Government of the Republic of China

Government of the Republic of China
In 1927, National Government of the Republic of China at Nanjing

The Republic of China (ROC) was formally established by Dr. Sun Yat-sen in 1912 in Nanjing under the Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China but this government was moved to Beijing in the same year and continued as the internationally recognized government of China until 1928. In the history of the Republic of China, there have been several governments. The Nationalist Government, in order to rebuild the first democracy, led by the Kuomintang (KMT) was originally formed as a rival Military Government under Sun Yat-sen in Guangzhou in 1917. After the completion of the Northern Expedition (1926–1928), this government (now in Nanjing) became the recognized government of China and functioned as a one-party state until the promulgation of the Constitution of the Republic of China in 1947. This new Constitutional government was transplanted to Taipei in 1949 due to the Chinese Civil War.




The first Chinese national government was established on January 1, 1912, in Nanjing, with Sun Yat-sen as the provisional president.The constitution of china was finally established on December 4, 1982. Provincial delegates were sent to confirm the authority of the national government, and they later also formed the first parliament. The power of this national government was limited and short-lived, with generals controlling both central and northern provinces of China. The limited acts passed by this government included the formal abdication of the Qing dynasty and some economic initiatives. The parliament's authority became nominal; violations of the Constitution by Yuan were met with half-hearted motions of censure, and Kuomintang members of the parliament that gave up their membership in the KMT were offered 1,000 pounds. Yuan maintained power locally by sending military generals to be provincial governors or by obtaining the allegiance of those already in power.

When Yuan died, the parliament of 1913 was reconvened to give legitimacy to a new government. However, the real power of the time passed to military leaders, forming the warlord period. The impotent government still had its use; when World War I began, several Western powers and Japan wanted China to declare war on Germany, in order to liquidate German holdings.

There were also several warlord governments and puppet states sharing the same name. See also: Wang Jingwei Government, Warlord era.

Continuation of Republic of China on Taiwan (post 1949)

Presidential Building in Taipei has housed the Office of the President of the Republic of China since 1950.

The head of state is the President, who is elected by popular vote for a four-year term on the same ticket as the Vice-President. The President has authority over the five administrative branches (Yuan): the Control, Examination, Executive, Judicial, and Legislative Yuans. The President appoints the members of the Executive Yuan as his cabinet, including a Premier, who is officially the President of the Executive Yuan; members are responsible for policy and administration.


The main legislative body is the unicameral Legislative Yuan with one hundred and thirteen seats. Seventy-three are elected in single member districts; thirty-four are elected based on the proportion of nationwide votes received by participating political parties, and six seats are reserved to represent aboriginal groups. Members serve four-year terms.

Judicial Yuan

The Judicial Yuan is the ROC's highest judiciary. It interprets the constitution and other laws and decrees, judges administrative suits, and disciplines public functionaries. The President and Vice-President of the Judicial Yuan and fifteen Justices form the Council of Grand Justices. They are nominated and appointed by the President of the Republic, with the consent of the Legislative Yuan. The highest court, the Supreme Court, consists of a number of civil and criminal divisions, each of which is formed by a presiding Judge and four Associate Judges, all appointed for life. In 1993, a separate constitutional court was established to resolve constitutional disputes, regulate the activities of political parties and accelerate the democratization process. There is no trial by jury but the right to a fair and public trial is protected by law and respected in practice; many cases are presided over by multiple judges.

Executive Yuan

The ROC's political system does not fit traditional models. The Premier is selected by the President without the need for approval from the Legislature, but the Legislature can pass laws without regard for the President, as neither he nor the Premier wields veto power. Thus, there is little incentive for the President and the Legislature to negotiate on legislation if they are of opposing parties. In fact, since the election of the pan-Green's Chen Shui-bian as President in 2000 and the continued control of the Legislative Yuan by the pan-Blue majority, legislation has repeatedly stalled, as the two sides have been deadlocked. There is another curiosity of the ROC system; because the ROC was previously dominated by strongman single party politics, real power in the system shifted from one position to another, depending on what position was currently occupied by the leader of the state (Chiang Kai-shek and later his son, Chiang Ching-kuo, and then Chen Shuibian). This legacy has resulted in executive powers currently being concentrated in the office of the President rather than the Premier.

Control Yuan

The Control Yuan is an investigatory agency that monitors the other branches of government.

Examination Yuan

The Examination Yuan is in charge of validating the qualification of civil servants in the Republic of China.

See also

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