Academic journal article Military Review

TAIWAN IN TRANSFORMATION: 1895-2005: The Challenge of a New Democracy to an Old Civilization

Academic journal article Military Review

TAIWAN IN TRANSFORMATION: 1895-2005: The Challenge of a New Democracy to an Old Civilization

Article excerpt

TAIWAN IN TRANSFORMATION: 1895-2005: The Challenge of a New Democracy to an Old Civilization, Chun-chieh Huang, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, NJ, 2007,252 pages, $49.95.

Taiwan in Transformation is a lively history of the island that begins in 1895, when Taiwan was ceded to Japan, and ends in 2005, with the pressure increasing on Taiwan either to declare its independence or return to its roots as a Chinese province.

The author, Chun-chieh Huang, describes the nostalgia of the Taiwanese for their mother country, China, that was aroused by the Japanese occupation and then shattered as a result of the corruption, discrimination, and abuses of power of the Chinese Nationalist government in the 1950s. Also discussed are Taiwan's historic transition from an agrarian to an industrial society-the "economic miracle" that led to the rise of the middle class and the creation of a middle-class intelligentsia-and the changes in culture and attitude that ensued.

It was during the great economic change, in the late 1980s and 1990s, that the Taiwanese began to resent the heavy-handed tactics of the mainland's oppressive Communist regime. Today, the Taiwanese are faced with the challenge of developing a mature relationship with the People's Republic that can survive the pressure for either a quick unification or a quick declaration of independence. Author Huang believes that only a solid understanding of the historical experiences of both the Taiwanese and mainland Chinese can point the way to a solution that will enable peaceful coexistence. …

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