Politics of Taiwan
- LAST REVIEWED: 11 September 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 25 February 2016
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0041
- LAST REVIEWED: 11 September 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 25 February 2016
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0041
This entity is known today by its citizens and a small number of states as the Republic of China; by Beijing as Taiwan, Province of China; by the World Bank as the “Customs Territory of Taiwan, Kinmen, and Matsu”; and by most of the world as simply “Taiwan.” The people who inhabit the main and surrounding islands of Taiwan have been subject to internal and external political, economic, and strategic forces that have resulted in processes giving rise to the “Taiwan Miracle.” Since the end of Japanese colonialism in 1945 and the Nationalist government’s retreat to Taipei in 1949, Taiwan has transitioned from single-party rule to liberal democracy and impoverished state to globalization powerhouse, and it remains one of the most potentially explosive sovereignty disputes and diplomatic complexities faced by the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Few cases highlight the intertwined causalities of economic, political, and social development than Taiwan, and perhaps even fewer are as well documented. While the 2008 return to power of the Chinese Nationalist Party inaugurated a new détente between Beijing and Taipei, historical reconciliation, national identity, Taiwan’s future status, and the direction of Taiwan’s liberal democracy remain unresolved.
Despite the shifting political, economic, and diplomatic winds in Taiwan, several historical factors remain constant. General overviews, such as Tu 2003 and Rubinstein 2015, commonly address the origins of divided society resulting from waves of migration and Japanese colonialism. Copper 2009 and Roy 2003 address the impact of the 1949 diaspora to Taiwan from mainland China, with Kerr 1965 providing extensive detail. Taipei’s increasing struggle for international recognition (including the United Nations seat), the evolution of the regime from fascist to liberal democracy, and economic development and national identity are examined in Chao and Myers 1998, Copper 2015, Fell 2012, Gold 1986, and Sutter 1988. Some treatments summarize developments over particular periods of time, such as Tien 1989 and Lee and Wang 2003. The Republican period on the mainland is most often treated as a separate literature. Taiwan’s political development may be broadly divided into colonial, authoritarian, transition, and democratic periods, with most of the sources below touching on each.
Chao, Linda, and Ramon H. Myers. The First Chinese Democracy: Political Life in the Republic of China on Taiwan. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
Addresses the rise of democracy in Taiwan leading to the first direct presidential elections in 1996. Focuses on the liberalization of the state and decision-making processes that increasingly allowed for the mobilization, organization, and legalization of political opposition.
Copper, John F. Taiwan: Nation-State or Province? Boulder, CO: Westview, 2009.
Broad survey of the economic, cultural, political, and diplomatic development in Taiwan primarily since 1949. Latest edition reviews the Chen administration’s policies toward Beijing, Taiwan’s national identity, and consequences for relations with Beijing and Washington, DC.
Copper, John F. Historical Dictionary of Taiwan (Republic of China). 4th ed. Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield, 2015.
An encyclopedic reference source for important people, organizations, events, and locations, largely focused on the time period after 1945. Begins with a short chronology of events on Taiwan with additional descriptive vignettes about political change and social development under Chiang Kai-shek and subsequent presidents.
Fell, Dafydd. Government and Politics in Taiwan. New York: Routledge, 2012.
A comprehensive overview of political change on Taiwan since 1945 with attention to key topics, such as factional and identity politics, elections, and party politics after 2000. Fell adds to the standard overview with additional chapters on social movements and welfare politics on Taiwan.
Gold, Thomas B. State and Society in the Taiwan Miracle. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1986.
One of the first systematic studies of the “developmental state” on Taiwan. Utilizing the historical-structural approach developed for Latin America, Gold explores the relationship between the colonial and postcolonial state and Taiwan populace and how this relationship succeeded in integrating Taiwan into the global economy.
Kerr, George H. Formosa Betrayed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965.
Still considered a controversial account, this is one of the earliest and most detailed American records of the relocation of the Nationalist government to Taiwan and its consolidation from 1945 to 1957. Kerr’s account of the 28 February 1947 uprising and its aftermath is one of the richest English-language narratives.
Lee, Wei-chin, and T. Y. Wang, eds. Sayonara to the Lee Teng-Hui Era: Politics in Taiwan, 1988–2000. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2003.
Encapsulation of the political transformation on Taiwan under the Lee Teng-hui presidency from 1988 to 2000. Addresses the transactional nature of democratization, Taipei-Beijing relations, and Taiwan’s political economy.
Roy, Denny. Taiwan: A Political History. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003.
A broad historical survey of Taiwan’s internal political development and shifting external relations since Japanese colonization. Emphasizes the shaping of Taiwan’s development within the context of the great power struggles.
Rubinstein, Murray, ed. Taiwan: A New History. New York: M. E. Sharpe, 2015.
Offers historical and political overview of Taiwan’s development and rule during late Ming and Qing, colonial, and post retrocession. Provides special attention to the development of localized culture on Taiwan as well as the history of the island’s aboriginal people.
Sutter, Robert G. Taiwan: Entering the 21st Century. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1988.
Early work that explores the “Taiwan Miracle” within domestic and international political economy contexts. Echoes the strategic positioning of Taiwan as a dependency state within the expanding global economy.
Tien, Hung-mao. The Great Transition: Political and Social Change in the Republic of China. Taipei: SMC, 1989.
One of the most detailed explorations of regime and party development on Taiwan since the KMT retreat in 1949. Explores the economic, social, and political transitions occurring under the “Taiwan Miracle.”
Tu, Cheng-sheng. Ilha Formosa: The Emergence of Taiwan on the World Scene in the 17th Century. Taipei: National Palace Productions, 2003.
A brief synopsis of the dynastic and colonial struggles and migrations that continue to shape Taiwan’s social and political relations and that had brought Taiwan onto the world stage by the 1700s.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Advanced Democracies, Electoral System Reform in
- Advanced Democracies, Public Opinion and Public Policy in
- Advertising and Election Campaigns in the United States
- Africa, Comparative Politics of
- American Indian Politics
- Arab-Israel Conflict, The
- Arendt, Hannah
- Aristotle's Political Thought
- Arms Race Modeling
- Australia and New Zealand, Comparative Politics of
- Authoritarianism in Russia
- Bicameralism in Stable Democracies
- Big Data in Political Science Research
- Biopolitics and State Regulation of Human Life
- Brazilian Political Development
- Business-State Relations in Europe
- Campaign Finance in the Era of Super-PACS
- Canadian Foreign Policy
- Candidate Emergence and Recruitment
- Channels of Electoral Representation in Advanced Industria...
- China's One-Child Policy
- China-Taiwan Relations
- Chinese Communist Party
- Chinese Economic Policy
- Chinese Nationalism
- Civil Society in South Asia
- Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Civil-Military Relations in Asia
- Civil-Military Relations in Latin America
- Class in American Politics
- Comparative Capitalism Theory
- Comparative Industrial Relations in Europe
- Comparative Politics of Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bis...
- Comparative Politics of Chile and Uruguay
- Comparative Politics of Federalism
- Comparative Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
- Congress, Defense, and Foreign Policy
- Congressional Reassertion of Authority
- Conservative Litigation Strategies and Groups in US Judici...
- Corruption in China
- Cosmopolitan Political Thought
- Crisis of European Integration in Historical Perspective, ...
- Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School
- Cuban Political Development
- Cycles of Protest
- Democracy and Authoritarianism in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Democracy and Dictatorship in Central Asia
- Democracy in Latin America
- Democratic Citizenship
- Democratic Consolidation
- Democratic Peace Theory
- Democratic Theory
- Democratization in Africa
- Democratization in Central America
- Democratization in Mexico
- Development of Survey Research
- Direct Democracy in the United States
- East Africa, Politics of
- Economic Voting
- Election Forecasting
- Election Laws in Democracies
- Electoral and Party System Development in Sub-Saharan Afri...
- Electoral Change in Latin America
- Emotion and Racial Attitudes in Contemporary American Poli...
- Environmental Governance
- Environmental Politics among Advanced Industrial Democraci...
- Ethnic Diasporas and US Foreign Policy
- Ethnic Politics
- Eurasia, Comparative Politics of
- European Social Democracy
- European Union, Politics of the
- Failed and Weak States in Theory and Practice
- Far-Right Parties in Europe
- Federalism in the United States
- Feminist Political Thought
- Field Experiments
- Filibuster, The
- Gender and Electoral Politics in the United States
- Gender and International Relations
- Gender, Behavior, and Representation
- Global Inequality
- Globalization and the Welfare State
- Globalization, Health Crises, and Health Care
- Governance in Africa
- Governmental Responses to Political Corruption
- Gridlock and Divided Government in the U.S.
- Historiography of Twentieth-Century American Conservatism,...
- Hobbes’s Political Thought
- Hume's Political Thought
- Hybrid Regimes
- Identity and Political Behavior
- Ideological Reasoning in Politics
- Immigrant Incorporation in Canada
- Immigrant Incorporation in Western Europe
- Immigration and International Relations
- Immigration Politics and Policy in the United States
- Impact of Campaign Contributions on Congressional Behavior...
- Implicit Attitudes in Public Opinion
- Income Dynamics and Politics in North America and Europe
- Income Inequality and Advanced Democracies
- Income Inequality in the United States, The Politics of
- Indian Democracy
- Indigenous Rights and Governance in Canada, Australia, and...
- Informal Practices of Accountability in Urban Africa
- Institutional Change in Advanced Democracies
- Intellectual Property in International Relations
- Interest Groups and Inequality in the United States
- Interest Groups in American Politics
- International Conflict Management
- International Criminal Justice
- International Law
- International NGOs
- International Political Economy of Illegal Drugs
- Internet and Politics, The
- Iran, Political Development of
- Israeli Politics
- Judicial Supremacy and National Judicial Review
- Judiciaries and Politics in East Asia
- Kant's Political Thought
- Labor Politics in East Asia
- Land Reform in Latin America
- Latin America, Democratic Transitions in
- Latin America, Environmental Policy and Politics in
- Latin America, Guerrilla Insurgencies in
- Latin America, Social Movements in
- Legal Mobilization
- LGBT Politics in the United States
- Liberal Pluralism
- Local Governments in the United States
- Machiavelli’s Political Thought
- Marx's Political Thought
- Mass Incarceration and US Politics
- Mechanisms of Representation
- Media Effects in Politics
- Media Politics in South Asia
- Minority Political Engagement and Representation in the Un...
- Modern Dynastic Rule
- Modern Elections and Voting Behavior in Europe
- National Interbranch Politics in the United States
- NATO, Politics of
- Negative Campaigning
- Neoclassical Realism
- New Institutionalism Revisited, The
- North America, Comparative Politics of
- Oil, Politics of
- Origins and Impact of Proportional Representation, The
- Outcomes of Social Movements and Protest Activities
- Partisan and Nonpartisan Theories of Organization in the U...
- Partisan Polarization in the US Congress
- Partisan Polarization in the US Electorate
- Party Networks
- Peace Operations
- Personality and Politics
- Plato's Political Thought
- Policy Responsiveness to Public Opinion
- Political Economy of Financial Regulation in Advanced Ind...
- Political Economy of India
- Political Economy of Taxation, The
- Political Geography in American Politics
- Political Obligation
- Political Parties and Electoral Politics of Japan
- Political Thought, Hegel's
- Political Thought of the American Founders, The
- Politics and Policy in Contemporary Argentina
- Politics of Anti-Americanism
- Politics of Class Formation
- Politics of Disaster Prevention and Management
- Politics of Financial Crises
- Politics of Foreign Direct Investment in South Asia
- Politics of Higher Education in the U.S.
- Politics of Internal Conquest in the United States and Can...
- Politics of Japan
- Politics of Natural Disasters, The
- Politics of North Korea
- Politics of Science and Technology
- Politics of South Africa
- Politics of Southern Africa
- Postcolonialism and International Relations
- Post-Communist Democratization
- Preferential Trade Agreements, Politics of
- Presidential Persuasion and Public Opinion
- Presidential Primaries and Caucuses
- Private Governance
- Public Opinion in Advanced Industrial Democracies
- Public Opinion in New Democracies and Developing Nations
- Public Presidency, US Elections, and the Permanent Campaig...
- Qualitative Methods, The Renewal of
- Race in American Political Thought
- Racial and Ethnic Descriptive Representation in the United...
- Regime Transitions and Variation in Post-Communist Europe
- Regional Integration in Latin America
- Regional Security
- Regulating Food Production
- Religion in American Political Thought
- Religion in Contemporary Political Thought
- Religion, Politics, and Civic Engagement in the United Sta...
- Rousseau's Political Thought
- Rule of Law
- Russia and the West
- Science and Democracy
- Social Policy and Immigrant Integration
- South Korea, Politics of
- Spectacle, The
- State Building in Sub-Saharan Africa
- State Formation
- State, The Nature of the
- Supreme Court of the United States, The
- Systemic Theories of International Politics
- Taiwan, Politics of
- Tea Party, The
- The New Right in American Political Thought
- Transitional Justice
- Transnational Private Regulation
- Turkey, Political Development of
- US Military Bases Abroad
- US Presidency, The
- Voter Turnout
- Welfare State Development
- Welfare State Development in Latin America
- Welfare State Development in Western Europe
- West Africa, Politics of
- Worker Politics in China
- Youth and Generational Differences in US Politics