Perspectives
Index

 

About 
perspectives

 

Perspectives
on education 

Perspectives 
on housing 

Perspectives
on foreign
policy

 

The Role of 
Public Diplomacy
in the Evolution of
United States–China
Relations,
1972 through 2002

I.  The Getting-to-
Know-You Years, 
1972 through 1979

 

II.  1980 through 2000:
The Years of Explosive
Growth in Travel,
 Investment, Commerce, 
and Cross-Cultural
Study and
Language Training

 

III.  Todays United States China Interdependence:
Lessons Learned and Their
Application to the Current
United States
Islam Divide

 

One China or Two?

 

 


How much credibility should we afford the Communist Chinese government?  Not much, according to Claudia Rosett, columnist for the Wall Street Journal.  See "Taking Liberties:  Bush shrugs as China prepares to crush freedom in Hong Kong," Opinion Journal, June 11, 2003.

 

China-Taiwan History, Online NewsHour, PBS

 

History of Taiwan, 
published by the 
Government Information
Office in Taiwan


Perspectives on Foreign Policy

 China 
 

 

 One China or Two?

 

 

Notes from a speech given at a meeting 
of the Cape Club, April 2003.

 

Robert L. Nichols

 

Tonight my focus will center on a long-standing problem in United States-China relations:  the status of Taiwan.  Is it a part of China, or is it an independent state?  Are there two Chinas, or is there only one?  And will this controversy be settled peacefully?

        To fully understand the so-called Two Chinas question or problem requires tracing its origins in the history of Taiwan. Early in the first millennium there were several exploratory expeditions to the island from mainland China, but it wasn’t until A.D. 1111 that the first mainlanders–Hakkas  from southeast China-- migrated there. Then in 1517 Portuguese vessels sailing to Japan saw Taiwan and called it "Ilha Formosa" (beautiful island), and that is the origin of that name for the island. Then in the first half of the seventeenth century, the Dutch and the Spanish fought for the island, and in 1642, the Spanish were driven out by the Dutch.  The Dutch administered the island from 1642 to 1661. 

        In 1644 in mainland China the Manchus overthrew the Ming dynasty and established the Qing dynasty and Beijing as China's capital. In the fifty years that followed, the Manchus gained control of many border areas including Tibet, Mongolia, Burma, and Taiwan.  

        In 1664, Ming dynasty loyalists retreated from the mainland and occupied Taiwan, using the island as a base from which they hoped to continue their military struggle for Ming dynasty supremacy in China. In 1683 the Manchu invaded Taiwan and defeated the Ming loyalists. The Manchu dynasty ruled Taiwan as a prefecture (1).  It wasn’t until 1885 that Taiwan (meaning terraced bay) became a province of the mainland.  Then in 1895, after Japan defeated China in the Sino-Japanese War, China ceded Taiwan to Japan.  

        Japan retained control over Taiwan until Japan was defeated in 1945 in World War II.  Then control over Taiwan reverted back to China— to the Nationalist Chinese Republic of Chiang Kaishek. When Mao Zedong and the Communist forces defeated the Nationalists in 1949, Chiang Kaishek and his government and supporters fled to Taiwan, where they made Taipei the provisional capital of the Nationalist Republic of China (ROC).  In March1950 Chiang Kaishek resumed his presidency of the Republic of China, and in June of the same year President Truman sent the Seventh Fleet to the Taiwan Strait to block a planned invasion by Mao’s Communist forces. There were then two Chinas: the Nationalist Republic on Taiwan and the Communist People's Republic of China (PRC) on the mainland. 

(Continue to page 2.)

 


A BIG MEETING IN A SMALL TOWN
A 1909 conference at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York,
may have affected Chinese politics.

In August 1909, Colgate University was the scene of an election involving less than 200 people that may have influenced the fate of the world's most populous nation and given momentum to the revolution that overthrew dynastic rule two years later.

     The election took place at the fifth annual conference of the Chinese Students of the Eastern States held at Colgate that summer. The Chinese Students Alliance, which organized the conference, was in the midst of electing new leaders. Election to a leadership role in the alliance was tantamount to nomination for leadership in the Chinese republic that was declared in 1911. 

     The rest of this story may be read on the Colgate University Web site.