Is Taiwan a Country?

Taiwan, a tiny island of only 23.55 million people is located just east, 180 kilometers to be exact, of China’s border. The island has a long and somewhat confusing history of issues with annexation, nationalism, and independence in relation to China. Many a soul has wondered whether or not Taiwan is its own country, or if is part of China. As of late, Taiwan has been known as the Republic of China, whereas China is known as the People’s Republic of China. This alludes to a power struggle between China and Taiwan. There is, however, a matter of pushback from Taiwan in that they have their own president, Tsai Ing-Wen. To acquire a firm grasp of the happenings between Taiwan and China, one must look into Taiwan’s history.

Taiwan’s history with China begins in 1683, when Taiwan was “formally annexed by China’s Qing Dynasty” (BBC). The Qing Dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China, later followed by the Ming Dynasty and then the Republic of China, which is what Taiwan is currently known as. Later, in 1895, the Qing Dynasty was forced to renounce Taiwan to Japan. The BBC article What’s behind the China-Taiwan divide continues to explain China and Taiwan’s relationship, “After World War Two, the Republic of China – one of the victors – began ruling Taiwan with the consent of its allies the US and UK, after Japan surrendered and relinquished control of territory it had taken from China.” After this occured, Chiang Kai-Shek, a Chinese nationalist, became the communist leader of Taiwan and created the Republic of China. This “dictatorship” was not taken well by Taiwanese citizens — and later “Chiang’s son, Chiang Ching-kuo, began allowing a process of democratisation, which eventually led to the 2000 election of the island’s first non-KMT president, Chen Shui-bian” (BBC).

 The results of this confusing and convoluted history include China considering Taiwan a “breakaway province” that they claim they will conquer in the near future. Taiwan, on the other hand, considers itself a sovereign state in some situations, although it is not a part of the United Nations. The Taiwanese Nationalism and Independence groups both promote this ‘sovereign state’ idea on different levels. There is not a clear answer to the question “Is Taiwan its own Country?” because the subject is opinionated and not yet decided upon. The rocky relationship between China and Taiwan is still in flux, and it will therefore probably be a couple of years until one can define the status of Taiwan.