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Taiwan independence

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Taiwan independence is a political movement whose goal is to create a sovereign, independent Republic of Taiwan out of the current Republic of China. It is supported by the pan-green coalition on Taiwan and opposed by the pan-blue coalition and the People's Republic of China.

This movement is internationally significant in that a formal declaration of independence is one of the three conditions under which the PRC has stated that it will take military action against Taiwan (the other two being that Taiwan develops an atomic bomb, or if Taiwan comes under 'foreign interference'). This would raise the possibility of an intervention by the United States under the Taiwan Relations Act and the possibility of a superpower conflict in East Asia.

This movement began under the Japanese, and was ironically supported by Mao Zedong in the 1930's.

After the Kuomintang began to rule the island, the focus of the movement was as a vehicle for discontent from the native Taiwanese against the rule of "mainlanders" (i.e. people who came over with Chiang's armies in the late 1940s). Between 1949 and 1991, the official position of the government on Taiwan was that it was the legitimate government of all of China and used this position as justification for authoritarian measures such as the refusal to hold parliamentary elections. The Taiwan independence movement intensified in response to this and presented an alternative vision of a sovereign and independent Republic of Taiwan. This vision was represented through a number of symbols such as the use of Min-nan in opposition to the school taught Mandarin language. Taiwan independence has been some of the motivation behind the Taiwanese localization movement.

In more recent years, the focus of the movement has changed to that of insuring the sovereign and dignity of Taiwan against the possiblity of rule by the People's Republic of China, and as such has been more willing to take on the symbols of the Republic of China. The movement has also moderated in recent years because of decreasing friction between "Mainlander" and "native" communities on Taiwan, increasing economic ties with the Mainland, continuing threats by the People's Republic of China to invade if it declares independence, and doubts as to whether or not the United States would support a unilateral declaration of independence. Opinion polls suggest that the vast majority of Taiwanese support the "status quo" which is to leave Taiwan's status exactly the way that it is. One advantage of this option is that it avoids the necessity of defining exactly what Taiwan's status really is.



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