Pacific-Asia and the Future of the World-System

By Ravi Arvind Palat | Go to book overview

8
ASCENT THROUGH NATIONAL INTEGRATION: THE CHINESE TRIANGLE OF MAINLAND- TAIWAN-HONG KONG

Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao and Alvin Y. So


INTRODUCTION: MAINLAND CHINA, TAIWAN, AND HONG KONG BEFORE THE 1980s

Before China was incorporated into the capitalist world-economy by the mid- nineteenth century, there was only one Chinese state ( So, 1984). The Qing Empire ruled over both Taiwan and Hong Kong. In the mid-nineteenth century, however, the Qing Empire lost the Opium War and was forced to give up sovereignty over Hong Kong to Great Britain. In the late nineteenth century, the Qing Empire lost another war and handed over Taiwan to Japan, which ruled the island until the end of World War II. In 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) captured the Chinese mainland and forced the rival Nationalist Party (Guomindang, or GMD) to retreat to Taiwan. With U.S. military backing, the GMD was able to survive and build up the Taiwan state. In short, the Chinese nation, after its incorporation into the world-economy, was divided into three separate states: the socialist state on the mainland (the People's Republic of China or PRC), the authoritarian state in Taiwan, and the colonial state in Hong Kong.

Between the 1950s and the 1970s, these three states pursued different developmental policies. On the mainland, the socialist-Leninist state endorsed Maoism as its ideology and mobilized poor peasants and workers as its supporters. Consequently, the socialist state collectivized agriculture, nationalized urban industry, put politics in command, and focused more on issues of equality than on economic growth. In addition, the socialist state pursued the goal of self-reliance, declaring that it needed no help from either the capitalist core states or the socialist semiperipheral states and adopting a closed-door policy for almost three decades ( Blecher, 1986).

In Taiwan, the authoritarian capitalist state was highly committed to the promotion of economic development. Learning from its mistakes on the mainland,

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