Taiwan’s Transition from an Authoritarian Political System and State-Led Economy to a Democratic and Middle-Income Society

Published: 2021-07-06 06:38:02
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Taiwan which is formerly known as the Republic of China is one of the States in China. Taiwan is a country that has a relatively high population, and one of the largest economies despite the fact that it is not a member of the United Nations. One of the significant changes which Taiwan faced, was changing its political system from the State led economy and authoritarian political regime to a middle income and democratic society. Of course, these structural changes were not natural, and they had various consequences on Taiwan as a Nation. Some of the results had effects on the economic, political and social conditions of Taiwan. In this paper, we shall, therefore, analyze both the non-economic and economic factors, which came about as a result of Taiwan changing its political and economic structure.It is well known that a small nation which is surrounded by strong and large countries is subject to irresistible market forces and constant military threats.[1]Taiwan as a nation faces a dilemma, and this because of its most essential economic partner happens to be an actual threat both economically and politically. An important fact to note is that the economic prosperity of Taiwan wholly depends on its economic interdependence with China, which is the second largest economy in the whole world. On the other hand, China is attempting to undermine the independence of Taiwan for it to attain unification. Thus, this, therefore, implies that China does not only seek to benefit economically from its interactions with Taiwan, but it also sees their communications as a way of promoting unification. [2]Due to this China has invested millions of money in its military, therefore deploying advance soldiers and other artillery which are aimed at Taiwan. Thus, it is a clear indicator that China is trying to use excess military force, so that it may be able to prevent Taiwan from declaring that it is a sovereign nation. Another interesting fact is that China as a state has never in any way renounced the use of force in the promotion of unification.Taiwan’s commercial ties with China create both opportunities and challenges for Taiwan, which are relatively different from those presented by any other nation. Since China is uniquely dangerous and extremely attractive at the same time, the existence of a dilemma is self-evident. This is because the direct economic ties between Taiwan and China will have quite some benefits, but at the same time it will increase the level of economic interdependence on the state that wants to incorporate Taiwan, possibly by the use of force. Taiwan hence had no choice other than to respond inconsistently to these conflicting pressures. Taiwan reduced its barriers to trade and the obstacles of investing in Taiwan directly. Therefore, if Taiwan wishes to continue benefiting from a glowing global economy, it must ensure that it maintains economic interdependence with China. In this case, Taiwan has very few alternatives if it wants to outbound investments and trade flows to move away from China to evade both political and economic risks. As a final point, the economic balance of power between China and Taiwan is in Chinas favor.Shifting our attention on to political factors, there are two major political issues which are most evident in Taiwan since the 80s. These problems include the demand for equity, greater participation, and fairness in Taiwan’s political system.[3]The second issue is the lack of accord concerning national unity. Both of these two problems are related. In the past years, those individuals who believed that Taiwan should be led as an independent state by officials who are elected from the residents of Taiwan. This is because the residents of Taiwan were demanding opportunities for political participation from those who are in power, and who were against rule through the use of an authoritarian system.One of the primary reasons as to why people from Taiwan demanded great participation in the political process was because; they were oppressed, their lives were repressed, and the authoritarian system was in one way or another ruthless. The competition between the opposition and the government were the central questions of political power.  Thus whether on associate him or her with the opposition or the state, the main issue was the matter of identity. Despite the fact that there have been contending outlooks of national identity, this has been the central character of the political life in Taiwan. China still believes that despite the political separation of Taiwan, the State remains to be a part of China regarding independence and territory.According to history, Taiwan has been a portion of China long before anyone laid claims over it. Despite the fact that Taiwan was surrendered to Japan after Chins was defeated in the war in 1895, it was later reverted to China in the year 1945 when Japan was overpowered in the second world war. Research has proved that the main cause of the current separation between Taiwan and China is as a result of the war amongst the Kuomintang (KMT) and the communist which was triggered in 1940.Similarly, most of the Chinese people tend to believe that the attempted intervention from the United States military brought about the Korean War in the year 1950. This war was seen as the critical factor, which hindered China from liberating Taiwan and that was the beginning of all the problems between China and Taiwan. During that era, the corrupt KMT and the authoritarian government had run away to Taiwan, and this was after it was defeated in the communist war. Regardless of the situation, the government of China believes strongly that the best way to control, contain and resolve the Taiwan problem is through; negotiation, dialogue, and consultation[4]. However, China has declared severally that it is willing and ready to fight a war to defend its territorial integrity. This will only happen if Taiwan tries to move towards independence by itself through; self-declaration of autonomy or through intervention by other external bodies (international intervention). China does not want war; it desires peace since it wants to unify itself with Taiwan which is their primary desire.On the other hand, the United States argues that Taiwan as a State has been able to attain de facto independence. Their opinion on this matter is that Taiwan should not push China to the edge, through seeking legal independence. This is because if Taiwan pushes for legal independence, that act might trigger a war in the Chinese mainland. Correspondingly, since China has grown in power and its opposition of the independence of Taiwan, the United States believes that even if Taiwan gains independence, the international community would not recognize the independence of Taiwan formally.In conclusion, the main reason as to why the people of Taiwan are seeking independence is because; they have suffered for quite a long span of time under the oppression and governance of the KMT presidents. As a result, the Taiwan citizens no longer trust the government of China. The existence of political reforms created a platform for the activists to promote Taiwan’s independence and fan the anti-china sentiments. Due to the physical separation that exists between China and Taiwan, the people of Taiwan were able to create a new political identity, and they began identifying Taiwan as an independent State rather than the Republic of China. The political pressure in the government of China on matters related to Taiwan’s independence is growing at a tremendous rate. If any wrong move is made by Taiwan, then China shall retaliate, and this will lead to a deadly war between Taiwan and China[5].Finally, basing our arguments on the economic factors, Taiwan must realize that its economic performance depends on China. Taiwan happens to break away from China; it would suffer from an economic breakdown thus causing the economy of Taiwan to collapse[6]. For Taiwan to grow more, it must make sure that it maintains the financial ties which exist between it and China. This is because the firm financial ties with China create more special opportunities, even more than those presented by other nations. Political leaders of Taiwan should consider the option of talks and negotiations with China, so that they may be able to come to a common agreement on how to resolve the issues that exist between Taiwan and China.Works CitedHe, Baogang. Governing Taiwan and Tibet. Edinburgh University Press, 2015.Mahbubani, Kishore. “Understanding China.” Foreign Affairs(2005): 49-60.Niou, Emerson MS. “Understanding Taiwan independence and its policy implications.” Asian Survey 44.4 (2004): 555-567.Sheng, Lijun. China’s dilemma: the Taiwan issue. Vol. 2. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2001.[1]Sheng, Lijun. China’s dilemma: the Taiwan issue. Vol. 2. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2001.[2]Sheng, Lijun. China’s dilemma: the Taiwan issue. Vol. 2. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2001.[3]He, Baogang. Governing Taiwan and Tibet. Edinburgh University Press, 2015.[4]He, Baogang. Governing Taiwan and Tibet. Edinburgh University Press, 2015.[5]Niou, Emerson MS. “Understanding Taiwan independence and its policy implications.” Asian Survey 44.4 (2004): 555-567.[6]Mahbubani, Kishore. “Understanding China.” Foreign Affairs(2005): 49-60.

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