суббота, 21 марта 2009 г.

Postcard from Taiwan

Taiwan is an island in East Asia. "Taiwan" is also commonly used to refer to the area governed by the Republic of China (ROC), which governs the island of Taiwan, Diaoyu Island, Paracel Islands, Itu Aba Island among Nansha Qundao(Islands) known as Spratly Islands, Orchid Island and Green Island in the Pacific off the Taiwan coast, the Penghu islands in the Taiwan Strait, and Kinmen and the Matsu Islands off the coast of Mainland China which are both part of Fujian province in the People's Republic of China and Republic of China. In the aftermath of World War II, the ROC gained control of Taiwan from the Japanese in 1945, but lost control of mainland China to Chinese Communist Party 4 years later in 1949 as a result of the Chinese Civil War. The Kuomintang (KMT) government then retreated to the island and moved the capital to Taipei. The island groups of Taiwan and Penghu (except the municipalities of Taipei and Kaohsiung) are officially administered by the ROC as the Taiwan Province. In practice, almost all government power is exercised at the national and local (city/county) levels.

The People's Republic of China (PRC) claims Taiwan as its province although the PRC has never controlled Taiwan or any of the current territory commonly referred to as "Taiwan". Taiwan had been a part of China for hundreds of years until Japanese took it over in 1895, it is currently under the administration of the Republic of China since 1945. In 1895, Japan took control of Taiwan following the military defeat of the Qing Dynasty in First Sino-Japanese War. Taiwan later fell under Chinese control again after Japan surrendered to the Allies subsequent to Japan's military defeat in World War II. The PRC considers itself the successor state of the Republic of China and therefore entitled to all its holdings, including Taiwan.

The main island of Taiwan, also known as Formosa (from Portuguese (Ilha) Formosa, meaning "beautiful (island)"), is located in East Asia off the coast of China, southwest of the main islands of Japan but directly west of the end of Japan's Ryukyu Islands, and north-northwest of the Philippines. It is bound to the east by the Pacific Ocean, to the south by the South China Sea and the Luzon Strait, to the west by the Taiwan Strait and to the north by the East China Sea. The island is 394 kilometers (245 miles) long and 144 kilometers (89 miles) wide and consists of steep mountains covered by tropical and subtropical vegetation.

Though for decades following the re-establishment of the Republic of China in Taiwan, it was politically a single-party authoritarian state, the ROC has since evolved into a flawed democracy in Asia. Its rapid economic growth in the decades after World War 2 and the government's relocation to Taiwan has brought it to an advanced economy status as one of the Four Asian Tigers. This economic rise is known as the Taiwan Miracle. It is categorized as an advanced economy by the IMF and high-income economy by the world bank. Its technology industry plays a key role in the global economy. Taiwanese companies manufacture a giant portion of the world's consumer electronics, although most of them are made in their factories in mainland China.

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