Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park(慈湖紀念雕塑公園), the mausoleum where Taiwan's former dictator Chiang Kai Shek was buried, and also a park for his unwanted statues.
Taiwan's politics can be complicated and confusing for many foreigners that are unfamiliar with the country's history. Here we will provide an overview of Taiwan's politics and governmental system.
To answer most questions concerning politics in Taiwan, please see the following brief history of Taiwan:
1912: The Republic of China (ROC, current government of Taiwan), led by the KMT party (Kuomintang) took control of all of mainland China after the Qing dynasty fell.
1945: Japan returned the island of Taiwan to the ROC.
1949: The ROC was defeated by the communist party in mainland China (PRC), and retreated to the island of Taiwan. The ROC protected the islands of Kinmen and Matsu (part of Fujian province) from communist invasion. The ROC was considered the true ruler of China by the UN.
1971: The ROC (Taiwan) was removed from the UN in favor of the PRC. Most nations broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan at this time.
1987: Martial law was lifted in Taiwan, paving the way for free democracy and elections.
2008: The first opposition part president (from the DPP) was elected.
2017: The ROC (and KMT party) still claim mainland China as its territory, but the current ruling DPP party recognizes Taiwan and surrounding islands as an independent nation separate from China.
Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of questions. This is meant to only give a basic overview of Taiwan politics to those who are learning about this topic for the first time.
Is Taiwan a country?
Yes! Taiwan is not a province of Communist China, it is its own country economically, politically, democratically, and in substance.
What country does Taiwan belong to?/ Is Taiwan its own country?
Taiwan is its own country (including surrounding islands such as Kinmen and Matsu), it is also known as the Republic of China.
Is Taiwan a province of China (PRC)?
Is Taiwan Communist?
Why is Taiwan not a member of the UN?
Taiwan is not recognized in the UN because of conflict with China (China and Taiwan governments both claim to be the rightful government of all China, so the UN could only choose one China). For more information, read here for Taiwan’s history with the UN. Taiwan is the largest country by population and economy to not be a member of the UN.
Which countries recognize Taiwan (Since When)?
Marshall Islands (1998)
Nauru (1980–2002, 2005)
Saint Kitts and Nevis (1983)
Saint Lucia (1984–1997, 2007)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1981)
Vatican City (The Holy See) (1942)
Taken from Wikipedia.
Why is Taiwan the ROC?
Taiwan originally belonged to Japan. After WW2 in 1945, it was given back to the Republic of China (ROC), the ruling government of China at the time, which they still control to this day, even though they have lost the mainland to China (PRC).
Is Taiwan part of China?/Does Taiwan belong to China?
No and No. The Republic of China is the official government of Taiwan, whose capital is Taipei, not PRC controlled Beijing. The Republic of China lost mainland China to the communist PRC government during the Chinese Civil War, and now only controls Taiwan and the surrounding islands.
Why should Taiwan be a part of China?
It should not be a part of China, unless China becomes a true democratic nation that allows free elections.
How does Taiwan feel about China?
An imposing neighbor, but also integral to their economy. The current ruling party, the DPP, supports Taiwan independence and a Southbound policy to rely more economically on Southeast Asian neighbors rather than China.
Why does Taiwan hate China?
Some Taiwanese people hate China, but would say most people do not. China and Taiwan’s governments fought a civil war in which the Republic of China (ROC) lost the mainland and retreated to the island of Taiwan. Taiwanese nowadays are more are afraid of Chinese investment and threats to their democracy.
What are Wumao? Who are Wumao (50 cent party)?
The Wumao is a term for online Chinese communist activists or trolls that relentlessly deny Taiwan’s independent and free democratic status. They are believed to receive payment from the communist party for every post they make (50 cents or Wumao 五毛). For instance, they constantly attack the Twitter posts of president Tsai Ing-wen, even though Twitter is officially banned in China.
Why does Taiwan want independence?/Why does Taiwan want to separate from the mainland?/ Why does Taiwan want to separate from China?
Taiwan is separate and independent from the mainland, but it wants to be recognized as a separate country by the rest of the world. Taiwan is not recognized by the international community such as the UN. Such recognition would be beneficial for Taiwan’s political and economic ties with other countries.
Who is the government of Taiwan?
The Republic of China (ROC), whose capital is in Taipei. Not PRC controlled by Beijing.
Why does Taiwan consider itself the real China?
The Taiwan government (ROC) once controlled mainland China, and considers the ruling PRC in China rebels who have wrongfully taken the mainland.
Why does Taiwan claim Tibet and Mongolia?
Taiwan (officially the Republic of China) controlled all of mainland China before 1949, and claims that Mongolia and Tibet were part of China at the time, and that both were also ruled by the Qing dynasty. Taiwan no longer claims Mongolia, but they did not recognize Mongolian independence until 2002. The Taiwan government still claims Tibet.
Why does Taiwan hate Korea?
Taiwan does not hare Korea. However, some bitter feelings may exist after Korea suddenly broke diplomatic ties with the ROC in 1992 in favor of the PRC, among other things such as business competition and sports rivalries.
What kind of country is Taiwan?
Wonderful, fun, delicious, beautiful, and friendly.
What type of government does Taiwan have?/Is Taiwan a democracy?
Yes, Taiwan is a democratic republic. They elect their president and legislative representatives through free elections.
How does Taiwan elect their executive?
Democratically. Executives and local self-governing bodies are elected at four year intervals.
What are the major political parties in Taiwan?
The KMT (Kuomintang) and DPP (Democratic Progressive Party).
What are the policies of the major political parties in Taiwan?
The KMT favors eventual reunification with China, and supports the “One China Policy” which according to the 1992 consensus stipulates that there is one China with differing interpretations. Currently the KMT endorses the maintaining the status quo, and the three no policy: “No independence, no unification, and no use of force.”
The DPP supports human rights, anti communism, and Taiwan identity. It believes that Taiwan independence is a current fact, making a declaration of independence redundant. The DPP does not support the “One China Policy” and does not recognize the 1992 consensus. It supports the "Southbound Policy,” trying to build economic ties with Southeast Asia rather than China.
How does the Taiwan government work?
The central government is a democratic republic with a presidency and 5 Yuans (a Yuan is a branch of government), the legislative, judicial, executive, control, and examination Yuans.
Who is president of Taiwan?
Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文, of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Where does the Taiwan president live?
The Taiwan president Tasi Ing-wen lives in the Presidential Office Building, a red brick structure originally constructed by the Japanese.
Why does Taiwan matter?
It is an important thriving democracy in direct opposition to communist China. It proves that free democracy is possible despite the PRCs efforts to suppress democracy and free speech throughout greater China (including Hong Kong).
Who is Chinese Taipei?/ What is Chinese Taipei?
It is the name of Taiwan used in sporting events such as the Olympics as to not upset its bully neighbor the PRC (China).
Who is the mayor of Taipei?
Jonny Chiang 蔣萬安
Why is Taipei the best city?
Taipei is the best city because it has a modern infrastructure and transportation systems, world class talent, a safe environment, low cost of living, and friendly people. It is not the best city because of its weather; many cities in Taiwan have a more tolerable climate than Taipei.
Does Taiwan have nuclear weapons?
No. But it tried to obtain them in the past. However, due to pressure from the U.S., it abandoned such plans.
Where does Taiwan get its energy?
As of 2014, 48% came from oil, 29.2% came from coal, 12.2% came from natural gas, 8.8% from nuclear, 1.2% from biomass and waste, and .5% from other renewable energy resources.
Basic Taiwan Travel Tips:
Hotels in Taiwan:
Looking for a hotel? We recommend booking through Booking.com here, which provides the best quality selection of accommodation in Taiwan.
Find out where to stay in our Taiwan hotels guide or search for the best hotel deals in Taiwan here.
Tours in Taiwan:
There are many tour itineraries that you can enjoy in Taipei that will take you to multiple destinations and arrange transportation. For more information, you can check out Tripadvisor here, KKday here or Klook here, which are both great tour websites that can connect you with the right tour and tour guide for you.
Here are some of the most popular tours of Taiwan on TripAdvisor:
What is the best way to get around Taiwan?
I personally think the best way to get around is by Scooter, but bicycle and public transport are also very good. Travelling by car is difficult because there are narrow streets, many scooters, and limited parking.
You have a few options:
For more information, please visit our travel/transportation FAQ.
Taiwan's transportation system is convenient and safe. There are many options you can consider to get around in Taipei below:
By Train: Gets you to the city center of all major cities in Taiwan. It is about 800NT to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung. Roughly half the price of the HSR. Book tickets via the normal train (TRA) on Klook here.
By HSR: (High-Speed Rail) – Gets you quickly from north to south. Besides Taipei and Kaohsiung, most of the stations are far from city centers. It costs about 1500NT to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung. You can book tickets to the high-speed rail (HSR) on Klook here or KKDay here.
By MRT: (Mass Rapid Transit, Metro train, subway) – Easily gets you around Taipei and Kaohsiung. You can purchase a discount easy card to use on the MRT from Klook here or KKday here. You can also book an MRT travel pass on Klook here.
By Bus: Buses can be tricky. Long-range buses such as Ubus and King Bus are easier to understand and cheaper than the local train. They can take you to the city center of every city throughout Taiwan and to remote tourist destinations such as sun moon lake. A long-range bus from Taipei to Kaohsiung is about 500 NT. You can also book tickets to travel to Shifen via inter-city bus on Klook here. You can also book a Taipei Sightseeing: Hop On, Hop Off Open Top Bus on TripAdvisor here.
By Taxi: You can take short rides for about 150 NT, or hire a Taxi for a day for around 150 USD.
By Car: If you are looking for car rentals, you can also search Qeeq here, Klook here, or KKday here. You can also check out our car rental guide here.
By Scooter: Looking for scooter rental in Taipei? You can search on Klook here or KKday here to search for options. You can also check out our scooter rental guide here.
By Bicycle: Cycling is the best way to enjoy Taiwan's landscapes if you have the time and energy. Looking for bicycle rentals in Taiwan? You can use Taiwan's many Youbike sharing stations, or search for rentals on KKday here, and search for tours on Klook here. You can also check out our Taiwan cycling guide here. â€‹You can also book a Sunset Riverside Bike Ride and Historical Tour, 4 Hour Cycling in Taipei, Ultimate 8-Hour Cycling City Tour, or Taipei City Bike Tour with Night Market Experience on TripAdvisor here.
For more information, check out our Taiwan transportation guide here.
Have any more questions about politics in Taiwan? Please leave them in the comments below, and we might just add them to the list!
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.