Taiwan: Nation-State or Province?

By John F. Copper | Go to book overview

tions. Also, Taiwan's political culture is basically conservative (in the sense of slowing and moderating political change), which dampens radical policies or agendas. Still others attribute Taiwan's democratic transformation to rapid economic growth, pressure from the United States, and a secure environment provided by an island geography and U.S. security guarantees. Quite a few credit local government as the seedbed of democracy.

Students of Taiwan's polity also give the government and most political leaders high marks for planning and policy making functions. They generally agree that Taiwan's "miracle" economic growth could not have occurred without astute planning by the government. In other words, it did not happen by accident. In the past three decades there have been manifold increases in responsiveness to public needs and demands. At the same time, the government did not become expensive to operate and a burden on economic development, as it has in many Western countries. Taxes remain low by Western standards, yet government services have increased.

Public opinion surveys indicate a high level of satisfaction with the government--extremely high compared with similar polls in Western political systems. This, in fact, leads to speculation that a new kind of pride or nationalist identity is developing in Taiwan based on its successes at political modernization. Taiwan can certainly claim unique achievements politically, and many people on the island believe its experience makes it a model that other countries can and should emulate. The notion of a "political miracle" in Taiwan is indeed accepted by both political leaders and the populace.


NOTES
1.
For a discussion of China's political culture, see June Teufel Dreyer, China's Political System: Modernization and Transformation ( Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1996), chapter 2; Kenneth Lieberthal, Governing China: From Revolution Through Reform ( New York: W.W. Norton, 1995), chapter 1; James R. Townsend and Brantley Womack, Politics Chin ( Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1986), chapter 1 and 2; James C. F. Wang, Contemporary Chinese Politics: An Introduction (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1999), chapter 1.
2.
Little has been written in detail on the subject of Taiwan's political culture. For some discussion on this topic, see Area Handbook for the Republic of China ( Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1982), chapter 16; Christopher Hughes, Taiwan and Chinese Nationalism: National Identity and Status in International Society ( London: Routledge, 1997), chapter 1; Gary Klintworth, New Taiwan, New China: Taiwan's Changing Role in the Asia-Pacific Region ( New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995), chapter 1; Alan M. Wachman , Taiwan: National Identity and Democratization (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1994), chapter 1.
3.
For details, see John F. Copper with George P. Chen, Taiwan's Elections: Political Development and Democratization in the Republic of China ( Baltimore, Md.: University of Maryland School of Law, 1984), chapter 2.
4.
For details, see A. James Gregor with Maria Hsia Chang and Andrew B. Zimmerman, Ideology and Development: Sun Yat-sen and the Economic History of Taiwan ( Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Center for Chinese Studies, 1981).

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Taiwan: Nation-State or Province?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Photographs ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1- The Land And The People 1
  • Notes 18
  • 2- History 21
  • Notes 48
  • 3- Society and Culture 53
  • Notes 86
  • 4- Political System 91
  • Notes 123
  • 5- The Economy 127
  • Notes 153
  • 6- Foreign And Military Policies 157
  • Notes 187
  • 7- The Future 191
  • Selected Bibliography 211
  • Index 219
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