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Republic of China

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The Republic of China (中華民國 ; Wade-Giles: Chung¹-hua² Min²-kuo² ; pinyin: Zhōnghuá mínguó) was the government that administered Mainland China from 1911 to 1949 until it was defeated by the Chinese Communists and has administered Taiwan and several small islands from 1945 until the present. The provisional capital is Taipei and official capital remains the city of Nanking in Mainland China. (See also: Min Guo)

Although the current government leans toward Taiwan independence it has not formally renounced its jurisdiction over Mainland China (including Tibet). The relationship with Mongolia is more complicated. Until 1945, the ROC claimed jurisdiction over Mongolia, but under Soviet pressure, it recognized Mongolian independence. Shortly thereafter, it repudiated this recognition and continued to claim jurisdiction over Mongolia until recently.

Since the late 1990s, relationship with Mongolia has become a controversial topic. The DPP is attempting to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia, but this move is controversial because it is widely seen as a prelude for renouncing ROC sovereignty over Mainland China thereby declaring Taiwan independence.

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The Republic of China developed out of an uprising against the Qing Dynasty which began at Wuchang on October 10, 1911. This date is celebrated in Taiwan as Double Tenth Day. The uprising is now called Wuchang Uprising. Emboldened by the lack of response against this uprising, provincial assemblies began to secede forcing the last emperor to abdicate.

Early Republic

The Republic of China was declared on January 1, 1912. The last Qing emperor Puyi abdicated on February 12, 1912. In August 1912, Sung Chiao-jen formed the Kuomintang. A parliamentary election was held in February 1913. The opposing parties were Yuan Shikai's followers and Sung Chiao-jen's Kuomintang. After a landslide victory by Kuomintang, Yuan Shikai had Sung Chiao-jen assassinated. Hatred toward Yuan grew, but numerous rebellions were crushed by Yuan. Sun Yat-sen fled to Japan for his own safety. The parliament officially elected Yuan Shikai the president of Republic of China in October 1913. Yuan's government was diplomatically recognized by most of the nations. To induce this recognition, Yuan gave Outer Mongolia and Tannu Tuva to Russia and Tibet to the British Empire. Soon after Yuan dissolved the parliament and reinstated the monarchy. Many provinces declared independence and became warlord states. Yuan Shikai died of natural causes in 1916 ending the brief monarchy.

Warlord Era

The initial high hopes for the Republic were quickly undermined as the Republic was divided among military warlords.

During World War I, Japan, fighting on the allied side, seized Germany's sphere of influence in Shandong province. Through secret diplomatic channels, the Beijing warlord government agreed to let Japan keep Shandong. The public did not know about agreement until the announcement of the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I. This act, which most Chinese have regarded as traitorous, provoked major demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919 and started what became known as the May Fourth Movement.

Sun Yat-sen gained control of Guangdong province with the help of southern warlords in 1917. Sun reestablished Kuomintang in October 1919.

(Things to add about Warlord Era)

  • Communist Party of China
  • Soviet support of CCP and KMT
  • Soviet training
  • Death of Sun and rise of Chiang Kai-shek
  • List major warlords

Civil War

See Chinese Civil War

The Republic of China on Taiwan

In 1949, Chiang Kai-shek evacuated the government of the Republic of China to Taiwan, which had been ceded from Japan in 1945, and declared Taipei as the temporary capital of China. Because of the Cold War, until the 1970s, the Republic of China was recognized as the sole legitimate government of both Mainland China and Taiwan by the United Nations and most Western nations.

The 1970s saw a switch in diplomatic recognitions from the ROC to the People's Republic of China. In October 1971, Resolution 2758 was passed by the UN General Assembly, expelling the Republic of China and replacing the China seat on the Security Council (and all other UN organs) with the People's Republic of China. It declared "that the representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations" and thus labeled the Republic of China a renegade authority. Multiple attempts by the Republic of China to rejoin the UN have not made it past committee.

In 1991, the President Lee Teng-hui stated that the government would no longer challenge the rule of the Communist Party on the Mainland, but the National Assembly has not officially renounced its right to rule Mainland China and Outer Mongolia. Such a declaration would be opposed by supporters of Chinese reunification on Taiwan and may ironically be interpreted as a declaration of independence upon which the Mainland may take military action. As of 2002, the government, which is controlled by the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, has been very careful in its statements and has taken a policy of ambiguity. However, President Chen Shui-bian has promised not to change the symbols of the Republic of China and the flag, official name, holidays, and pictures of Sun Yat-Sen remain.

As of 2002, the Republic of China continues to be officially recognized by 27 nations, mostly small countries in Central America and Africa but also including the Holy See. The People's Republic of China has a policy of not having diplomatic relations with any nation which recognizes the Republic of China and insists that all nations with which it has diplomatic relations make a statement which recognizes its claims on Taiwan. In practice, most major nations maintain unofficial semi-diplomatic relations with Taiwan and the statement which is required by the PRC is couched in extremely carefully worded ambiguity.

Until the mid-1990s, supporters of Taiwan independence opposed the Republic of China and supported the creation of an independent Republic of Taiwan. Since the mid-1990s, a compromise has been reached between most supporters of Taiwan independence and Chinese reunification on Taiwan to support the continuation of the Republic of China but as a government that administers only Taiwan. The Taiwan Solidarity Union which is the smaller party within the pan-Green coalition opposes this compromise.

Although the Democratic Progressive Party displays the symbols of the ROC in official governmental contexts, the symbols of the ROC are almost never seen in party political contexts. By contrast, supporters of the pan-blue coalition will display the symbols of ROC, such as flags and national songs, in party political rallies.

See also: History of Taiwan, History of China, Timeline of Chinese history

See also:

Compare to: People's Republic of China, China

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