditional Chinese | date = 2000-04-08 | accessdate = 2007-06-28] As a result of scandals in the DPP administration, on September 9, 2006, former chairperson of the DPP, Shih Ming-teh, led an anti-Chen Shui-bian campaign called the Million Voices Against Corruption, President Chen Must Go but did not achieve the desired result of President Chen's resignation.

Changes in cross-straits relations and international position

At the end of 1943, the Cairo Declaration was issued, including among its clauses that all territories of China, including Formosa (Taiwan), that Japan had occupied would be returned to Republic of China. This declaration was reiterated in the Potsdam Declaration, issued in 1945. Later that year, World War II ended, and Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration, surrendering unconditionally. The Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces commanded that the Japanese forces in Taiwan surrender to the government of the Republic of China. [cite web| title=Congressional Record | date=1945-09-06 | url=http://www.taiwandocuments.org/surrender05.htm ] On October 25, 1945 in Taipei Zhongshan Hall, the Japanese government in Taiwan surrendered to the representative of the Republic of China, Chen Yi, the Republic of China formally receiving Taiwan. In 1951, Japan formally signed the Treaty of San Francisco, but, due to the unclear situation of the Chinese civil war, the peace treaty did not clearly indicate to whom Taiwan's sovereignty belonged. In the second article of the 1952 Treaty of Taipei, following the Treaty of San Francisco, Japan reiterated its abandonment of sovereignty of Taiwan, the Pescadores, the Spratlys and the Paracels. In 1972, Japan and the Republic of China broke relations, declaring the Treaty of Taipei to invalidated. At the same time, Japan and the People's Republic of China agreed to and signed the Joint Communiqué of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China. The question of the political status of Taiwan or whether the two sides are moving toward unification or continuing a state of independence is still unresolved. The assertion of the People's Republic of China both domestically and internationally is "Whether from the perspective of history, government or international law, Taiwan is an inseparable part of China. The political status of Taiwan is a Chinese domestic affair, and, under the premise of no hope for unification as well as certain other (conditions), (the Chinese government) does not abandon (the possibility of) the use of force to resolve it." [cite web | title=The One-China Principle and the Taiwan Issue | author=The Taiwan Affairs Office and the Information Office of the State Council
url=http://www.gwytb.gov.cn:8088/detail.asp?table=WhitePaper&title=White-Papers-On-Taiwan-Issue&m_id=4 |accessdate=2007-11-08
] Those persons promoting Taiwan independence feel that, because of the Treaty of San Francisco signed by Japan and the United States and the unclear indication of the handover of Taiwan's sovereignty (the status of Taiwan was not decided on), Taiwan's future direction should be decided upon by the people of Taiwan and that the People's Republic of China not be permitted to threaten the use of force. [cite web | title=Executive Summary | url=http://www.taiwandocuments.org/summary.htm | first=Charlie | last=Chi | publisher=Taiwan Documents Project | date=2002-04-30 | accessdate=2007-11-12 ] On March 14, 2005, the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China passed the Anti-Secession Law, making clear for the first time in legal form the One-China principle. Some people in Taiwan felt dissatisfied about this, and, on March 26, hundreds of thousands of people went to the streets of Taipei, participating in the 326 Protect Taiwan Demonstration, indicating their strong dissatisfaction with and protest of the law. [cite news | title=Taiwan rallies against China law | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4382971.stm | publisher=BBC News | date=2005-03-26 | accessdate=2007-11-12 ] [cite news | title=In pictures: Taiwan protest | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/4384279.stm | publisher=BBC News | date=2005-03-26 | accessdate=2007-11-12 ] Beginning on April 26, 2005, KMT, and various Pan-Blue political parties visited mainland China, creating an upsurge in the political dialogue between the two sides (see 2005 Pan-Blue visits to mainland China), but cross-straits relations are still full of uncertainty.

Up until the 1970s, the international community generally considered the Kuomintang on Taiwan to be the legal representative of China, but acknowledgment of the nation of the People's Republic of China slowly increased. In 1954, the Republic of China and the United States signed the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of China. In 1971, the United Nations acknowledged the People's Republic of China to be the sole legal representative of China (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758). The KMT government strengthened their "Han and the thief cannot both stand"(漢賊不兩立) stance and announced withdrawal from the United Nations. After this, the international position of the Republic of China slid to a large extent. In 1979, when the United States broke relations, it created an even more severe attack on the diplomatic plight of the ROC. In recent years, the ROC government has tried several times to apply anew to enter international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization, but, under the opposing side's powerful obstruction, there has been no success.

China-Taiwan direct flights

Mainland China and Taiwan resumed regular weekend cross-strait charter direct flights on July 4, 2008, for the first time in 6 decades, as a "new start" in their tense relations. Liu Shaoyong, the China Southern Airlines chair, piloted the first flight from Guangzhou to the Taipei Songshan Airport. Simultaneously, a Taiwan-based China Airlines flew to Shanghai. 5 China cities will be connected with 8 Taiwan airports, with 4 days a week, 36 round-trip flights across the Taiwan Strait, thereby eliminating time-consuming Hong Kong stopovers. [ [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gpvkhG_kZMjiQFpVl1l7GQqYkV-w Afp.google.com, China, Taiwan resume direct flights] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7488965.stm bbc.co.uk, Direct China-Taiwan flights begin] ]

Economic growth

During the post-war period, Taiwan was lacking in goods and materials, the economy was depressed, and inflation was severe. After the national government moved to Taiwan, agriculture was first to grow, and, in 1953, Taiwan's economy returned to its pre-war level. After this, the government pursued a policy of "Nurture industry with agriculture"(以農養工) on the foundation established during Japanese rule. With the capital, manpower, and skilled labor that came to Taiwan from the mainland, American aid, [cite web| url=http://qesdb.usaid.gov/gbk/ | title=U.S. overseas loans and grants: obligations and loan authorizations, July 1, 1945-September 30, 2005 | author=U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) | accessdate=2007-11-07] etc., Taiwan's economy progressively moved toward rapid growth. In the 1950s, the government carried out an import substitution policy, taking what was obtained by agriculture to give support to the industrial sector, trading agricultural product exports for foreign currency to import industrial machinery, thus developing the industrial sector. The government raised tariffs, controlled foreign exchange and restricted imports in order to protect domestic industry. By the 1960s, Taiwan's import exchange industry was faced with the problem of saturating the domestic market. At the same time, the factories of some industrialized nations, because of rising wages and other reasons, slowly moved to certain areas that had both basic industry and low labor costs. Consequently, the economic policy of Taiwan changed to pursue export expansion. In 1960, the government enacted the "Regulations for Encouraging Investment," actively competing for foreign business investment in Taiwan. In 1966, the government established the Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone, Asia's first export processing zone, to expand the manufacturing production. In the role of a manufacturing relay station, Taiwan became a link in the international system of division of labor. In 1963, the proportion of Taiwan's national economy occupied by industry exceeded that of agriculture. From 1968, Taiwan maintained two-digit long-term annual average economic growth up until the 1973 oil crisis. [cite journal | author=Amsden, Alice H. |year=1979 |month=July |title=Taiwan's Economic History: A Case of Etatisme and a Challenge to Dependency Theory |journal=Modern China |volume=5 |issue=3 |pages=341–380 |doi=10.1177/009770047900500304 |url=http://mcx.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/5/3/341 |accessdate= 2007-11-06] In 1971, Taiwan had a foreign trade surplus and continued from then on in an export state.

References


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