Republic of China (Taiwan)

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中華民國 (臺灣)

Zhōnghuá Mínguó (Táiwān)
Republic of China (Taiwan)
Flag of the Republic of China
National emblem of the Republic of China
flag National emblem
Official language Standard Chinese ;
recognized national languages :
Minnan or Taiwanese ,
Hakka ,
16 Formosa languages ​​of the recognized indigenous peoples
Seat of government Taipei
State and form of government semi-presidential republic
Head of state President
Tsai Ing-wen
Head of government Prime Minister
Su Tseng-chang
surface 36,179 km²
population 23,574,274 (as of June 2018)
Population density 651 ( 10th ) inhabitants per km²
Population development   + 0.20% (2016)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 589.9 billion ( 21st )
  • $ 1,252.0 billion ( 22. )
  • $ 25.008 ( 39th )
  • $ 53,074 ( 18. )
Human Development Index ¹ 0.907 (21st) (2017)
currency New Taiwan Dollar NT $ ( TWD )
founding January 1, 1912
National anthem San Min Chu-i

unofficially also: flag song
National holiday October 10 ( Wuchang Uprising 1911)
Time zone UTC +8 = CET +7 (no  daylight saving time )
License Plate Rc
ISO 3166 TW , TWN, 158
Internet TLD .tw , .台灣and .台湾
Telephone code +886
¹As a non-member of the UN, the Republic of China is not included in the Human Development Report. The national statistical authority therefore uses the same methods to calculate its own value for the HDI. The placement in the leaderboard reflects the rank the Republic of China would receive if it were included.
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The Republic of China ( Chinese 中華民國, Pinyin Zhōnghuá Mínguó , IPA ( standard Chinese) [ʈ͡ʂʊ́ŋxu̯ɑ̌ mǐnku̯ɔ̌] ), widely known as Taiwan , in Switzerland and Austria officially called Taiwan ( Chinese Taipei ) , or Republic of China in Taiwan , is a democratic island nation in East Asia . Its territory consists of the main island of Taiwan (99%) and other smaller islands . The technically highly developed industrial state has a population of around 23.5 million people.

The Republic of China was proclaimed in Nanking on January 1, 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution in mainland China . The island of Taiwan, under the rule of the Japanese Empire from 1895 to 1945 , fell to the Republic of China only after the Second World War . In 1949 - after the defeat in the civil war against the Communist Party and the establishment of the People's Republic of China on the mainland - the government, elites and armed forces of the Republic of China withdrew to the island of Taiwan. There, the Kuomintang state party, led by Chiang Kai-Shek , established a one-party rule that lasted for several decades , while maintaining the state of emergency . The second half of the 20th century was characterized by high economic growth , and towards the end of the 1980s the Kuomintang initiated gradual democratization . According to various democracy scales , the Republic of China is by far the most democratic state in Asia today, comparable to Germany or Switzerland.

Even after the proclamation of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the government of the Republic of China initially represented the Chinese state at the United Nations and was a permanent member of the UN Security Council . As a result of the People's Republic's one-China policy , more and more states broke off their diplomatic relations with the Republic of China, which in 1971 also had to surrender its UN membership to the People's Republic. In 1979 the USA finally broke off diplomatic contacts after they had established official relations with the People's Republic ( Taiwan Relations Act ). Only a minority of the international community today has formal diplomatic relations with the government in Taipei . The position of the Republic of China under international law is still controversial today and is the subject of the Taiwan conflict .

Country name

The official name is still the Republic of China , but the name Taiwan is common both inside and outside the country , and this goes hand in hand with an increasing emphasis on Taiwanese independence. Government agencies are now also using the name Taiwan and auxiliary constructions such as Republic of China for Taiwan or Republic of China (Taiwan) in texts aimed at international audiences in order to do justice to this development. Manufactured items are also labeled as “Made in Taiwan, ROC” (ROC: Republic of China) or “Made in Taiwan”.

The unresolved Taiwan conflict makes it difficult for the Republic of China to join international organizations and participate in international events, regardless of whether the Republic of China or Taiwan is used as a country name. In the last few decades, therefore, additional terms have emerged to avoid this problem. Chinese Taipei , under which the Republic of China joined the International Olympic Committee in 1979 and took part in the Olympic Games , was particularly popular . Other international organizations, especially - but not only - in the field of sport, have adopted this regulation.

Citizens of Taiwan are Taiwanese. The name Taiwanese is also established. Similarly, matters relating to Taiwan are referred to as Taiwanese or Taiwanese.


National territory

The administrative area of ​​the Republic of China has covered a total area of ​​36,179 km² since 1949, which is roughly the size of Baden-Württemberg .

The main part is the island of Taiwan in the western Pacific with an area of ​​35,801 km². Other areas are:

  • the Pescadoren (Penghu) archipelago ,
  • the Matsu Islands ,
  • the island of Quemoy (Kinmen) with the islands of Großqiu and Kleinqiu as well
  • some more small islands.

Adjacent or touched territories are Japan ( Ryūkyū Islands ) in the north and east , the People's Republic of China in the west, and the Philippines in the south .

Taiwan island

The island of Taiwan is divided into two major landscapes:

  • The western part along the coast (about a quarter of the country) is lowland. This coastal plain is between 8 and 40 km wide.
  • Three quarters of the country's area are in the center and east of the country and are covered by three forested high mountain ranges of volcanic origin that run almost parallel to each other and are up to almost 4,000 m high (62 peaks are over 3,000 m high); in the southwest, mountain foothills reach as far as the South China Sea .


Population pyramid 2016: Taiwan is aging rapidly
The population is mainly concentrated in the western coastal regions (data status: 2011; in inhabitants / km²):
> 40,000 20,001 - 40,000 10,001 - 20,000 5,001 - 10,000 3,001 - 5,000 1,001 - 3,000 501 - 1,000 301 - 500 101 - 300 0 - 100



Taiwan's population grew rapidly from 7 to 23 million between 1950 and 2015, which is significantly stronger in percentage terms than in the People's Republic of China. In the meantime, however, the population growth rate is only 0.2% annually. The median age of the Taiwanese population in 2016 was 40.2 years. 13% of the population was under 15 years old and 13% of the population was over 65 years old. The birth rate in 2016 was one of the lowest in the world at 1.12 children per woman (comparative figures for other Asian countries in 2015: Hong Kong 1.20, South Korea 1.24, Singapore 1.24, Japan 1.46). Taiwan thus had a lower birth rate than the People's Republic of China, although it had never implemented a one-child policy . Taiwan is therefore one of the fastest aging societies in the world and the average age could rise to 56 by 2050, which is likely to pose a major challenge to pension and health systems.

Future development of the population, demographic change

The National Statistical Office of Taiwan expects the death rate to exceed the birthrate from 2021 to 2025, so that from then on the population will decrease (unless there is major net immigration). Around this time, Taiwan's population will peak at 23.7 to 23.8 million. The population projections for the year 2060 range between 17.3 and 19.7 million, about as many inhabitants as Taiwan had in the early 1980s. According to these forecasts, the working-age population (15–64 years) will decrease from 17.2 million to 9.6 million between 2022 and 2060 and the number of retirees (> 64 years) will increase from 3.2 million to 7.2 million .

Population development in millions of inhabitants
year population year population
1950 07,623,000 1990 20,312,000
1955 09,022,000 1995 21,229,000
1960 10,702,000 2000 21,840,000
1965 12,650,000 2005 22,603,000
1970 14,693,000 2010 23,102,000
1975 16,233,000 2015 23,486,000
1980 17,717,000 2030 24,151,000
1985 19,130,000 2050 22,771,000

Source: UN, figures for 2030 and 2050 are forecasts

Immigration to Taiwan

Although Taiwan has historically been a pronounced immigration country - around 95 percent of the population now living there are descendants of immigrants who came to the island in the past 350 years - the Republic of China has had relatively restrictive immigration policies for a long time since 1949. There was hardly any significant immigration from other Asian countries to Taiwan. After democratization in the early 1990s, immigration to Taiwan gradually increased. Between 1992 and 2015, the number of non-Taiwanese citizens living in Taiwan increased from around 44,400 (around 0.2% of the total population) to 637,800 (around 2.8%). In view of the foreseeable demographic changes, government circles have been thinking out loud about direct support for qualified immigration for several years.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, who was newly elected in 2016, presented the plan for the " New Southbound Policy ", which will improve relations with 18 Southeast Asian countries, including the ASEAN countries , Australia, New Zealand and India. should intensify. This plan also provides for an increased exchange of people, specifically facilitated immigration to Taiwan from these countries. Other government programs provide for the easier issuing of permanent residence permits for foreign skilled workers, the easier naturalization of foreign wives, the retention of the previous citizenship for the naturalization of highly qualified workers and other measures. Commentators also pointed out, however, that large-scale immigration would confront entire Taiwanese society with extensive changes and previously unknown phenomena.

Zodiac signs and birth rate

The signs of the zodiac ( branches of the earth ) of the Chinese calendar , which are repeated in a 12-year cycle, traditionally have an influence on the birth rate. In the years of the dragon (including 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012), a promising zodiac sign, the birth rate was always particularly high, since people born in a dragon year were traditionally ascribed to desirable character traits and fortune (luck, power, intelligence , Life force). In 2012, Taiwan recorded 229,481 births - the number since 2003, although government incentives to increase the birth rate may also have played a role. In the years of the tiger (including 1986, 1998, 2010), however, the number of births tended to be lower, since people born in these years are attributed courage and drive, but also a difficult character. The 2010 birth rate in Taiwan was an all-time low of 166,886, and it was also one of the lowest rates in the world.


There are around 23 million people living in what is now the Republic of China, the majority of whom call themselves Taiwanese and are also called that abroad. The largest group of the population is made up of 98 percent people of predominantly Han Chinese descent, who are individually subdivided into the subgroups of Hoklo (70%), Hakka (14%) and Waishengren (in German often called "Mainland Chinese", 14%). The first groups are the descendants of immigrants who came to Taiwan from mainland China mainly between the 17th and 19th centuries and who sometimes mixed with the indigenous population. The Waishengren are people who moved to Taiwan from all parts of China, or their descendants , mainly between 1945 and 1949, but especially in 1949 as a result of the defeated Kuomintang in the Chinese Civil War .

In addition to these groups with roots in mainland China, members of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan live mainly in remote regions ; they now make up around 2% of the total population. Since the end of the Second World War, they have been assimilated to a large extent by the majority of the population of Chinese descent, but efforts have been made to preserve the culture and languages ​​of the indigenous people since the mid-1990s. Officially recognized as ethnic minorities are the 16 peoples of the Amis , Atayal , Bunun , Kavalan , Paiwan , Puyuma , Rukai , Saisiyat , Sakizaya , Tau , Thao , Tsou , Truku , the Sediq (since 2008) as well as the Hla'alua and Kanakanavu ( since 2014).

The Republic of China has about 640 inhabitants per square kilometer to Bangladesh , the second highest population density of all large countries in the world. As a result of Taiwan's high proportion of mountains, the population is concentrated in the western plains and in the north of the island around the capital Taipei . The rate of urbanization there is correspondingly high, with an increasing concentration on the agglomeration of Taipei. Further settlement areas can be found around Taichung and Tainan along the west coast to the southern port city and second largest metropolis Kaohsiung . Around 75 percent of the population live in cities.

Languages ​​and writing

Most Commonly Spoken Language by Parish (2010):
Mandarin Min-Nan Hakka Austronesian Languages

Language use by year of birth: while the Taiwanese language still clearly dominated among those born before 1945, a continuous increase in the use of standard Chinese has been observed among younger generations since 1945


After the Republic of China took over the island of Taiwan in 1945, Standard Chinese (the standard variety of Mandarin ) became the only official language. Before, under Japanese rule, it was Japanese. However, the majority of the long-established population spoke Taiwanese , a variant of the southern Min ( Min Nan ). There were also minorities of Hakka speakers and the Austronesian native languages ​​( Formosa languages ). Also supported by the influx of millions of immigrants from mainland China at the end of the Chinese civil war , standard Chinese quickly became the language of all official business and the lingua franca of Taiwan. This trend towards standard Chinese has continued into the present. Other Chinese languages ​​such as Cantonese , which came to Taiwan with mainland Chinese refugees, have all but disappeared today. The other languages ​​mentioned were initially not funded by the state. This only changed gradually after the democratization that began in the late 1980s. The traditional regional languages ​​were then given increasing opportunities to develop in public space.

Recognizing and promoting Taiwan's multilingualism was a particular concern of the DPP government under President Tsai Ing-wen, which has been in office since 2014 . The law for the development of indigenous languages , which came into force on June 14, 2017, guarantees the languages ​​of the 16 officially recognized indigenous peoples of Taiwan special state funding. Hakka is also a particularly promoted language of the republic. Prime Minister Lai Ching-te announced on August 27, 2018 that English should become an official language of Taiwan in 2019. This was justified with the then better international networking of Taiwan. Although opinion polls showed that a large part of the population in all political camps supported this plan in principle, it did not materialize. Cost aspects were also largely responsible for this (all government documents would have to be translated). Instead, the government formulated the goal of transforming Taiwan into a fully bilingual society (Mandarin / English) by 2030, modeled on Singapore. For this purpose, English classes in particular should be expanded.

The stations are announced in Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese, Hakka and English on the railways, high-speed trains, Metro Taipei and MRT Kaohsiung .

It is not possible to make precise statements about how many people speak a certain language as their mother tongue, as the Taiwanese statistical agency asks what languages ​​are spoken at home in their surveys. Several languages ​​can be given as an answer, which the vast majority of respondents use. The mother tongue is not explicitly indicated in this survey. The 2010 survey showed the following figures: Standard Chinese 83.5%, Taiwanese 81.9%, Hakka 6.6%, indigenous languages ​​1.1%, other 2.0%. The vast majority speak standard Chinese at least as a second language.

Writing systems

Unlike in the People's Republic of China in Taiwan continue the traditional Chinese characters traditional characters used. Various systems are in use for the Latin transcription of Chinese characters. Since 2009, Hanyu Pinyin , the official transcription in the People's Republic of China, has also been used in the Republic of China for transcribing place names, with the exception of the names of the cities, districts and urban districts directly under the government, for which the internationally used transcriptions (mostly Wade-Giles ) be used. In addition, is still Tongyong Pinyin , which until 2008 official romanization used. Since romanization after Wade-Giles is still in use, many place names appear on maps and signposts in different Latin spellings, some of which differ significantly from one another.

The native languages ​​of Taiwan belong to the Austronesian language family . Some of them were written in the Latin alphabet by missionaries.


Confucius Temple in Tainan. The four characters on the entrance board say "First school in all of Taiwan"

The most widespread religion in Taiwan is - if it can be classified as a religion at all - the Chinese folk belief with a share of around 43.8% (as of 2020) of the total population of Taiwan. This includes a small minority of Confucian supporters .

Overall, freedom of religion and belief in Taiwan is extremely high. In the Freedom of Thoughts Report of the IHEU from 2018 z. B. Taiwan shared first place with the Netherlands and Belgium of all countries surveyed worldwide.

Buddhism and Daoism

The “classical” religions with the most followers are Buddhism (21.2%) and Daoism (<15.5%), which each adopt elements of the other religion, so that the dividing line between them is fluid.


According to a 2005 census, Christians accounted for 3.9% of the total population of Taiwan. More recent estimates indicate shares of more than 4 or more than 5%. The Aborigines have largely adopted the Christian faith over the past few decades, which includes Catholics , Protestants , New Apostolic Christians, and Mormons . The first missionaries were carried out in the 17th century by the Dutch and Spaniards.


Muslims have also existed in Taiwan since the 17th century. There are currently over 210,000 Muslims in the Republic of China. This corresponds to around 0.3% of the population. They include around 60,000 native Muslims (around 90% of them Hui ) as well as over 150,000 immigrant Muslims, mostly from Indonesia (around 110,000) and other Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia , Thailand and the Philippines .


A Jewish community has also existed in Taiwan since the middle of the 20th century. There were around 1,000 Jewish residents living in Taiwan in 2021.

Aboriginal religions

The natives have been predominantly Christianized since 1960. However, within many Catholic communities there are still male and female shamans who practice their traditional practices. They are consulted in particular in the case of incurable diseases, feelings of guilt towards the deceased, severe family crises or losses. Some of the shamans call themselves Catholics; they connect the ideas in a syncretistic way.


The area originally claimed and controlled by the Republic of China.

After the end of the Pacific War in 1945 , Japan surrendered to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek on General Order No. 1 of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers , Douglas MacArthur . The island of Taiwan (then: Formosa ) was handed over to the Republic of China after fifty years of Japanese colonial rule . Shortly afterwards, civil war broke out again between the Kuomintang and the communists in mainland China . After the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek, the government and army of the Republic of China withdrew to the island of Taiwan, making Taiwan and some smaller islands in other provinces the sole rule of the Republic of China. The communists founded the People's Republic of China on the mainland . In contrast to the People's Republic, the Republic of China was also called National China or National China .

Official proclamation of martial law on May 20, 1949

After the traumatic events with the defeat by the communists on the Chinese mainland, the Chinese national government had an almost paranoid fear of attempts at communist overthrow on the island of Taiwan, which was the only remaining territory. All opposition movements were rigorously suppressed. From May 20, 1949, there was a nationwide state of emergency . The Kuomintang saw itself as the only legitimate government in all of China and only wanted to accept elections by the citizens of all of China. The new parliamentary elections were therefore suspended indefinitely. The MPs elected in the last all-China election in 1948 were to retain their mandates until the unification of China under the Constitution of the Republic of China . Since the members of this parliament elected in 1948 (the National Assembly ) belonged overwhelmingly to the Kuomintang or supported it, this meant the quasi- one-party rule of the KMT. The women's suffrage was introduced 1,953th From 1971 so-called supplementary elections were allowed, through which the deceased members of parliament were filled.

In the late 1980s, Taiwan began to democratize under the Kuomintang government. The emergency clauses in force since 1948 have been removed from the constitution and new parties have been admitted alongside the Kuomintang. On July 14, 1987, the state of emergency that had been in force since 1949 was officially ended. In 1992 the constitution was changed after a free parliamentary election and direct election was introduced instead of the previous indirect election of the president. 1996 saw the first direct presidential election, won by Kuomintang President Lee Teng-hui , who has been in office since 1988 .

The results of the previous presidential elections in Taiwan.
  • Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)
  • Kuomintang (KMT)
  • Qinmindang (formerly KMT)
  • Independent (formerly KMT)
  • Independent (formerly KMT)
  • Until October 1971, the Republic of China (on Taiwan) belonged to the United Nations as the only successor state to the former Republic of China, which existed between 1911 and 1949 . With resolution 2758 of the UN General Assembly of October 25, 1971, it lost this position to the People's Republic of China. Since then, only a few countries have recognized the Republic of China internationally. Many Taiwanese want a stable, international position for themselves. The government of the People's Republic of China, however, regards Taiwan as a "breakaway province" and threatens a military "reclamation" of the island if Taiwan should declare itself independent (see anti-secession law ), although Taiwan has never been under the rule of the People's Republic of China . Most Western governments, on the one hand, adhere to the one-China policy and, on the other hand, outlaw any military threat. The USA passed a law ( Taiwan Relations Act ) in 1979 , through which it broke off diplomatic contacts with Taiwan, but at the same time undertook to provide assistance to Taiwan against any military threat. This does not necessarily include US military intervention - it primarily means the sale of weapons with a defensive character to Taiwan. There are also the six US pledges to Taiwan from 1982. In March 2018, US President Donald Trump signed a bill passed by Congress that expressly supports high-ranking US representatives traveling to Taiwan and visits from Taiwan at all levels. In October 2021, US President Joe Biden called it a US obligation to defend Taiwan militarily in an attack by the People's Republic of China.

    The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections . The government under President Chen Shui-bian , who was in office from 2000 to 2008, had promised in its election manifestos that a new constitution would be drawn up, which would mean the abolition of the old republican constitution, in which, for example, the name "Republic of China " and the state border were laid down. Under international, especially US pressure, the government refrained from touching this passage, and Chen Shui-bian proclaimed the policy of five no's . Despite this, the Unification Council was dissolved, which led to violent threats from the People's Republic of China. The parliamentary elections in 2008 and 2012 were won by the Kuomintang, whose candidate Ma Ying-jeou also won the presidential election in 2008 and 2012 , which initially defused this conflict. On November 7, 2015, President Ma Ying-jeou and President of the People's Republic Xi Jinping met in Singapore. No contracts or joint declarations were signed at this symbolic meeting.

    The opposition party DPP won the Taiwanese presidential and parliamentary elections in January 2016 . In addition to the elected President Tsai Ing-wen , she also holds a majority in parliament for the first time in history.


    Presidential Palace (Taipei)

    The Republic of China has been a democracy since it overcame one-party rule in the 1990s, and the president and members of the unicameral parliament have been elected in free, equal and secret elections since the 1990s. From the point of view of some Western observers, Taiwanese democracy has significant significance beyond the borders of Taiwan, insofar as Taiwan is seen as a model for a future democratization of the People's Republic of China, since the model of a pluralistic, democratic Chinese society is being drilled in close proximity to the authoritarian-ruled People's Republic .

    In the 2020 Democracy Index, Taiwan ranks 11th out of 167 countries and territories, making it by far the best-placed country in Asia in this ranking, ahead of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, among others. Taiwan also received points of 91 and 93, respectively, in the 2017 and 2018 Freedom Index country lists of the US non-governmental organization Freedom House , and thus better values ​​than traditionally democratic states such as the USA, France or Italy.

    Before democratization, the National Assembly, formed in 1947, was in office. On the grounds that nationwide new elections were not possible, and in order not to give up the nationwide representation right, her term of office, originally planned for seven years, was extended indefinitely, which earned her the name "Long Parliament".

    Until 1992, the Kuomintang , which controlled the National Assembly, ruled practically as the sole party. In the course of democratization, the National Assembly gradually surrendered its powers to the legislative yuan , which was freely elected for the first time in 1992 , until it was finally dissolved in 2005.

    Today's party landscape in the Republic of China is mainly characterized by two political blocs: the pan-green coalition ( Chinese 泛綠 聯盟 / 泛绿 联盟, Pinyin Fànlǜ liánméng ), consisting of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and the smaller Taiwan Independence Party (TAIP), and the pan-blue coalition ( Chinese 泛藍 聯盟 / 泛蓝 联盟, Pinyin Fànlán Liánméng ), consisting of the Kuomintang (KMT), the Qinmindang ("People's Party", PFP) and the smaller Xindang ("New Party", CNP). The color names come from the party flags of the two large popular parties DPP and KMT. In relation to the People's Republic of China, the green camp seeks “formal independence” for Taiwan, while the blue camp advocates maintaining the status quo . In the long term, parts of the blue camp are striving for a reunification of China under democratic conditions.

    Until 1992, the National Assembly elected the President. In 1994 there was a constitutional amendment that introduced direct election of the president, which first took place in 1996 . From 2000 to 2008, Chen Shui-bian (DPP) ruled as the first non-Kuomintang president. The 2008 legislative yuan election and the March 22, 2008 presidential election brought the Kuomintang back to power. Ma Ying-jeou has been president since May 20, 2008 . The Kuomintang was able to maintain political power in the 2012 legislative yuan elections and in the presidential election on January 14, 2012 . Ma's second term of office was marked by the increasing dissatisfaction of the population, which was expressed, among other things, in the occupation of parliament during the sunflower movement in spring 2014 and the defeat of the KMT in the local elections on November 29 of the same year. After the clear victory of the opposition party DPP and its top candidate Tsai Ing-wen in the parliamentary and presidential elections on January 14, 2016 , there was another change of power. In the subsequent presidential election on January 11, 2020 , President Tsai was confirmed in office. Your party, the DPP, lost votes in the parliamentary election held at the same time , but was able to maintain an absolute majority in the mandate.

    Government system


    The constitution of the Republic of China is based on the political teachings of Sun Yat-sen (" Three Principles of the People ") and was developed in 1946 on the mainland. It came into effect on December 25, 1947 and requires a division into five powers, each exercised by one yuan (Council of State): legislative , executive , judicial , audit and control . Until its dissolution in 2005, the National Assembly had the sole right to make constitutional amendments. Since then , constitutional amendments approved by parliament have to be confirmed in referendums with over 50 percent of the electoral vote.

    The head of state is the president , who is directly elected for four years and who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and can only be re-elected once.

    Yuans (Councilors of State)

    The constitution of 1947 provides for a five-fold division of powers - in deviation from the three-way division according to the western model (executive, legislative, judicial) :

    The Executive Yuan is the government or cabinet of the Republic of China, which is chaired by the Prime Minister . He is appointed by the President in agreement with the Legislative Yuan.

    The Legislative Yuan has consisted of 113 members since 2008 and is Taiwan's parliament , which has the legislative power and oversees the work of the Executive Yuan.

    The Justice Yuan consists of 15 judges and is the highest judicial authority in the state. It also forms the country's constitutional court.

    The Examination Yuan is responsible for officer selection.

    The control yuan performs the function comparable to an audit office and can conduct disciplinary proceedings against officials.

    Foreign policy

    Relationship with the People's Republic of China

    Republic of China (Taiwan) passport
    Entrance to Chiang Kai-shek National Memorial Hall in Taipei (before renaming)
    After the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall was renamed “National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall”, the old inscription was removed on December 7, 2007.

    At the time of the Kuomintang dictatorship, after the Chinese Civil War, the view was that mainland China " split off " with the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 . The right to sole representation for China has not been pursued by the government of the Republic of China since the country was democratized. From the perspective of the People's Republic, Taiwan is a breakaway province. On March 14, 2005, the National People's Congress of China almost unanimously passed the anti-secession law , which provides for military action against Taiwan if it declares itself formally independent.

    The pan-green coalition , including the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which provided the president and government between 2000 and 2008, is seeking recognition of Taiwan as a state . A formal declaration of independence, however, is not necessary from the point of view of the DPP, since Taiwan is already a sovereign state under the name "Republic of China".

    As a promise to the USA and to reassure the People's Republic of China, President Chen Shui-bian, who was in office from 2000 to 2008, defined the policy of five nos ( Chinese 四 不一 沒有, Pinyin sì bù yī méi yǒu , English four nos and one without  - " four no and one no ”). As long as Taiwan is not under acute military threat from China, the Republic of China will:

    • not declare independence
    • do not change the name of the state,
    • not include an article in the constitution that describes relations with the People's Republic as "interstate relations",
    • do not hold a referendum on changing the status quo on independence or reunification,
    • do not change the existing Taiwanese guidelines for “national reunification” (read: reunification only through negotiations with the People's Republic of China and under democratic conditions on the Chinese mainland).

    This statement also essentially reflected the Taiwanese stance since President Ma Ying-jeou (Kuomintang) began his term in office, without, however, being enshrined in law. Regardless of the issues at stake, the Republic of China is de facto completely independent and has full sovereignty over Taiwan.

    International recognition

    States with diplomatic relations with the Republic of China in 2008.
  • States with diplomatic missions of the Republic of China
  • States with embassies of the Republic of China
  • Republic of China
  • Until 1971, the Republic of China, once a founding member of the UN, provided the sole Chinese representation to the United Nations and had a permanent seat on the Security Council. In 1971 it lost membership of the United Nations to the People's Republic of China through Resolution 2758 of the UN General Assembly . As a result, most of the UN member states established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China and, in return, broke off relations with the Republic of China. This is mainly due to the fact that any state that wants to have bilateral relations with the PRC has to officially recognize its one-China policy . Even the protective power USA no longer officially recognizes the republic since the Taiwan Relations Act and acts moderately in matters that are direct points of contention between the two adversaries, such as Taiwan's accession to the World Health Organization as an observer .

    Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian (far left) at the funeral of Pope John Paul II on April 8, 2005. The Holy See is one of the few subjects of international law that does not have diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, but with the Republic of China.

    The following thirteen states and the Holy See currently maintain official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China:

    Holy SeeHoly See Holy See (1942) Haiti (1956) Paraguay (1957) Guatemala (1960) Honduras (1965) Eswatini (1968) Tuvalu (1979) St. Vincent and the Grenadines (1981) St. Kitts and Nevis (1983) Belize (1989) Marshall Islands (1998) Palau (1999) Nauru (1980–2002, 2005) St. Lucia (1984–1997, 2007)
    Saint Vincent GrenadinesSt. Vincent and the Grenadines 
    Saint Kitts NevisSt. Kitts Nevis 
    Marshall IslandsMarshall Islands 
    Saint LuciaSt. Lucia 

    Many of these states are in Central America. Despite the efforts of the Republic of China, over time, more and more states broke off their relations with Taipei, such as in recent years Gambia (2013), São Tomé and Príncipe (2016), Panama (2017), the Dominican Republic (2018) , Burkina Faso (2018), El Salvador (2018), the Solomon Islands (2019), Kiribati (2019) or Nicaragua (2021) (see also “ International Isolation of the Republic of China ”).

    Other states do not maintain diplomatic relations, but contact is maintained through unofficial representations, so-called Taipei economic and cultural offices , without assigning these institutions the status of an embassy. In 2013 there were such representations in 56 countries, including the USA , Canada , Russia , most of the countries of the European Union and Switzerland . In November 2021, a "Taiwan Representative Office" opened in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius , which resulted in considerable diplomatic and economic pressure from China on Lithuania and the EU , including that the Lithuanian ambassador had to leave Beijing for domestic and foreign companies operating in China were no longer allowed to work for Lithuania and goods intended for Lithuania and already paid for were no longer allowed out of China.


    The Republic of China has bilateral free trade agreements with El Salvador , Guatemala , Honduras , Nicaragua , Panama , New Zealand and Singapore . The agreements signed with New Zealand and Singapore in 2013 were the first of their kind with countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. A Framework Agreement on Economic Cooperation (ECFA) was signed with the People's Republic of China in 2010 . The Taiwanese government is striving to sign further bilateral agreements or to join international free trade blocs such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership .


    Taiwan Defense Spending 1994-2014
    Defense budget in%
    in% of the
    NT $ billion Billion US $
    1994 258.5 9.8 3.8 24.3
    1995 252.3 9.5 3.5 24.5
    1996 258.3 9.5 3.4 22.8
    1997 268.8 9.4 3.3 22.5
    1998 274.8 8.2 3.2 22.4
    1999 284.5 8.8 3.2 21.6
    2000 402.9 12.9 2.9 17.4
    2001 269.8 8.0 2.9 16.5
    2002 260.4 7.5 2.7 16.4
    2003 257.2 7.6 2.6 15.5
    2004 261.9 7.8 2.4 16.7
    2005 258.5 8.0 2.3 16.1
    2006 252.5 7.8 2.1 16.1
    2007 304.9 9.2 2.4 18.7
    2008 341.1 10.5 2.5 20.2
    2009 318.7 9.6 2.7 17.6
    2010 297.4 9.3 2.2 17.3
    2011 294.6 10.2 2.1 16.5
    2012 317.3 10.6 2.2 16.4
    2013 312.7 10.5 2.1 16.4
    2014 311.1 10.4 2.0 16.2
    1. The fiscal year 2000 lasted 18 months from July 1999 to December 2000.

    Armed forces

    Since 1949, Taiwan has had a relatively large and well-equipped army, which, because of the anti-secession law of the People's Republic of China, has to be constantly prepared for an invasion by the People's Liberation Army . From 1949 until the 1970s, the strategy was aimed at conquering the mainland. The army later turned into a defense army, control of which was given to the civilian leadership . The high military expenditures placed a considerable burden on the state budget for many decades. Since the 1990s, spending on the military has increased only slightly, so that the relative share of the military budget in total government spending has fallen. However, at over 2 percent of gross domestic product, it is still well above the corresponding values ​​in European countries. Some of the military expenditure such as pension payments for former soldiers or maintenance of military buildings is not financed from the defense budget, so that the total expenditure for the military is higher than the officially stated. The armed forces had around 220,000 soldiers in 2013 and up to 2.6 million in the event of a defense. The military service is valid for all men over 18 years.

    Plans to introduce a professional army

    For several years there have been discussions about the abolition of military service, which is a very unpopular institution among the young population. Basically, both major parties (Kuomintang and DPP) have spoken out in favor of converting the armed forces into a professional army. Military service is to be gradually abolished. Compulsory two-month basic military training should take the place of military service. As part of this objective, the length of military service was gradually reduced from 22 months before 2004 to 20 months at the end of 2004, 18 months from July 2005 to 12 months from 2008. According to the plans, the troop target strength should be reduced from 350,000 men in 2004 to 275,000 in 2009 and 215,000 in 2014. At the same time, the transition to a pure volunteer army should take place. The downsizing and professionalization promised to free up resources for weapons development and procurement. However, this schedule was not adhered to. In 2013, the Taiwanese armed forces were 220,000 strong, but almost a third of them were still in military service. A second announced date at the end of 2015 was also not met. Difficulties in recruiting enough volunteers for the military were cited as the reason for the delays. The need for a strong military can no longer be made easy to understand, especially young people in a time of intensive economic and cultural relations with the People's Republic of China. Older military personnel complained about a lack of patriotic sentiment among the youth.

    After her election in January 2016 , the new President Tsai Ing-wen (DPP) declared that her government would address this issue within the first 10 months of her term in office. On December 12, 2016, Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世 寬) announced that conscription would be finally abolished in 2017, although this point in time also seemed uncertain. Some political commentators praised the increased focus on national defense by the new DPP government, but warned in view of the discussions against weakening Taiwan's military defenses too much and lowering the target strength below the planned 215,000 men.

    Since 2001 there has also been the alternative of doing community service, which lasts one year.

    Military cooperation with the United States

    The AIDC F-CK-1 Ching Kuo , a Taiwanese in-house development

    A defense alliance with the United States had existed since 1954, but it expired in 1979 when the United States severed official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. In a joint communiqué dated August 17, 1982, then President Ronald Reagan agreed with representatives of the People's Republic of China to largely reduce the delivery of US armaments to Taiwan. This embargo on armaments products forced Taiwan to pursue its own developments. From 1980, the AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-Kuo fighter-bomber (named after the then president) was developed in Taiwan. Most of the technologies for this (radar systems, etc.) came from the United States, as there was no embargo on technology exports. Between 1989 and 1999, 131 examples of this fighter aircraft were built and put into service. In September 1992, US President George Bush approved the sale of 150 F-16A / B fighter jets to Taiwan for US $ 5.8 billion. On November 17, 1992, representatives of Taiwan also signed a contract for the delivery of 60 Dassault Mirage 2000-5 fighter aircraft (including 48 single-seat 2000-5Ei and 12 two-seat 2000-5Di) from France. Both treaties met with severe criticism from the People's Republic of China.

    The strait crisis of 1995/96 caused a turning point in US politics. The undisguised military threats made by the People's Republic of China towards Taiwan meant that Taiwan's military cooperation with the USA expanded significantly again. Taiwanese F16 pilots have been trained at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona since 1997 . Since 2006, Taiwan has been making efforts to purchase new F-16C / D fighter aircraft. The procurement of spare parts for the Mirages from France since 2012 also turned out to be not uncomplicated. On September 21, 2011, an agreement was reached with the US that provided for the modernization of the 145 Taiwanese F-16A / B by 2021 for US $ 5.3 billion. In 2005/06 the US sold four Kidd-class guided missile destroyers to Taiwan. Since then, these have been the largest ships in the Taiwanese Navy.

    Although there is no military alliance between the US and Taiwan and the two countries have no official diplomatic relations, military cooperation is considerable. Taiwan is one of the main buyers of US armaments. In the years 2004–2007 the country invested US $ 4.3 billion for this and in 2008–2011 it was US $ 2.9 billion. This placed Taiwan in fourth place (after Israel , Egypt and Saudi Arabia ) and fifth in 2008–2011 (after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Australia ) among the main foreign buyers of the US arms industry.

    There was a considerable intensification of military cooperation under the presidency of Donald Trump . The reason for this was the deterioration in Sino-US relations , which was expressed in the trade conflict between the two countries . On June 17, 2018, representatives of Taiwan and the United States signed an agreement allowing Taiwanese defense experts to officially visit research facilities in the US defense industry. According to estimates by Taiwanese politicians, the agreement enabled a significant improvement in Taiwan's self-defense capacities. On July 9, 2019, the US State Department approved an armaments agreement worth US $ 2.2 billion, according to which Taiwan will receive a total of 108 M1 Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and related accessories from the USA . The conclusion of the contract led to violent protests from the People's Republic of China. On August 21, 2019, US President Donald Trump gave the green light for the delivery of 66 F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets to Taiwan, valued at US $ 8 billion.

    In April 2020, the government announced plans to increase the military budget to approximately NT $ 400 billion (US $ 13.1 billion) by 2027. In 2020, Taiwan's military spending was about US $ 11.34 billion. This contrasted with military spending of the People's Republic of China of US $ 177.5 billion.


    Administrative structure

    According to the 1947 Constitution, the territory of the Republic of China is based on "existing state borders". Since the democratization of Taiwan in the 1990s, claims to ( sovereignty ) on mainland China have in fact no longer been raised. The claims were abandoned in 1991 by President Lee Teng-hui , but this was not ratified by the National Assembly .

    In 2006 constitutional amendments were made, with which the state border and sovereignty claims of today's Republic of China were to be reorganized and adapted to the actual conditions. Due to Chinese and US pressure, however, this adjustment was not made, as it is viewed as a step towards formal “independence” or statehood for Taiwan and would have been viewed by the People's Republic of China as a provocation (see anti-secession law ).

    In addition to the "dormant" claims on China, there are active territorial disputes over islands and archipelagos. The Republic of China claims the Huangyan Dao administered by the People's Republic of China , the Senkaku Islands administered by Japan , the Socotra Rock administered by South Korea , and the Spratly Islands , some of which also come from Malaysia , the Philippines , Vietnam and the PR China are administered.

    Areas actually controlled at the moment

    Since the withdrawal of the Kuomintang to Taiwan in 1949 and the conquest of Hainan by the communists in 1950, the Republic of China has only controlled Taiwan Province and a small part of Fujian Province from its original territory . Between 1967 and 2014, the six largest cities and their surrounding areas were spun off from the province of Taiwan and administered as cities directly under the government, so that the “remaining province” only comprises around 70% of the controlled national territory and 32% of the population. These include the island of Taiwan without the administrative area of ​​the cities directly under the government, some offshore smaller islands and the Pescadoren archipelago in the Formosa Strait . The part of Fujian Province controlled by the Republic of China consists of the Kinmen (Quemoy) and Matsu archipelagos located off the coast of mainland China and comprises almost 0.5% of the current territory of the Republic of China.

    Government immediate cities

    The cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung were spun off from the province of Taiwan in 1967 and 1979, respectively, and since then have held a special provincial position as cities directly subordinate to the central government. In December 2010, New Taipei , Taichung and Tainan were added three more cities directly under the government. The previous districts of Kaohsiung , Taichung and Tainan were incorporated into the respective cities. On December 25, 2014, the Taoyuan County became the sixth-administered city of Taoyuan upgraded.

    The city of New Taipei (新 北市, literally "New Northern City"), which emerged from the district of Taipei, is the largest city in Taiwan with just under 4 million inhabitants. Its urban area includes the capital Taipei, located on the Danshui River in northern Taiwan, where almost 2.7 million people live. The largest city in southern Taiwan is Kaohsiung, which after the incorporation of Kaohsiung County in 2010 has a population of just under 2.8 million. Kaohsiung is home to the island's largest port , through which most of the oil imports are handled and processed industrially. In the central part of western Taiwan is Taichung; After the incorporation of Taichung County, the city is now Taiwan's third largest city with a population of more than 2.8 million, just ahead of Taipei. Other megacities are Taoyuan (about 2.2 million inhabitants) in the northwest and the old island capital Tainan in the southwest, which has almost 1.9 million inhabitants after the incorporation of the Tainan district (population figures as of June 2018).

    Counties and urban districts

    Volksrepublik China (wird von der Regierung der Republik China beansprucht) Keelung Taipeh Neu-Taipeh Taichung Tainan Penghu Kaohsiung Landkreis Kinmen Landkreis Kinmen Landkreis Lienchiang Hsinchu Chiayi Landkreis Yunlin Landkreis Changhua Landkreis Miaoli Landkreis Hsinchu Landkreis Yilan Taoyuan Landkreis Hualien Landkreis Chiayi Landkreis Nantou Landkreis Pingtung Landkreis Taitung
    Cities and Counties in what is now the Republic of China

    The two provinces are subdivided into a total of thirteen administrative districts and three independent cities, which since an administrative reform in 1998 have been the most important administrative units outside of the cities directly under the government.

    The province of Taiwan has consisted of eleven counties and three independent cities since 2014. Your largest city is the independent city of Hsinchu (新竹市, Xīnzhú Shì , Hsin¹chu² ) in the northwest with about 443,000 inhabitants, which is known for the high concentration of semiconductor companies and because of the strong wind from the Formosa Street also the "windy city" (風 城 / 风 城, Fēngchéng ) is called. The other independent cities are the port city of Keelung (基隆市, Jīlóng Shì ) in the northeast with around 371,000 inhabitants and Chiayi in western Taiwan (嘉義 市, Jiāyì Shì ) with around 269,000 inhabitants (as of June 2018).

    The eleven counties in Taiwan Province are as follows (as of June 2018):

    Surname Chinese Pinyin resident
    Yilan 宜蘭 縣 Yílán Xiàn 456.006
    Hsinchu 新竹 縣 Xīnzhú Xiàn 554,541
    Miaoli 苗栗 縣 Miáolì Xiàn 551.082
    Changhua 彰化 縣 Zhānghuà Xiàn 1,279,276
    Nantou 南投 縣 Nántóu Xiàn 499.194
    Yunlin 雲林 縣 Yúnlín Xiàn 688.717
    Chiayi 嘉義 縣 Jiāyì Xiàn 509.161
    Pinging 屏東 縣 Píngdōng Xiàn 828.275
    Taitung 台東縣 Táidōng Xiàn 219,643
    Hualien 花蓮 縣 Huālián Xiàn 328.749
    Penghu 澎湖縣 Pénghú Xiàn 104.013

    Controlled by the Republic of China of the province of Fujian has the County Kinmen (金門縣, Jinmen Xiàn and) square kilometers with an area of 152 95,000 inhabitants, which includes the same group of islands and other smaller islands, and from the Matsu Islands existing County Lienchiang (連江縣, Liánjiāng Xiàn ) with an area of ​​29 km² and about 10,000 inhabitants. The name Lienchiang refers to the Lianjiang district on the mainland, which is under the control of the People's Republic of China , to which the Matsu Islands historically and officially both the Republic and the People's Republic of China still belong.


    Medicine and healthcare

    See paragraph in the article: Traditional Chinese Medicine: Taiwan

    In Taiwan, conventional medicine was able to hold its own in spite of western-oriented modernization and is sometimes practiced in addition to modern western medicine. Taiwan has its own TCM tradition, which is more shaped by old families of doctors, more traditional and therefore less standardized, and has retained more spiritual elements. Taiwan hardly trains foreigners in TCM.

    The health care system of the Republic is the Office for National Health Insurance ( Bureau of National Health Insurance managed BNHI).

    The current health system was introduced in 1995 as social insurance. The state health program includes compulsory insurance for domestic and foreign workers, the unemployed, the poor and the disabled, with monthly contributions - an average of US $ 18.88  per person per month - based on the income of the family or individual.

    BNHI insurance includes co-payments at the time the service is provided, unless the insured person is making use of preventive healthcare, comes from a family with a low income, is a veteran, has a child under three years of age or has a particularly serious illness. Family members with low incomes do not have to pay their own contribution and the own contributions from disabled or elderly people are reduced.

    According to a report by the BNHI, 75.1% of 3,360 randomly selected hospital patients stated that they were “very satisfied” with the service; 20.5% found the service “okay” and only 4.4% found the service “bad”.

    Taiwan maintains its own center for disease control ( Center for Disease Control ), which during the outbreak of SARS ( S evere A cute R espiratory S yndrome = " Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome ") in March 2003 of 347 cases reported. During the epidemic , local governments and the CDC set up monitoring stations for public transportation, recreational facilities, and other public facilities. Because of the complete decontamination in July 2003, no further cases were reported.

    The BNHI comprises 7,259 plants:

    Quantity Facilities
    16,174 Outpatient clinics
    5,701 Dental clinics
    2,422 Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinics
    1,085 Inpatient / outpatient clinics
    437 Local community hospitals
    35 Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospitals
    23 University hospitals

    The basic protection of an insurance covers the following basic benefits:

    • Inpatient care
    • Outpatient care
    • Laboratory tests
    • prescription and over-the-counter medicines
    • dental care
    • Mental illness
    • Traditional Chinese medicine
    • Home care
    • Preventive services (check -ups , prenatal care, Pap smears )

    In 2004 the child mortality rate was 5.3 percent in 15 children per hospital with 10,000 patients. According to the UN, life expectancy between 2010 and 2015 was 79.2 years (76.4 years for men and 82.3 years for women). Since the BNHI was founded, life expectancies have increased by 1.6 years for men and 2 years for women.

    Life expectancy development in Taiwan

    Period Life expectancy Period Life expectancy
    1950-1955 58.2 1985-1990 73.4
    1955-1960 62.9 1990-1995 74.4
    1960-1965 65.0 1995-2000 75.2
    1965-1970 66.9 2000-2005 76.9
    1970-1975 69.4 2005-2010 78.2
    1975-1980 70.7 2010-2015 79.2
    1980-1985 72.1

    Source: UN

    pension insurance

    On October 1, 2008, a general pension system came into force. All citizens between the ages of 25 and 65 have to pay NTD 700 (15 euros) a month initially. The first pension payment for those over 65 will be up to NTD 10,000 (EUR 200). In the following months the pension increases by 5%.


    The Taiwan miracle

    Along with South Korea , Hong Kong and Singapore, Taiwan is one of the four "tiger states" in East Asia.

    Taiwan's rapid industrialization and economic growth during the second half of the 20th century is known as The Taiwan Miracle (台灣 奇蹟 / 台湾 奇迹, Táiwān Qíjì ) or Taiwan's Economic Miracle . With Singapore , South Korea and Hong Kong , Taiwan is one of the four " tiger states ".

    During the Japanese occupation and World War II, the economy in the public and private sectors changed, especially in public works, which enabled faster communication and better transportation. The school system was also improved by the occupiers and made compulsory for all citizens.

    View of Taipei, 2005

    When the Kuomintang government fled to Taiwan, it brought mainland gold reserves and foreign currencies to Taiwan, which stabilized prices and countered hyperinflation . An equally important factor in the KMT's flight was the new intellectual and economic elite of the mainland. The new government in Taiwan was able to pass new laws with greater effectiveness than the much larger mainland. It also implemented import-substituting industrialization that replaced imported goods with in-house productions. This was made possible by economic aid such as US subsidies . The original residents of Taiwan were excluded from politics and forced to withdraw into the economy.

    In 1962, the republic had a gross national product per capita of $ 170  , putting Taiwan on a par with the Democratic Republic of the Congo . By 2011, the gross national product per capita had grown to 37,720 USD, which according to the Human Development Index corresponds to the value of the European Union .

    The German economist Hans-Heinrich Bass sees an essential factor for the dynamism of the Taiwanese economic development during this time in the rapid succession of different foreign trade strategies, each appropriate to the specific domestic and global economic situation. He distinguishes five phases of Taiwan's foreign trade:

    1. Export expansion based on agricultural goods (until 1950);
    2. Import-substituting growth on the basis of processed agricultural goods (1950–1962);
    3. Export-diversifying growth based on processed agricultural products and simple, labor-intensive industrial products such as toys and shoes (1962–1970);
    4. Intra-industrial trade in more complex goods, ie import and export of the same goods categories, especially exports of simple and imports of more complex electronic items (1970–1986);
    5. Export of newly developed complex goods ( Schumpeter goods ) (since 1986).

    Taiwan's economy has a particular strength in the field of semiconductor and IT industries. Taiwan's rise to a leading nation in this technology sector was largely due to a wise and forward-looking industrial policy. The Research Institute for Industrial Technology (ITRI) in Hsinchu, founded in 1973, played a key role in this .

    The Taipei 101 in Taipei

    Recent economic development

    The Taiwanese investment flow into the PRC in 2002 amounted to almost 34 billion euros (according to estimates between 70 and 170 billion euros) and thus exceeded that of all other countries. Taiwan is the second largest producer of semiconductor applications such as PC - motherboards , notebooks and wireless components that under such brands as world Acer , Asus , BenQ , Foxconn , HTC , Tatung and VIA are deducted. Only five of them manufactured 80 percent of all laptops in the world in 2015. Quanta Computer produced 49 million devices for Apple , Dell , Hewlett-Packard , Lenovo , Sharp , Sony and Toshiba in Taiwan until 2000, then also in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. Foxconn, another electronics manufacturer, made tablets and smartphones for Apple and other brands without actually being a brand itself.

    In addition, Taiwan is one of the largest manufacturers of bicycles ( Giant , Merida and many more) and LCD flat screens ( AU Optronics ). In the vehicle industry, Taiwan has established itself primarily as a manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, with Kymco , Jordan Motors and SYM being important companies in this sector . There are also some production companies for passenger cars, such as China Motor Corporation , Formosa or Yulon Motor , which so far have only been significant on the domestic market and have produced little of their own, but mostly produce vehicles from other international manufacturers under license.

    The export volume between January and September 2007 was $ 22.2 billion and the unemployment rate was 3.91% for the same period, the lowest in eight years.

    The working time is 40 hours per week, with work usually starting between 8 and 8:30 a.m. (上班, shàngbān ) and ending around 5 or 5:30 p.m. (下班, xiàbān ). Small shops are usually open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Night market shops open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week. 7-Eleven or similar convenience shops (便利 商店, biànlì shāngdiàn ) are also open around the clock all week.

    In addition, Taiwan was ranked 21st in the World Bank's logistics rankings in 2007 (the ranking includes 150 countries), ranked 15th for punctuality of deliveries, 16th for ease and affordability of arranging transportation, and 43rd for local costs. In 2007, Taiwan achieved average economic growth of 5.7%. In 2014, Taiwan was ranked 19th in a list that now includes 160 countries.

    In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Taiwan ranks 15th out of 137 countries (as of 2017). In 2018, the country ranks 13th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .

    Economic performance by sector (2015)
    sector Percentage of
    (percentage points)
    Change in value
    (NT $)
    Agriculture 1.78 −0.03 0+1.98
    Industry 35.41 +0.86 0+6.28
    Manufacturing 30.34 +0.59 0+5.74
    construction industry 02.53 −0.03 0+2.61
    Electricity and gas supply 01.86 +0.35 +27.33
    Other 00.69 −0.04 0−2.40
    Services 62.80 −0.84 0+2.32
    Wholesale and retail 15.92 −0.56 0+0.19
    Finance and insurance 06.58 00.00 0+3.78
    Public administration and social security 06.43 −0.26 0−0.43
    Transportation and storage 03.31 +0.47 +20.92
    Others 1 30.57 −0.49 0+2.05
    1“Others” include hotel, food, information and communications, real estate and rental, scientific and technical services, education, health and social services, arts, entertainment, leisure, and others. m.

    State budget

    The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures equivalent to US $ 83.9 billion , which was offset by revenues equivalent to US $ 80.8 billion. This results in a budget deficit of 0.6% of GDP . The national debt in 2016 was $ 187.1 billion, or 35.4% of GDP.

    The August 2017 draft budget for 2018 envisaged expenditure of NT $ 1.985 trillion (US $ 65.49 billion) and income of NT $ 1.8904 trillion (US $ 62.37 billion).

    Draft budget for 2018
    Spending area NT $ in %
    Social spending 490.2 billion 24.7%
    Education, science and culture 402.0 billion 20.3%
    defense 320.0 billion 16.1%
    Economic development 245.4 billion 12.4%
    Administrative expenses 188.7 billion 09.5%

    Energy industry

    Electricity supply

    Power Generation in Taiwan by Sector. The share of renewable energies has so far been low (2018: renewable energies + hydropower together approx. 6%).

    In 2011, Taiwan was in 19th place in the world for annual generation with 235 billion kWh and in 20th place for installed capacity with 48,480 MW.

    The installed capacity of all power plants in Taiwan amounted to 41,181 MW in 2014, of which 31,968 MW was accounted for by the state electricity supplier Taipower and the rest by independent power producers. The Taipower power plant park consists of gas power plants (10,607 MW or 25.8%), coal-fired power plants (8,200 MW or 19.9%), nuclear power plants (5,144 MW or 12.5%), oil power plants (3,325 MW or 8, 1%), pumped storage power plants (2,602 MW or 6.3%) and from renewable energies (2,089 MW or 5.1%). The installed capacity of the independent electricity producers was 9,214 MW (22.4%) and consists mainly of coal and gas power plants.

    In 2014, Taipower produced 164.194 billion kWh, of which coal-fired power plants produced 60.424 billion (28.3%), gas-fired power plants 50.243 billion (23.5%), nuclear power plants 40.079 billion (18.8%), and pumped storage power plants 3.174 Billion (1.5%), from oil power plants 4.970 billion (2.3%) and from renewable energies 5.304 billion (2.5%). The independent electricity producers generated a further 49.235 billion kWh (23.1%).

    The future of the nuclear power plants in Taiwan is uncertain. The Lungmen nuclear power plant , which is currently under construction , was shut down on July 1, 2015 for the next three years until a referendum is held on the future of the power plant. The three other nuclear power plants are scheduled to go offline between 2018 and 2025, according to government plans. This is likely to exacerbate the already tense power supply situation and power cuts can no longer be ruled out in the months of peak consumption. In a referendum on November 24, 2018 , however, a majority of the voters spoke out against the planned phase-out of nuclear energy in 2025 by the DPP government.

    According to the Department of Commerce, the cost per kWh of electricity is NT $ 0.72 ( US $ 0.02) for the three existing nuclear power plants, NT $ 2 per kWh for Lungmen and NT $ 3.8 per kWh for gas power plants.


    In 2008, Taiwan was 99.23% dependent on imported energy. The value of these energy imports was $ 56.2 billion. In 2013, Taiwan imported 65.9 million tons of coal, of which 45.5 million tons were used to generate electricity.


    Road traffic in Taipei


    A network of modern highways connects the metropolitan areas with one another. A high-speed train connecting the big cities completed its first test run on June 11, 2005. The start of operations has been postponed several times. Since January 5, 2007, trains have been running between Taipei over 345 kilometers to southern Kaohsiung . A ring line of the railway runs around the island, as crossing the high mountains would be too costly and the east coast is relatively sparsely populated. The larger cities usually have airports.


    Taiwan has a total of 38,197 kilometers of paved roads (as of 2005). The motorway network comprises 989 kilometers of national motorways (as of 2009). In addition, 4,680 kilometers of road are designated as provincial expressways . The network of main roads in the country covers 20,947 kilometers. There are 16,395 kilometers of roads in the urban agglomerations.

    Highway sign "National Road 1", the shape symbolizes a plum blossom , the national blossom of Taiwan (see also The Plum Blossom # story )
    Sign "Provincial Expressway 6"

    The longest and most important highways are the highways 1 and 3, which run parallel from Keelung in the northeast via Taipei through the densely populated flat and hilly country of western Taiwan to Kaohsiung and Donggang in the southwest of the island. The other motorways are only of regional importance. Motorways 2 and 5 connect Taipei with Taiwan Taoyuan Airport and Yilan County , respectively , while Motorway 6 connects the western coastal plain and Puli in central Taiwan. Highways 4, 8 and 10 are located in the metropolitan areas of Taichung , Tainan and Kaohsiung , respectively.

    The street system is arranged according to the size of the streets. The big streets are called "Lù" (). Their house numbers are on one side with even numbers and on the other with odd numbers. So-called avenues (, Jiē ) have no extra names, but are named after the corner house number of "Lù" street. So光復 路 22 街, (Guāngfù-Lù 22-Jiē) on the corner house will begin with the number “22”. It is the same with "Xiàng" () that follow "Jiē" -alles. In addition, “Lù” streets are divided into sections (, Duàn ). A complete address can therefore be光復 路 3 段 22 街 4 巷 113 號, (Guāngfù-Lù 3-Duàn 22-Jiē 4-Xiàng 113-Háo) . This person lives in the 3rd section of Guāngfù Street, 22nd 街 -allee, the 4th 巷 -allee in house number 113.

    Rail transport

    The country's rail network has a total length of 1,841 kilometers (2007). All rail lines are on the island of Taiwan, there are no railways on the smaller islands belonging to the Republic of China.

    The Taiwanese Railway Administration ( Taiwan Railway Administration TRA) manages a 1,097 km long conventional rail network with 1,067 millimeter gauge . In addition, a 345-kilometer high-speed standard-gauge line between Taipei and Kaohsiung has been in operation since 2007 . There are metro systems in the cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung.

    The 86-kilometer-long Alishan Forest Railway and the sugar railways in Taiwan are narrow-gauge railways with a gauge of 762 millimeters, which were originally designed to transport goods and are now mainly used for tourism.

    In the area of ​​the ports of Kaohsiung, Keelung , Taichung and Hualien, there are only railway lines used for freight traffic.

    Conventional railroad
    Conventional Railway Network of Taiwan (as of December 2016)

    Most of Taiwan's conventional rail network consists of a ring line running around the island. This is divided into six sections.

    The “longitudinal line” or “western line” (西部 幹線, Xībùgàn Xiàn ) leads from Keelung in the northeast via Taipei, Hsinchu, Changhua , Chiayi and Tainan to Kaohsiung . This is followed by the “Pingtung Line” (屏東 線, Píngdōng Xiàn ) via Pingtung to Fangliao and the “ Southern Connection Line ” (南 迴 線, Nánhuí Xiàn ) on to Taitung . The “Eastern Line” (東部 幹線, Dōngbùgàn Xiàn ) between Keelung and Taitung is divided into three sections, the “Yilan Line” (宜蘭 線, Yílán Xiàn ) in the northern part between Keelung and Su'ao , the “Northern Connection Line ” (北迴 線, Běihuí Xiàn ) in the middle part between Su'ao and Hualien and the "Taitung Line" (台 東線, Táidōng Xiàn ) in the southern part between Hualien and Taitung.

    Between Zhunan in Miaoli County and Changhua , the western line forks into two parallel sections. While the main line (the "coastline") runs through the coastal plain to the west of Taichung , the "Taichung Line" (台中 線, Táizhōngxiàn ) or "Mountain Line", which connects the city of Taichung , runs east of it through the Taichung Basin .

    Four branch lines branch off the ring line , the Linkou Line in Taoyuan , the Neiwan Line in Hsinchu County , the Jiji Line in Changhua and Nantou Counties, and the Pingxi Line in New Taipei .

    High speed trains
    Taiwan High Speed ​​Rail 700T Series Shinkansen , train in Kaohsiung

    The Taiwan High Speed ​​Rail (THSR) connects Taiwan's largest metropolitan area around Taipei in the north with the important port city of Kaohsiung in the southwest. Regular operation on the 345-kilometer route started on January 5, 2007. Travel time is around 90 minutes or two hours (if stops at all stations) instead of four hours with the conventional railroad.

    Light rail and subway
    Kaohsiung light rail on a test track at "Central Park"
    Xiaobitan Station of the MRT in Taipei

    With the increasing urbanization of Taiwan, the construction of metro systems began in the largest metropolitan areas since the 1990s:

    • Taipei Rapid Transit System (台北 大眾 捷運 系統, Táiběi Dàzhòng Jiéyùn Xìtǒng ), also MRT (MetroTaipei): The system, which runs through the capital Taipei as a subway and on a route as an elevated railway in the VAL system, was opened in 1996 and is becoming permanent further expanded.
    • Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (高雄 捷運 系統, Gāoxióng Jiéyùn Xìtǒng ): The two-line metro system went into operation in 2008. In the inner city area it is to be supplemented by a tram.
    • Taoyuan Metro : on March 2, 2017, the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Access MRT System (臺灣 桃園 國際 機場 聯 外 捷運 系統, Táiwān Táoyuán Jīchǎngliánwài Jiéyùn Xìtǒng ) was put into operation as the first of five planned lines. The line connects Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport with the Taoyuan Station of the Taiwan High Speed ​​Rail and Taipei Main Railway Station .
    • Taichung Metropolitan Area MRT System (台中 捷運, Táizhōng Jiéyùn ): The project was decided in 2004. The opening of the first line, which has been under construction since 2009, is planned for 2018.

    Air transport

    China Airlines

    The Republic of China had four international and several domestic airports with civil use in 2017. The most important is Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 30 km west of Taipei . Named after Chiang Kai-shek until 2006 , the airport is the main hub of Taiwan's two international airlines, the state-owned China Airlines and the private EVA Air . Most international flights take off and land there, among other things, China Airlines offers an almost daily connection to Frankfurt , EVA Air flies several times a week to Vienna . Since 2008 there have also been direct flights from China Airlines and Air China to mainland China , including Beijing and Shanghai .

    Other international airports in Taiwan are of Kaohsiung , the Taichung airport and the location in the city of Taipei Songshan Airport . The domestic airports with the longest runways (over 3,047 meters) are Tainan and Chiayi . The domestic airports of Kinmen , Magong , Hualien and Taitung have runways between 2,438 and 3,047 meters, those of Hengchun and Nangan on Matsu between 1,524 and 2,437 meters. There are smaller airports with a runway between 914 and 1252 meters in Beigan on Matsu , Lan Yu , Lü Dao and in Wang'an on the Pescadors , while Qimei Airport , which is also on the Pescadors, has an even shorter runway. The importance of the regional airports on the island of Taiwan has decreased significantly since the opening of the high-speed rail line in 2007, as this made the rail connections only slightly shorter or even faster than the flight connections. However, these smaller airports are still important for the small outlying islands.

    A total of nine helicopter landing pads (2006) are available for civil use in the Republic of China.

    Sea transport

    Cargo handling in Taiwanese ports
    (in t, 2017)
    port total import export
    Keelung 17,464,002 13,845,424 3,618,578
    Taichung 75.348.241 67,061,016 8,287,225
    Kaohsiung 116.070.972 81.425.957 34,645,015
    Hualien 8,665,814 2,797,943 5,867,871
    Taipei 23.123.334 19,656,675 3,466,659
    Su'ao 4,191,916 3,228,535 963.381
    Anping 1,620,189 1.225.109 395.080
    Together 246.484.468 189.240.659 57.243.809

    Taiwan has four major international sea ports. The largest is the port of Kaohsiung in the southwest on the South China Sea , the others in Keelung in the north on the East China Sea , in Taichung in the west on the Formosa Strait and in Hualien in the east on the Pacific . Other important ports are Budai , Su'ao , Magong , Kinmen and Matsu .

    The merchant marine owns 235 ships (around 1,000 gross registered tons ) with a total of 3,827,173 GRT / 6,121,877 gross carrying capacity (2003), of which 35 are bulk carriers , 108 container ships , 20 oil tankers and 38 passenger ships.

    In 2017, the Taiwanese ports handled 246 million tons of goods, which were transported on 38,198 ships. These included 14.91 million TEUs . In addition, 1.43 million passengers (980,000 of them international) were transported.


    There are two major pipeline networks in Taiwan. The network for crude oil has a total length of 3,400 kilometers, that for natural gas a total length of 1,800 kilometers (1999).


    The numerous convenience shops , especially 7-Eleven , FamilyMart and “HI-Life”, are important in Taiwan . These shops are of great importance to the infrastructure, as many daily purchases are made here and they are open 24 hours a day. You can also buy prepaid cards, pay taxes, electricity and gas bills and get information here. The density of these shops is so great in towns and villages that a shop can be reached approximately every 500 meters.

    Are often betel nut -shops ( Chinese 檳榔店, Pinyin Bīnglangdiàn ). On the country roads, the nuts are often sold by good-looking girls in glass pavilions with neon tubes. These betel nut girls ( Chinese 檳榔 西施, Pinyin Bīnglang Xīshī ) are just as conspicuous as their shops, as they are often dressed lightly or in visual kei or in schoolgirls' uniforms.

    Most receipts have a registration number that allows buyers to participate in a monthly state lottery and win up to several million NTD . This state lottery increases the interest in buying considerably, but behind the idea of ​​the lottery lies a better recording of sales tax .

    Particularly important are the night markets in Taiwan , which exist several times in every city and where city-specific specialties are sold. However, these have increasingly strong competition from department stores such as the Japanese Sogō , supermarkets or the Taiwanese "RT-Mart".


    The rubbish collection in Taiwan separates waste during collection. A yellow garbage truck that accepts the residual waste drives behind a white garbage truck for the segregated waste . The employees of the garbage disposal do not empty the garbage cans independently, but have the garbage delivered by the residents. They carefully check the garbage first before accepting it. Exceptions are so-called "residential communities" in which there are several high-rise buildings where the gatekeeper takes care of the garbage. The yellow garbage trucks play identifying melodies while the garbage is being picked up: “A Virgin's Prayer” by Tekla Bądarzewska or Für Elise . Since the garbage disposal drives several times a day at different times, these melodies were introduced. The system was established on January 1st, 2006. B. in Taipei 380 garbage trucks on the way. This new type of waste system costs around NTD 500 million a  year .

    Culture and science


    Today's Taiwanese culture is fed by a number of different traditional and modern influences.

    The culture of the indigenous people of Taiwan has been gradually displaced in the course of Chinese immigration since the 17th century, more recently efforts have been made to preserve or revive the indigenous cultures and languages. With the Chinese immigrants, Chinese languages ​​(especially Minnan and Hakka ) and Chinese culture also came to Taiwan, including worldviews and religions such as Confucianism , Daoism, and Buddhism . In the course of foreign missions, Christian denominations have meanwhile also spread in Taiwan.

    Hsinchu train station , which was built during the Japanese occupation .

    During the Japanese occupation , priorities were set in education and economy, which had a strong influence on society. The economic boom and the upbringing in Japanese language and culture contributed to the fact that many Taiwanese felt that they were Japanese, which was already manifested in their Japanese passports. The Japanese were also the first to bring the now very popular sport of baseball to Taiwan. There were baseball teams in both elementary and public schools, the development of which culminated in the Kagi Nourin (Agriculture and Forestry School) baseball team when the team took second place in Japan's Koushien Daisai (National Secondary School Baseball Games). Even today, Japanese is the second most popular language and many Taiwanese of the grandparent generation still speak Japanese better than Mandarin.

    Japan's influences can also be seen in everyday life, where often entire houses or at least room furnishings are built in the Japanese style. Japanese products are also often rated as being of better quality and Japanese washing machines are found much more often than western ones (optically, for example, the opening is at the top and not at the front).

    After the Kuomintang fled to Taiwan in 1949, the government embarked on a comprehensive re-Sinization of Taiwan. This included the spread of Chinese culture and Mandarin as the only official language and, at the same time, repressive measures against the Japanese language and culture, but also against local languages. B. were banned in schools. A visible result of this policy is the dominance of the Mandarin in public spaces today .

    Because of its longstanding association with the United States, Taiwan was also influenced by American culture and lifestyle after World War II. American cars were imported, iconic beverages like Coca-Cola and Miller beer appeared, and English was finding its way into advertising and, above all, business. Since English is the lingua franca , Taiwanese learned American English earlier and earlier in school, and the number of primary schools teaching English increased dramatically. A popular principle of these elementary schools is z. B. that a Taiwanese teacher is responsible for the basic knowledge and a native English speaker (mostly American) for the pure English lessons. Americanization can also be seen in baseball. Although it was initially brought to the island by the Japanese and was connected to Japan, it is increasingly oriented towards America. An outstanding example is the child and national hero Wang Chien-ming .

    Since the democratization of Taiwan, in addition to the tendency towards an open pluralistic society, there has also been a strong localization movement, whose representatives have focused on the local Taiwanese culture. The emphasis on Taiwanese identity is often accompanied by a rejection of the earlier Sinisation, which was perceived as prescribed, as well as a politically influenced demarcation from the People's Republic of China.


    Autonomous Taiwanese literature did not emerge until the second half of the 20th century. The first book that also attracted attention in the West was "The Ugly Chinese" ( Chinese 醜陋 的 中國 人 / 丑陋 的 中国 人, Pinyin Chǒulòude Zhōngguórén , English The Ugly Chinaman ) by Bo Yang , which opposed the government of the Kuomintang under the Martial law was written. No other author achieved the same popularity in the West as Bo Yang, as most books are not translated into English. Another book that is also available in the West is A Family in Taiwan , which is about the everyday life of a 12-year-old girl and her family. "Chinese stories from Taiwan" (Chinese Stories from Taiwan) issued by Joseph Lau and Timothy Ross in 1976 and is still being printed today.


    The main difference between Chinese theater and Western theater is the relevance of the music, which takes up a much larger part and is more associated with opera in the West . The Chinese Opera ( Chinese 戲曲 / 戏曲, Pinyin Xìqǔ ) is very closely related to the Taiwanese opera and an integral part of this. The dialogues are held in Mandarin or Taiwanese . The actors dress in colorful robes with large masks. Some operas have an English transcription on a screen near the stage, but the operas are kept in the original. Thematically, it is mostly about folk legends and myths, on the basis of which social, political and spiritual aspects are presented, in the past often with a high level of topicality. Chinese opera dates back to the Tang Dynasty , when Emperor Xuanzong (712–755) founded the Pear Orchard ( Chinese 梨園, Pinyin Líyuán ), the first famous opera company in China, which mainly performed for the emperor's own amusement. The term "pupil of the pear orchard" ( Chinese 梨園 子弟, Pinyin Líyuán zǐdì ), which is still used today for actors, goes back to them.

    movie theater

    The history of Chinese-language film follows three different lines of development: film in China , film in Hong Kong and film in Taiwan . The film in Taiwan forms an independent film culture alongside the film in Hong Kong , which is dominated by entertainment cinema and the film in China, which is subject to state regulations.

    Taiwan's best-known director is Ang Lee , who shot Danger and Desire , which was chosen as the official Taiwanese contribution to the nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2008 Academy Awards , but did not make it into the final selection. Other works include The Wedding Banquet and Eat Drink Man Woman . The common thread through many films is the break between children and parents or Taiwanese people with their Chinese culture. Actress Sylvia Chang has starred in Ang Lee's films and several Hong Kong productions . Another director is Hou Hsiao-Hsien , a mainland-born Chinese whose family fled to Taiwan with the Kuomintang. His first work in the media was A City of Sadness , which deals with the incident of February 28, 1947 . Other films are Der Sandwichmann ( The Sandwich Man ), Liebe, Wind, Staub ( Dust in the Wind ) and Guter Mann, Gute Frau ( Good Men, Good Women ).


    Traditional Chinese music is increasingly being replaced by modern pop music. Traditional string instruments such as the plucked lute ( Yueqin ) and the zither ( Qin ), the mouth organ ( Bawu ), the transverse flute ( Dizi ), the vessel flute ( Xun ), the lithophone ( Bianqing ) or the well-known gongs are played less and less. Occasionally there are connections between tradition and modernity: Elements of traditional dance and pop music, for example, merge in the San Taizi techno dance .

    Jay Chou 2008

    The music of Taiwanese musicians known in Asia is more soft pop and ballad-like. Pop artists influenced by rock music only publish these tendencies on a few songs on an album. Taiwanese song lyrics were banned in the media until martial law was abolished. Not all artists are from Taiwan, some of them are from the mainland or Hong Kong .

    SHE 2006 in Hong Kong

    One of the most famous singers in Taiwan was Teresa Teng (1953-1995), another is Sherry Chang ( Chinese 張惠妹, Pinyin Zhāng Huì-mèi ), better known as A-mei . In the beginning she often sang with her younger sister Saya and her cousin Raya in the trio Amei-mei ( Chinese 阿 妹妹, Pinyin Āmèi-mèi  - " Amei's younger sister"). The pop girl band " SHE " is successful in the East Asian region. The singer Jay Chou, born in 1979, is known throughout the Chinese-speaking world .

    Rock music is also enjoying a certain popularity. The band Power Station consists of two brothers from the Paiwan tribe. Internationally known is the extreme metal band Chthonic , which also performed regularly at the Wacken Open Air .

    The Taiwanese music market was influenced not only by the Chinese, but also by the music of the indigenous people. From the situation of being slowly displaced economically and culturally, the indigenous people sold art, handicrafts and music. Their music is linked to their special dances, which they perform in tourist shows rather than personal celebrations.

    The classic (Western) music is appreciated in Taiwan and taught at many universities. The leading institution today is the National Taiwan University of the Arts, which has entered into many international collaborations with other universities. Two composers have decisively influenced the classical music life in Taiwan over the past few decades: Chen Mao-Shuen (* 1936) and Ma Shuei-Long (* 1939). As a composition professor and head of the music department at Shida University in Taipei, Chen Mao-Shuen created extensive textbooks for harmony , composition , ear training and rhythm , which form the cornerstone of a Taiwanese school, with his teaching material being based on European school models. Even today his music theory textbooks are used in most music institutions. In addition, he wrote many compositions both as art music and as educational teaching pieces such as the piano sonatinas. Composing for educational purposes is a link to occidental traditions that are gradually being lost in Europe today. The composer Ma Shuei-Long caused an international sensation with his work "Bamboo Flute Concerto", which mixes western and Far Eastern stylistic elements. In 1983 this work became an international success when it was performed under Mstislav Rostropovich .


    Early photography in Taiwan is divided into two periods: the pre-Japanese period from 1858 to 1895 and the period of Japanese influence from 1895 to 1945 (the Japanese occupation of Taiwan ended in 1945). Much of the works from the pre-Japanese period were by traders and foreign missionaries. Chang Tsai (張 才 / 张 才), Deng Nan-guang (鄧南光 / 邓南光) and Lee Ming-diao (李鳴 鵰 / 李鸣 雕) are collectively known as the " Three Swordsmen" and are among the famous Taiwanese photographers who were active from 1930 to 1950. Modern photography was initially very much shaped by the nationalist government, which took possession of Taiwan in 1945.

    Time calculation and holidays

    The official counting of the years in Taiwan is based on the founding day of the Republic of China on January 1, 1912. The year 2011 (according to the Gregorian calendar ) is counted as the 100th year of the Republic of China in the Minguo calendar . The western counting of the year is also used in everyday life and in trade.

    The national holiday is the day of the (bourgeois) Chinese revolution on October 10th, also known as the "Double Ten Festival". This day commemorates the Wuchang uprising on October 10, 1911, which eventually led to the establishment of the Republic of China.

    January 1 is celebrated as the founding day of the Republic of China in 1912. February 28, the day of peace, commemorates the incident of February 28, 1947 . March 29th is celebrated as Youth Day, May 1st as International Labor Day and May 8th as International Mother's Day. The liberation from Japanese rule at the end of World War II is commemorated on October 25th. November 12th is celebrated as Sun Yat-sen's birthday and December 25th is Constitution Day.

    The following national holidays are based on the traditional Chinese calendar . The Qingming Festival or Feast of the Dead takes place on April 4th, 5th and rarely also on April 6th .

    The Chinese New Year celebrations in January or February, also known as the Spring Festival , have about four days off. The traditional Dragon Boat Festival takes place in May or June and the Moon Festival in September or October .

    education and Science

    Schooling begins at the age of six in elementary school, followed by three years of middle school and then three years of high school .

    The modern, western-influenced Taiwanese education system has its origins in the Japanese colonial era. After the island was handed over to the Republic of China, the system was further developed based on the American education system. The literacy rate in 2015 was 98.7 percent. In the 2015 PISA ranking , Taiwan's students ranked 4th out of 72 countries in math, 4th in science, and 26th in reading comprehension. Taiwanese students were among the best among all participating countries. However, the high pressure to perform that weighs on the students is criticized.

    School career up to university:

    1. Primary school (國 小, Guóxiǎo )
    2. Junior High School , actually: Middle School (國 中, Guózhōng )
    3. Senior High School or Senior Vocational School (高中, Gāozhōng or高職, Gāozhí )
    4. University (大學 / 大学, Dàxué ) and University of Applied Sciences (學院 / 学院, Xuéyuàn )

    The general school system is followed by university education. In addition to the actual subject, general subjects must also be taken there. After four years at university (graduation with a BA ), a master’s degree can be obtained in two to three years .

    In addition to the regular school, there are a number of private tutoring schools (補習班, bǔxíbān ). The vast majority of high school students attend them, among other things to prepare for university entrance exams.


    The Taiwanese media landscape is pluralistic and there is freedom of the press and freedom of expression. There is a wide variety of television and radio stations broadcasting in different languages ​​(mostly standard Chinese and Taiwanese , but also Hakka and the languages ​​of the indigenous people of Taiwan ). The four largest daily newspapers are the China Times , Liberty Times , United Daily News and Apple Daily . The internet is not censored. In 2017, Taiwan ranked 45th in the world press freedom list of the organization Reporters Without Borders , making it the best place in East Asia. The public service broadcaster Radio Taiwan International (RTI) is responsible for international broadcasting . Its programs are broadcast worldwide in 13 languages, including German. In addition to being present on the Internet, programs in German are also broadcast on the shortwave frequencies 3995 and 6185 kHz.


    Sport is a popular hobby. As a result of the Taiwan conflict, national teams have been competing under the name Chinese Taipei in international competitions such as the Olympic Games since the 1980s .


    Taiwanese badminton players are often among the top players in various disciplines. At the 2011 Badminton World Cup in London, Cheng Shao-Chieh was the first Taiwanese badminton player to reach the final, but was defeated by Wang Yihan, who was second in the world rankings . In the quarterfinals she was able to prevail against the world number one Wang Shixian .


    Baseball is the most popular sport. This sport was introduced to Taiwan during the Japanese colonial era and is now the national sport. The national league of the republic is the Chinese Professional Baseball League ( CPBL ). The final is the "Taiwan Series".

    There are quite a few Taiwanese baseball players in Japan and the United States. A very well-known of them is Wang Chien-ming , who currently (2017) plays for the Kansas City Royals . The greatest achievement of the Taiwanese national baseball team was winning the gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha .


    Basketball is also a popular sport and is considered the most played sport in the country. The Taiwanese Basketball League was founded in 2003 and is called the Super Basketball League (SBL). Sean Chen (Chen Hsin-An / 陳信安) is one of the top players after he failed to shine with the Sacramento Kings in the 2002 and 2003 NBA preparatory games.

    The US-born NBA star Jeremy Lin has Taiwanese roots and has therefore received offers to play for the Taiwanese national team, but has so far declined.


    Every year in March, the Tour de Taiwan (年 國際 自由 車 環 台 賽) takes place as part of the UCI Asia Tour . It was initiated in 1978 by King Liu , the founder of the Giant Sports Foundation . The tour was recognized by the Union Cycliste Internationale in 2005 and has since been an integral part of the Taipei Cycle Show of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.


    The soccer is organized by the Chinese Taipei Football Association , which provides the Taiwanese national women's soccer team and the Taiwanese national men's soccer team . The women's national team took part in the first World Cup in 1991 in the People's Republic of China , but was eliminated in the quarter-finals against eventual world champions USA . Along with Australia and New Zealand, it is one of three teams that have been champions of both Asia and Oceania . However, soccer never reached the popularity of baseball or basketball.

    The top division in men's football is the “ National Urban League ” (previously “Enterprise Football League” or officially “National First Division Football League”) and is managed by the two teams “ Tatung FC ” from Taipei and “ Taiwan Power Company FC” “ Dominated from Fengshan .

    There are also many amateur football clubs made up of immigrants who have their own competitions among themselves. One example is the " Kaohsiung 100 Pacers FC " in Kaohsiung .


    Marathons are held annually in different locations in Taiwan. Many participants come from all over the world to take part in these runs. The best known are the Taipei Expressway Marathon in March and the Taipei International Marathon in December.


    In recent years, the Taiwanese tennis players have achieved good results in international rankings. Lu Yen-hsun and Wang Yeu-tzuoo were among the top 100 at times. Lu's highest ranking was 33rd in November 2010 and Wang's 85th in March 2006. Both set records in the island's tennis history. Among the women of the new generations, Chan Yung-jan , Chuang Chia-jung and Hsieh Su-wei should be mentioned, in the 1990s Wang Shi-ting was a well-known player who was ranked 26th in the world in 1993.


    In the wake of the economic boom, it has become possible for larger parts of the Taiwanese population to travel both domestically and abroad. Visits by foreign tourists, on the other hand, played a subordinate role for the tourism industry, with most visitors coming from Japan for decades. This situation changed suddenly with the opening of Taiwan's tourist destinations to visitors from the People's Republic of China in 2008. Since then, the industry has recorded rapid growth, which can be attributed almost exclusively to the flow of visitors from China. In 2013, the tourism sector posted record sales of $ 12.32 billion. The island's tourist attractions are easily accessible via the extensive network of motorways and expressways .

    Taiwan's largest camping area opened in late 1991 in the Northeast Coast National Landscape Reserve, where the Shuangxi River meets the sea. In Longmen Park along the river bank, you can do water sports, cycling and camping, among other things.

    Native American culture

    Since the end of the 20th century, indigenous culture has also been discovered as a tourist attraction. In Wulai in northern Taiwan , for example, it is possible to experience the traditional dances and festivals of the Atayal tribe and to enjoy the sight of the waterfall, which cascades through the lush vegetation down to the valley.

    Stone Age finds in the village of Beinan

    In today's district Beinan of Taitung workers salvaged in 1980 several sarcophagi from the earth. This find was the beginning of an eight year long project that was supposed to help preserve the Beinan culture. The Beinan were a people of farmers and hunters who lived there more than 5,000 years ago.

    The pottery, stone utensils, jade objects, coffins and skeletons found at the excavation site are now kept at the Taitung County Cultural Center. The National Museum of Prehistoric Culture of Taiwan exhibits larger pieces in an open-air museum and smaller pieces in an indoor area.

    Hot Springs

    For centuries, elderly indigenous people came to the valley on the lower reaches of the Zhiben near Taitung in the southern part of the east coast in winter to dig shallow holes in the sand on the river bank, which were soon filled with hot water that gushed out of the earth there. The old folks then lay down in these makeshift bathtubs for pain relief.

    Chinese immigrants discovered the advantages of the valley a long time ago, which is now surrounded by papaya, banana and betel nut plantations, and opened up the recreational area of ​​the thermal springs of Zhiben. Sights are the "White Jade Waterfall" and the Chingchueh Temple, in which a bronze and a jade Buddha can be seen.

    In addition, there are other hot springs in almost all mountain regions of Taiwan, including in Yangmingshan National Park and in the Taroko Gorge.

    National parks

    It wasn't until the population density in Taiwan was very high that the government began to set up national parks. The national park program began in 1984 when Kenting National Park was established on the southern tip of the island . In 1985 and 1986 the national parks Yushan in central Taiwan, Yangmingshan in the north and Taroko in the east of the island followed. In 1992 the Shei Pa National Park was added in north-central Taiwan and in 1995 the Kinmen National Park . Today, 8.4% of the land area is under nature protection.

    Kenting National Park

    The Kenting National Park covers the southern tip of Taiwan and hence the only tropical coastal strip of the island. The park is surrounded by water on three sides: to the east by the Pacific, to the south by the Bashikanal ( Luzon Strait ) and to the west by the Taiwan Strait. The park covers over 177 km² of land and 149 km² of ocean. Kenting National Park is particularly known for its coral reefs , natural monsoon forests and tropical rainforests .

    Yangmingshan National Park

    The many hot springs on Mount Yangming are evidence of Taiwan's volcanic origins and are part of the Yangmingshan National Park north of the capital Taipei. Azaleas and cherry blossoms bloom here from February to April. During this time, the park is a popular destination. The play of colors is enriched by the numerous species of birds and butterflies.

    Taroko National Park

    The deeply cut Taroko Gorge, the main attraction of the national park of the same name , was created by a river that has worked its way through the limestone and granite mountains. A road carved into the rock winds through several hundred meters high, steeply soaring wooded mountains, while many meters further down the river flows past limestone cliffs. Here and there pavilions, pagodas or temples cling to the fog-shrouded mountain slopes, in other places waterfalls shoot out of rock crevices and tumble down steep cliffs.

    Shei Pa National Park

    In the south-east of the city of Hsinchu , two mighty peaks rise up in the central mountain range, the Xueshan and the Dabajianshan . They are the heart of Shei Pa National Park . Most of the park is undeveloped. The mountain rivers are clean and large areas are covered by the jungle. Like Yushan National Park and Taroko National Park, Shei-Pa serves as a refuge for Taiwan's four-legged mammals and two-legged backpack carriers.

    Kinmen National Park

    Established in 1995, Kinmen National Park takes up just under a quarter of the area of ​​the Kinmen Archipelago. The park is particularly noteworthy for its rich bird life.


    There are more than 400 museums in Taiwan, from the world-famous " National Palace Museum " to small local museums. The focal points of the museums include fine arts, modern and contemporary art, history, archeology, anthropology, natural sciences, technology, handicrafts, industry, memorial halls, theater, literature and music.

    Most of the museums are located in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung, but museums have now opened in other cities or counties. The task of setting up and maintaining public museums lies with the Ministry of Culture or the respective local authorities.

    The National Palace Museum

    Taipei's fascinating National Palace Museum is home to the world's largest collection of priceless Chinese works of art, spanning 5,000 years of China's history. Most of the 620,000 items were part of the imperial collection, which began over 1,000 years ago in the early Song period . Only the best pieces from the imperial collection are kept here. Even so, this treasure is far too extensive to be exhibited all at once. Many of the particularly valued pieces are on permanent display. However, the majority of the collection of jade, chinaware, paintings and bronzes is regularly exchanged.

    It is the only museum in Taiwan whose director is appointed by the Prime Minister and is thus directly under the central government.

    The National History Museum

    The National History Museum, located on a corner of the Taipei Botanical Gardens , has a unique collection of historical exhibits.

    Modern Art Museum

    Works of modern art are presented in the 24 exhibition rooms of the Museum of Modern Art. A number of private galleries, many of which are close together in Taipei's Dinghao district, specialize in a wide variety of Chinese and Western-style paintings.

    National Art Museum

    The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung is one of the largest art museums in Asia and is primarily dedicated to contemporary Taiwanese art with an emphasis on digital formats.


    Source: "Museums of Taiwan" of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of China

    1915 Opening of the National History Museum, the first museum in Taiwan, by the Japanese colonial government .

    1953 The "Law for Social Education" (repealed in 2015) defines museums as social educational institutions and subordinates them to the Ministry of Education.

    1965 Opening of the National Palace Museum .

    1983 Taipei City Art Museum opens, the first Taiwanese museum to be fully devoted to young, modern art from the island.

    1990 Foundation of the "Chinese Association of Museums" (Chinese Museum Association) with links to national and international museums.

    1994 Opening of the "Shung Ye Museum", initiated by the Taiwanese Aboriginal Foundation of the same name.

    2002 The Ministry of Culture approved the "Local Cultural Center Development Plan" (development plan for local cultural centers) , the small museums should continue to promote.


    See also


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    • Mathias Neukirchen: The representation of China and the status of Taiwan in international law. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2004, ISBN 3-8329-0459-X .
    • Gunter Schubert (Ed.): Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Taiwan. Routledge, London 2016, ISBN 978-1-138-78187-0 .
    • John Robert Shepherd: Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier. Stanford University Press, Stanford 1993, ISBN 0-8047-2066-5 .
    • Oskar Weggel : The History of Taiwan. From the 17th century until today. Edition global, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-922667-08-7 . ( Review by Urs Schoettli in the NZZ of June 22, 2007) (1st edition, Böhlau, 1991, ISBN 3-412-02891-6 ).
    • Thomas Weyrauch : China's neglected republic. 100 years in the shadow of world history. Volume 1: 1911-1949 . Longtai 2009, ISBN 978-3-938946-14-5 .
    • Thomas Weyrauch: China's neglected republic. 100 years in the shadow of world history. Volume 2: 1950-2011 . Longtai 2011, ISBN 978-3-938946-15-2 .

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    Coordinates: 24 °  N , 121 °  E