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The New Taiwanese Identity And Its Political And Economic Connections

3144 words - 13 pages

Taiwan was called the Republic of China in the past fifty years, but now, it is trying to change its official name to Taiwan. Along with the name change, the identity of Taiwanese people also shifts. The identity change of a nation never come without the political interference; yet the political decisions of the Taiwanese government are also connected with its economic policies. In this paper, I will try to solve the complex relationships between the Taiwanese national identity change, the political and economic policies, along with its relationships with its counterpart, the People’s Republic of China.
Before getting into the analysis of the present situation, let’s review the history of Taiwan and the intertwined relationship between the PRC and the ROC. Taiwan island has only been seen as a significant place by a few emperors throughout the Chinese history. It has officially become a part of the Chinese territory since the Ming dynasty in17th century after the Dutch colonists were extruded from the island. Taiwan was then taken over by Japan in 1895, when the “Treaty of Shimonoseki” was signed after the defeat of the Qing military in the First Sino-Japanese War. Then the Republic of China regained Taiwan from Japanese control in 1945 when Japan surrendered at the end of the World War II. In early 1949, when the Chinese Nationalist Party Kuomintang (KMT) was defeated by the Communist Party of China (CPC) during the Chinese Civil War, the KMT retreated to the Island of Taiwan, which was the only territory left under the Republic of China’s (ROC) control. In the last two decades, ROC has been struggling in maintaining its international influence, while also trying to establish or reinforce a new national identity, Taiwan, in order to disassociate themselves from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The ROC and the PRC are two separated states, since they have different governments with completely different political system, yet it is undeniable that these two states share many cultural origins and histories. The majority of the Taiwanese population is Han, which is also the dominant ethnic group in the Mainland China. Many population in Taiwan are the descendants of the Nationalist soldiers who came to Taiwan after their party’s defeat. It was recorded that in 1949, 1 million KMT soldiers and governmental officials migrated to Taiwan, taking up at least 12% of the local Taiwanese population. Even among the original local population, a large percentage of them immigrated from Fujian, China in the last several centuries. The “Taipei Forbidden City” National Palace Museum contains a significant number of historical relics that were transferred from the Mainland China during the Nationalist government retreat. Though some scholars, such as Michael Danielsen and D. Roy from Austin College, debated on Taiwan’s real historical connection with China. They think Taiwan has only been a part of China for a few hundred years, which...

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