Republic of China

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JhongHuá MínGuó
Flag of the Republic of China National Emblem of the Republic of China
(National Flag) (National Emblem)
National motto: None
Current Jurisdiction of the Republic of China
Official language Mandarin Chinese
Capital and largest city Taipei
President Chen Shui-bian
Premier Frank Hsieh
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 138th
35,980 km²
 - Total (mid-2005)
 - Density
Ranked 48th
 - Declared
 - Established
Xinhai Revolution
October 10, 1911
January 1, 1912
 - Total
 - GDP/capita
2005 estimate
$629.8 billion (17th)
$27,122 (23rd)
Currency New Taiwan dollar
Time zone UTC +8
National anthem National Anthem of the Republic of China
Internet TLD .tw
Calling code 886

The Republic of China (Traditional Chinese: 中華民國; Simplified Chinese: 中华民国; Wade-Giles: Chung¹-hua² Min²-kuo², Tongyong Pinyin: JhongHuá MínGuó, Hanyu Pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó, Taiwanese: Tiong-hoâ Bîn-kok) refers to the state which, prior to the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, ruled China as a whole. Since 1949, the same state has controlled only the island groups of Taiwan, the Pescadores, Quemoy, and Matsu. In English, as in Chinese, the name "Taiwan" is often used synonymously with the modern Republic of China, while the term "China" usually refers to the People's Republic of China (PRC), or mainland China with or without Hong Kong and Macau.

The Republic of China (ROC) began on mainland China, succeeding the Qing Dynasty in 1912 and ending 2,000 years of imperial rule. Its existence on mainland China was scarred by warlordism, Japanese invasion, and civil war and ended in 1949 when the Chinese Communists overthrew the Chinese Nationalists (also known as Kuomintang). Although originally intended as a democracy it was in effect a dictatorship throughout its tenure on the mainland.

The ROC government then evacuated to Taiwan and set up a provisional capital in Taipei where it continued to regard itself as the sole legitimate government of China. Meanwhile, the Communists proclaimed the People's Republic of China and claimed to be the successor state to the ROC over all of China and that the Nationalist government in Taiwan was illegitimate. From its early days to its move to Taiwan, the Republic of China has been closely associated with the Kuomintang (KMT)—a party formed by the revolutionaries that originally established the Republic, though it is no longer the ruling party.

Although the national boundaries have never been officially redrawn, the ROC no longer pursues its claims over mainland China and Mongolia. Also, the now defunct National Assembly has passed constitutional amendments that give the people of Taiwan, Pescadores, Quemoy, and Matsu the sole right to exercise the sovereignty of the Republic through elections of the President and the entire Legislature as well as through elections to ratify amendments to the ROC constitution. For some, this suggests that the ROC implicitly admits that its sovereignty is limited to the areas that it controls. Reforms enacted by the national government in the 1980s and 1990s have transformed Taiwan from an authoritarian one-party state ruled mainly by mainland Chinese into its current form as a localized, multi-party democracy.

While the tense standoff of the Cold War era has largely subsided, the political status of Taiwan continues to remain a contentious issue on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. The ROC was one of the founding members of the UN and one of the original five Security Council members; however, in 1971, it was replaced in the UN by the PRC. Because the PRC claims sovereignty over Taiwan, the ROC's diplomatic recognition since the 1970s has suffered as a result of the One-China Policy it itself had previously insisted on and because of diplomatic maneuvers by the larger and more economically-significant PRC. Most major countries switched their recognition from the ROC to the PRC in the 1970s; currently, the ROC is officially recognized by 25 countries.



Main article: History of the Republic of China

Republican China, 1911-1949

The Republican Era of China developed out of the Wuchang Uprising against the Qing Dynasty which began on October 10, 1911. The Republic of China was declared on January 1, 1912, with Sun Yat-sen elected the first interim president. As part of the agreement to have the last emperor Puyi abdicate, Yuan Shikai was officially elected president in 1913. However, Yuan dissolved the ruling KMT and declared himself emperor in 1915.

Yuan Shikai (left) and Sun Yat-sen (right) with two different flags representing the Republic.
Yuan Shikai (left) and Sun Yat-sen (right) with two different flags representing the Republic.
 The name of the Republic of China was also once translated into English as the Chunghwa Republic.
The name of the Republic of China was also once translated into English as the Chunghwa Republic.

In response, Yuan's supporters deserted him, and many provinces declared independence and became warlord states. Yuan Shikai died of natural causes in 1916. This thrust China into a decade of warlordism. Sun Yat-sen, forced into exile, returned to Guangdong province with the help of southern warlords in 1917, and set up a rival government. Sun reestablished the KMT in October 1919.

After Sun's death in 1925, General Chiang Kai-shek gained control of the KMT and, with the help of the Soviet Union, led the successful Northern Expedition which effectively defeated the warlords and united China. However, Chiang soon dismissed his Soviet advisors, and purged communists and leftists from the KMT, catalyzing the Chinese Civil War. The 1930s were a decade of growth for the areas under KMT control, while the Communists were being pushed into the interior as Chiang Kai-shek sought to destroy them.

Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 and made massive territorial gains during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). With Japan's surrender in 1945, the Republic of China emerged victorious and became one of the founding members of the United Nations. The civil war resumed and intensified after the Japanese surrender, and it ended in the Communist Party of China's favor in 1949.

See also:

The Republic of China on Taiwan, 1945/1949-Present

Taiwan had previously been a Japanese colony from 1895-1945, a concession by the Qing dynasty after losing the First Sino-Japanese War. After the defeat of Japan during World War II, Taiwan was surrendered to the Allies and occupied by the Republic of China on behalf of the Allied Powers. It was governed under a corrupt military administration leading to widespread island unrest, culminating in the bloody 228 Incident. Martial law was declared in 1948.

In this tumultuous climate, after the defeat of the KMT in 1949, Chiang Kai-shek evacuated the Republic of China government to Taiwan and declared Taipei the provisional capital of China. Accompanying his retreat were some 2 million people from Mainland China, adding to the already present population of approximately 6 million.

During the Cold War, the Republic of China was seen by the West as "Free China" and a bastion against Communism, while in contrast the People's Republic of China was seen as "Red China" or "Communist China". The Republic of China was recognized as the sole legitimate government of both Mainland China and Taiwan by the UN and many Western nations until the 1970s.

Taiwan remained under martial law, under the name of the "Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion" (動員戡亂時期臨時條款) and one-party rule for four decades from 1948 until 1987, when Presidents Chiang Ching-kuo and Lee Teng-hui, the ROC's first native Taiwanese president, gradually liberalized and democratized the system.

In 2000, Chen Shui-bian of the more pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was elected president, becoming the first non-KMT constitutional president of the Republic of China after 1925. In the March 2004 presidential elections, after being shot while campaigning just one day before, Chen was reelected by a narrow margin of just 0.2%. In both Chen's terms the DPP and the Taiwanese independence leaning Pan-Green Coalition failed to secure a majority of seats in the legislature, losing to the KMT and the pro-eventual unification leaning Pan-Blue Coalition, but secured a majority in the National Assembly elections in 2005.

See also:

Government and Politics

Main article: politics of Republican China

Republican China, 1911-1949

The original founding of the Republic centered on the Three Principles of the People (san min zhuyi): nationalism, democracy, and people's livelihood. Nationalism meant standing up to Japanese and European interference, democracy meant elected rule modeled after Japan's parliament, and people's livelihood or socialism, meant government regulation of the means of production. Another lesser known principle that the Republic was founded upon was "five races under one union" (五族共和), which emphasized the harmony of the five major ethnic groups in China as represented by the colored stripes of the original Five-Colored Flag of the Republic. However, this five races under one union principle and the corresponding flag were abandoned in 1927.

Although in reality these three principles were left unrealized. Republican China was marked by warlordism, foreign invasion, and civil war. Although there were elected legislators, from its inception, it was actually a largely one-party dictatorship apart from some minor parties [1], including the Chinese Youth Party[2], the National Socialist Party and the Rural Construction Party[3], with suppression of dissent, within the KMT of the Communists. As the central government was quite weak, little could be done in terms of land reform or redistribution of wealth either. Politics of this era consisted primarily of the political and military struggle between the KMT and the CCP, in between bouts of active military resistance against Japanese invasion.

Republic of China on Taiwan, 1949-Present

Main article: politics of the Republic of China

The constitution of the Republic of China was drafted before the fall of mainland China to the Communists and was created for the purpose of forming a coalition government between the Nationalists and the Communists for rule of all of China, including Taiwan. However, the CCP boycotted the National Assembly, and it is also worth noting, that the Taiwanese representatives were not elected. The constitution went into effect December 25, 1947.

Because Taiwan remained under martial law from 1948 until 1987, much of the constitution was not in effect. Since the lifting of martial law, the Republic of China has undergone a drastic process of democratisation and reform, removing legacy components that were originally meant for the governing of mainland China. Many legacy components that still remain are nonfunctional. This process of amendment continues today as the government continues to reform itself. In May of 2005, a new national assembly was elected to reduce the number of parliamentary seats and implement several constitutional reforms. These reforms have since been passed, with the national assembly essentially voting to abolish itself and transferring the power of constitutional reform to the popular ballot.[4]

Political status and the major camps

One key issue has been the political status of Taiwan itself. With the diplomatic isolation brought about in the 1970s and 1980s, the notion of "recovering the mainland" by force has been dropped and the Taiwanese localization movement stengthened. The relationship with the People's Republic of China and the related issues of Taiwan independence and Chinese reunification continue to dominate Taiwanese politics.

The political scene in the ROC is divided into two camps, with the pro-unification and center-right KMT, People First Party (PFP), and New Party forming the Pan-Blue Coalition, and the pro-independence and center-left Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and centrist Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) forming the Pan-Green Coalition.

Supporters of the Pan-Green camp tend to favor emphasisizing Taiwan as being distinct from China. Many Pan-Green supporters seek Taiwanese independence and for dropping the title of the Republic of China. However, more progressive members of the coalition, such as current President Chen Shui-bian, claim that it is unnecessary to proclaim independence because Taiwan is already "an independent, sovereign country" and that the Republic of China is the same as Taiwan. Some members take a much more extreme view about Taiwan's status, claiming that the ROC is nonexistent and calling for the establishment of an independent Republic of Taiwan. Supporters of this idea have even gone as far as issuing passports for their republic.

While the Pan-Green camp favors Taiwan having an identity separate from that of China, Pan-Blue members seem to be strongly supportive of the concept of the Republic of China, which remains an important symbol of their links with China. Pan-Blue views reunification as something that will happen eventually, but until then the current status quo is preferable to declaring independence. During his visit to mainland China in April 2005, KMT Party Chairman Lien Chan reiterated his party's belief in the "One China" policy that states that there is only one China controlled by two governments and that Taiwan is a part of China. PFP Party Chair James Soong expressed the same sentiments during his visit in May.

For its part, the PRC has indicated that it finds a Republic of China far more acceptable than an independent Taiwan, and ironically, though it views the ROC as an illegitimate entity, it has made it clear that any effort on Taiwan to formally abolish the ROC or formally renounce its claim over the Mainland would result in a strong and possibly military reaction.

Foreign relations

Main article: Foreign relations of the Republic of China

The Republic of China on the Mainland was recognized internationally throughout most of its rule as the legitimate government of China, despite ups and downs in its actual governance, as it struggled with warlordism and the civil war with the CCP.

Today, the Republic of China on Taiwan continues to be officially recognized by 25 nations, mostly small countries in Central America and Africa but also including the Holy See of the Catholic Church. The People's Republic of China has a policy of not having diplomatic relations with any nation which recognizes the Republic of China and insists that all nations with which it has diplomatic relations make a statement which recognizes its claims to Taiwan. In practice, however, most major nations maintain unofficial diplomatic relations with Taiwan and the statement which is required by the PRC is couched in extremely carefully worded ambiguity. In some major nations who do not recognize it, the ROC has representative offices called the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office or the "Taipei Representative Office" for short, that take on the functions that an official embassy would normally have, such as issuing visas. Likewise, many nations maintain counterpart trade and economic offices in the ROC, such as the American Institute in Taiwan, which is the de facto embassy of the United States in the ROC.

The Republic of China was in the United Nations as one of its founding members and held China's seat on the Security Council until 1971, when it was expelled by General Assembly Resolution 2758 and replaced in all UN organs with the government of the People's Republic of China. Multiple attempts by the Republic of China to re-join the UN have not made it past committee. (See China and the United Nations)

Besides the dispute with the PRC over the mainland, the ROC also has a controversial relationship with Mongolia. Until 1945, the ROC claimed jurisdiction over Mongolia, but under Soviet pressure, it recognized Mongolian independence. Shortly thereafter, it repudiated this recognition and continued to claim jurisdiction over Mongolia until recently. Since the late 1990s, the relationship with Mongolia has become a controversial topic. Any move to renounce sovereignty over Mongolia is controversial because the PRC claims that it is a prelude to Taiwan independence.

National political structure

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 Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan, Control Yuan, Judicial Yuan, and Examination Yuan. 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 225 seats, of which 168 are elected by popular vote. Of the remainder, 41 are elected on the basis of the proportion of nationwide votes received by participating political parties, eight are elected from overseas Chinese constituencies on the same principle, as are the eight seats for the aboriginal populations; members serve three-year terms. Originally the unicameral National Assembly, as a standing constitutional convention and electoral college, held some parliamentary functions, but the National Assembly was abolished in 2005 with the power of constitutional amendments handed over to the Legislative Yuan and all eligible voters of the Republic.

See also: Constitution of the Republic of China

Local political divisions

Main article: Political divisions of the Republic of China

Current jurisdiction of the Republic of China
Current jurisdiction of the Republic of China

The political organization of the Republic of China was originally based on a constitution written in 1947 in mainland China, just before the fall of the ROC to the Communists. Therefore, the primary division under the national government is between the actually governed Taiwan Province and Fukien Province with nonfunctional provisions for all other province of China. However, to better reflect the realities of Taiwan, the two largest municipalities of Taiwan, Taipei and Kaohsiung were elevated as central municipalities, the same level as province under direct national oversight, and more recently, the functions of the Taiwan and Fukien provincial governments have been largely redistributed between the national government and county governments.

Islands of Fukien Province controlled by the ROC highlighted in red
Islands of Fukien Province controlled by the ROC highlighted in red

The Republic of China also administers Dongsha Islands and Taiping Island, which are part of the disputed South China Sea Islands. Under the official ROC borders, they are part of Hainan Special Administrative Region.

Additionally, although the ROC has not officially renounced sovereignty over Mainland China (including Tibet), outer Mongolia, and Tuva, in 1991 it stated that it does not challenge the right of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to rule those areas, and it has made some statements that can also be interpreted as renouncing sovereignty over the Mainland. One reason the ROC has never officially dropped these claims is fear that the PRC would use such a move as a pretext for invasion, calling it a move towards Taiwan independence.

The DPP government under Chen Shui-bian has made moves to ignore such claims, including removing outer Mongolia from the ROC's official maps and the establishment of a representative office in Mongolia's capital, Ulan Bator. Official boundaries continue to show 35 provinces, instead of 23 shown on the maps from the PRC that reflect the PRC's actual political organization; however, the ruling DPP government has dropped regulations that require Taiwanese map makers to depict the official boundaries.


ROC Navy Cheng Kung-class frigates
ROC Navy Cheng Kung-class frigates

Main article: Military of the Republic of China

Military of the Republic of China on the Mainland

Main article: National Revolutionary Army

The historic army of the Republic, the National Revolutionary Army was mainly used to maintain the national unity of China. To this end, it initially fought against the warlords that had fractured China, successfully unifying China, and later against the army of the Communist party. It also fought against Japanese invasion during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1931/1937-1945), which became a part of the larger World War II. Leadership of the military during this time empowered political leadership. After the loss of the mainland, the NRA reformed into the ROC Army on Taiwan.

Military of the Republic of China on Taiwan

Today, the Republic of China on Taiwan maintains a large military establishment, mainly as defense against invasion by the People's Republic of China, which is seen as the predominant threat and which has not renounced the use of force against the ROC. From its retreat from mainland China in 1949 until the 1970s, the military's primary mission had been to "retake the mainland." Given its current mission of defense against invasion, the ROC military has begun to shift emphasis from the traditionally dominant army to the air force and navy. Control of the armed forces has also passed into the hands of the civilian government.

The ROC's armed forces number approximately 300,000, with nominal reserves totaling 3,870,000. The ROC begun its implementation of a force reduction program to scale down its military from a level of 430,000 in the 1990s, and is drawing to a close by 2005. Conscription remains universal for qualified males reaching age 18, but as a part of the reduction effort many are redirected to government agencies or defense related industries. Current plans call for a transition to a predominantly professional army over the next decade, while conscription will be limited to a period of 3 months.

The armed forces primary concern at this time is the possibility of an attack by the PRC, consisting of a naval blockade, airborne assault and/or missile bombardment. The Ministry of National Defense planned to purchase diesel-powered submarines and Patriot anti-missile batteries from the United States to counter the recent threat, but its budget has been stalled by the opposition Pan-Blue Coalition as of 2005. A significant amount of military hardware has been bought from the United States, and continues to be legally guaranteed today by the Taiwan Relations Act. In the past, the ROC has also purchased hardware from France and the Netherlands.


Taipei 101, the world's tallest building in three categories, is in Taipei
Taipei 101, the world's tallest building in three categories, is in Taipei

Economy of mainland China, 1912-1949

Main article: Economy of China (historical)

During the first half of the 20th century the ROC economy was essentially capitalist, with much foreign interference. With the fall of the emperor and the end of political isolation also came the end of economic isolation. The weak national government led to little government control of the economy other than rampant inflation. China at the time was largely agrarian with most of the land, and thus the wealth, concentrated in a wide pyramid structure – much of the land was owned by a few very wealthy landowners with the general population tenant farmers who did not own land. This situation of severe inequality is exactly the one that both the original revolutionists that had formed Republican China and the Communist party had aimed to overturn.

Economy of Taiwan

Main article: Economy of Taiwan

Taiwan's economy prior to the 20th century was nearly completely agrarian. During its time as a Japanese colony from 1895-1945, it began to be industrialized, with the Japanese building much of the infrastructure that laid the foundation for its later rapid growth, such as the first railway connecting Taiwan's north and south.

The modern Republic of China on Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing state involvement in investment and foreign trade. In keeping with this trend, some large government-owned banks and industrial firms are being privatized. Real growth in GDP has averaged about eight percent during the past three decades. Exports have provided the primary impetus for industrialization. The trade surplus is substantial, and foreign reserves are the world's third largest.

Agriculture constitutes only two percent of the GDP, down from 35 percent in 1952. Traditional labor-intensive industries are steadily being moved offshore and replaced with more capital- and technology-intensive industries. Taiwan has become a major investor in Mainland China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam; 50,000 Taiwanese businesses are established in Mainland China.

Because of its conservative financial approach and its entrepreneurial strengths, Taiwan suffered little compared with many of its neighbors from the Asian financial crisis in 19981999. The global economic downturn, however, combined with poor policy coordination by the new administration and increasing bad debts in the banking system, pushed Taiwan into recession in 2001, the first whole year of negative growth since 1947. Due to the relocation of many manufacturing and labor intensive industries to mainland China, unemployment also reached a level not seen since the 1970s oil crisis. This became a major issue in the presidential election of 2004.

Because the PRC objects to having other countries maintain diplomatic or official relations with the ROC, the ROC often joins international organizations under a different name. The Republic of China is a member of governmental trade organizations such as the World Trade Organization and APEC under the name Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (台灣、澎湖、金門及馬祖個別關稅領域) and APEC under the name Chinese Taipei.

See also: East Asian Tigers


Culture of Republican China, 1912-1949

National Concert Hall, Taipei
National Concert Hall, Taipei

Main article: Culture of China

With the abolishment of the emperor in China, the early years of the Republic of China saw the New Cultural Movement, with the gradual liberalization of society. Old imperial practices such as footbinding were discontinued. In accordance with the tradition of changing the style of dress for successive dynasties, Sun Yat-sen popularized the changshan (the female equivalent is qipao). Mao Zedong would later adapt the upper part of changshan and wear the style become known to westerners as the Mao suit.

Culture of Taiwan

Main article: Culture of Taiwan

Dancer in traditional aboriginal dress
Dancer in traditional aboriginal dress

Over the years, Taiwan's distinct cultural identity has been allowed greater expression and has gradually moved further away from its Sinitic roots (see Taiwan localization movement). Taiwan's mainstream culture is primarily derived from traditional Chinese culture, with significant influences also from Japanese and American cultures, especially in the areas of politics and architecture. Taiwanese aboriginals also have a distinct culture. Fine arts, folk traditions, and popular culture embody traditional and modern Asian and Western motifs.

After the retreat to Taiwan, the Nationalists took many steps to preserve traditional Chinese culture and suppress the local Taiwanese culture. The government launched a program promoting Chinese calligraphy, traditional Chinese painting, folk art, and Chinese opera. One of Taiwan's greatest attractions is the National Palace Museum, which houses more than 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, jade, calligraphy, painting and porcelain. Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalist Party (KMT) moved this collection from the Forbidden City in Beijing in 1949 when it fled to Taiwan. The collection, estimated to be one-tenth of China's cultural treasures, is so extensive that only 1 percent is on display at any time.

Karaoke is incredibly popular in Taiwan, where it is known as KTV and is an example of something the Taiwanese have drawn from contemporary Japanese culture. Pachinko is another example.

Taiwanese culture also has influenced the West: Bubble tea and milk tea are popular drinks readily available around city centers in Europe, Canada and the United States. Ang Lee is the famous Taiwanese movie director of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Eat Drink Man Woman, among other films.

About 80 percent of the people in Taiwan belong to the Holo ethnic group and speak both Mandarin and Taiwanese. Mandarin is the primary language of instruction in schools, having been forced on local Taiwanese since the coming of the Nationalists; however, most spoken media is split between Mandarin and Taiwanese. Speaking Taiwanese under the localization movement has become an emblem of expressing Taiwanese identity, and the language has undergone a resurgence since the early 1990s. The Hakka, about 10 percent of the population, have a distinct Hakka language. Aboriginal minority groups still speak their native languages, although most also speak Mandarin and Taiwanese.

Longshan Temple, Taipei, an example of architecture with southern Chinese influences commonly seen in older buildings in Taiwan.
Longshan Temple, Taipei, an example of architecture with southern Chinese influences commonly seen in older buildings in Taiwan.
Japanese mecha anime themed store in Taipei. Japanese culture has had a strong influence in Taiwan, including various mannerisms among the elderly who remember Japanese rule and TV dramas and anime among the younger generations.
Japanese mecha anime themed store in Taipei. Japanese culture has had a strong influence in Taiwan, including various mannerisms among the elderly who remember Japanese rule and TV dramas and anime among the younger generations.

The Taiwanese localization movement continues to be a major driver of Taiwanese culture, as a reaction against both the previous repression by the previously Kuomintang-controlled government and the hostility of the PRC. Thus, identity politics, along with the over 100 years of political separation from mainland China, 50 of which were under Japanese colonial rule, has led to distinct traditions in many areas, including cuisine, motion pictures, photography, opera and music.

Convenience store culture

Boasting 8,058 convenience stores in an area of 35,980 km² and a population of 22.9 million, Taiwan has the Asia Pacific’s and perhaps the world’s highest density of convenience stores per person: one store per 2,800 people or .000357 stores per person (2005 ACNielsen ShopperTrends). With 3680 7-Eleven stores, Taiwan also has the world’s highest density of 7-Elevens per person: one store per 6200 people or .000161 stores per person (International Licensing page of 7-Eleven website). In Taipei, it is not unusual to see two 7-Elevens across the street or several of them within a few hundreds of meters of each other.

Because they are found everywhere, convenience stores in Taiwan provide services on behalf of financial institutions or government agencies such as collection of the city parking fee, utility bills, traffic violation fines, and credit card payments. Eighty percent of urban household shoppers in Taiwan visit a convenience store each week (2005 ACNielsen ShopperTrends). The idea of being able to purchase food items, drink, fast food, magazines, videos, computer games, and so on 24 hours a day and at any corner of a street makes life easier for Taiwan’s extremely busy and rushed population.

Calendrical system

Following the imperial tradition of using the sovereign's era name and year of reign, official ROC documents and most people in Taiwan still use the Min Guo (Chinese: 民國, pinyin: míngúo, literal meaning: "The Country of the People" or in this case, "Republic") system of numbering years in which year one was 1912, the date of the founding of the Republic of China. For example, Year 2005 is the 94th year of "Min Guo" ("94th year of the Republic") or "Min Guo 94 (jiu shisi) nian" (民國九十四年) in Chinese. As Chinese era names are traditionally two characters long, Min Guo is employed as an abbreviation of the entire ROC title. Coincidentally, this calendrical system is the same as the Juche calendar used in North Korea, which begins with Kim Il Sung's birth in 1912.

See also:

Miscellaneous topics


  1. ^ "Taiwan assembly passes changes". BBC News, June 7, 2005.
  2. Feuerwerker, Albert. 1968. The Chinese Economy, 1912-1949. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

External links

Government websites


Countries in East Asia
China (PRC) | Japan | North Korea | South Korea | Taiwan (ROC)2
1. Special Administrative Regions of the PRC: Hong Kong | Macau
2. See also: political status of Taiwan
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