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Quemoy

Quemoy or Kinmen (金門, pinyin Jinmen) is an island administrated by the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan. Administratively, it is in the Kinmen County of Fujian Province.

Many of the inhabitants speak the Northern Min language.

Table of contents

Name

"Quemoy", meaning "Golden Door", is in the Min language, "Kinmen" an obscure Mandarin Romanization. (The formerly popular Wade-Giles reads "Chin-men".)

History

The island was the site of extensive shelling between PRC and ROC forces in the 1950s and 1960s and was a major issue in the 1960 United States Presidential Election between Kennedy and Nixon. In the 1950s, the United States threatened to use nuclear weapons against the PRC, if it attacked the island.

The island was a military preserve until the mid-1990s when it was returned to civilian government and travel to and from Taiwan was allowed. Because of its military situation, development on Quemoy was extremely limited and it is now a popular weekend tourist destination for Taiwanese and is known for its quiet villages and beaches. Direct travel between the Mainland China and Quemoy was opened in 2002, and there has been extensive tourism development on the island in anticipation of Mainland tourists. However, direct travel was suspended in 2003 as a result of the SARS outbreak.

Politics

The island consistently votes for the pan-blue coalition. Until the early 1990s, proponents of Taiwan independence argued that they would consider handing Quemoy to the PRC in any negotiated settlement. This did not sit well with residents, and the Democratic Progressive Party has sharply backed away from that position to the extent that it added Quemoy and the other small islands to its party flag which contains a map of Taiwan.

Townships

Kinmen County is subdivided into six townships:

  • Chinch'eng Township (金城鎮 Jīnchéng) "Golden City"
  • Chinsha Township (金沙鎮 Jīnshā) "Golden Sand"
  • Chinhu Township (金湖鎮 Jīnhú) "Golden Lake"
  • Chinning Township (金寧鄉 Jīnníng) "Golden Tranquility"
  • Lieyü Township (烈嶼鄉) "Heroic Islets"
  • Wuch'iu Township (烏坵鄉) "Black Mound"

Chinch'eng and Chinsha are the largest of the six counties. Altogether, there are 93 Quemoy villages, four of which -- all in Chinsha -- are li-village (里), the rest are tsun-villages (村).

See also: Political divisions of Taiwan

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