Taiwan in a Time of Transition

Taiwan in a Time of Transition

Taiwan in a Time of Transition

Taiwan in a Time of Transition

Excerpt

Harvey. J. Feldman

Most of the papers in this volume (six of the nine to be exact) were prepared originally for theThird International Congress of the Professors World Peace Academy, "China in a New Era: Continuity and Change," and were presented at the panel on "Taiwan and the Pacific Basin." When that conference was held, in August, 1987, the process of democratization was newly launched onTaiwan. In the parliamentary elections held the previous December, an opposition party had been allowed to compete for the first time and managed to win almost 25 percent of the vote. There was no precedent for this in Chinese political culture: not during the centuries of imperial rule, the years of Sun Yat-sen's and Chiang Kai-shek's republic on the mainland, or in the People's Republic of China.

At the same time as these momentous political developments were taking place, economic growth had propelled Taiwan into the ranks of the industrialized world and its people were enjoying unprecedented wealth, with GNP per capita in that year topping US $3,500. In less than 40 years, Taiwan had gone from an agricultural backwater, where an income of $500 a year was considered great wealth, to one of the world's premier trading nations, with an affluent, well-educated and politically sophisticated population.

Clearly, Taiwan-more formally the Republic of China (ROC)--deserved a volume of its own in the series that was to emanate from the PWPA conference.

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