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276 China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994© 1994 by University ofHawai'i Press Steve Tsang, editor. In the Shadow ofChina: Political Developments in Taiwan since 1949. Honolulu: University ofHawai'i Press, 1993. xiii, 221 pp. Hardcover $39.00. As Steve Tsang points out, until recently Taiwan has been seen by many as an Oriental military dictatorship, tainted by the imposition of a Kuomintang (KMT) party-state, which lost the civil war to the Communists in China in 1949. The merit of this volume is to dispense with much of this out-of-date conception, and highlight the important fact that Taiwan has emerged politically from the military dictatorship of Chiang Kai-shek in fhe 1950s to become an increasingly democratically oriented state in die early 1990s. What explains this political transformation in Taiwan in the late twentieth century? The theme of this volume, as Steve Tsang articulates in the Introduction, is that Taiwan politics since 1949 has been under the shadow of mainland China. First, there is the question of survival. The very presence of mainland China as a potential threat to the survival of Taiwan was the single most important external factor in the decision of KMT leaders, including Chiang Ching-kuo, to introduce democratic reforms in the latter half of the 1980s. Furthermore, the issue of survival defines the limits of political change in Taiwan because any serious move toward independence will provoke a much feared hostile reaction from the mainland , which could threaten Taiwan's survival. The second element of the Chinese shadow on Taiwanese politics is the problem of provincial versus national identity. On the one hand, there exists in Taiwan a very strong Taiwanese consciousness, which can be taken to imply either Taiwan for the native-born Taiwanese or a common identity for all residents who identify with Taiwan. Either way, this poses Aie question of whether being Taiwanese is the same as being Chinese. On the other hand, there is the presence of a strong countervailing force—the so-called historical aspiration of the Chinese people for a united country. Opinion surveys in Taiwan indicate that residents in Taiwan generally are proud of the cultural heritage of China and they wish to see peaceful unification. Most residents in Taiwan think of themselves as both Taiwanese and Chinese, and live happily in the shade of China's history. The third element of China's shadow on Taiwan's politics is the fact that Taiwan's government is a continuation of Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist regime in Nanking. Chiang took with him to Taiwan in 1949 a determination to erect a Confucian-oriented Leninist-style party-state. Chiang's tactics were to eliminate his opponents, use his subordinates to check and balance each other, educate and indoctrinate his subjects, incorporate special-interest groups into the state machinery , strengthen social control, and maintain a strong dictatorial leadership. In Reviews 277 addition, since Chiang made a public commitment to reconquer the mainland, he was able to justify the setting up ofa police state, the imposition ofmartial law, and the blocking of the road to Taiwan's independence. Other chapters in this volume then elaborate the China-shadow thesis from different angles. Focusing on constitutional reforms, Hungdah Chiù explains that a meaningful constitutional reform must tackle the question of Taiwan's relations with mainland China, and Hermann Halbeisen points out that Aie KMT prefers the amending of the 1947 Constitution, while the opposing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) demands the replacement of the old constitution with a new one for the "Republic of Taiwan." Highlighting the identity question, Thomas Gold reveals that it was only through the nativist literature movement in the 1970s that a new generation ofyoung intellectuals began to examine Aieir own roots, explore the lives of Aie common people ofthe island, and craft a distinctive Taiwan consciousness . As an insider viewing Taiwan's policy toward the mainland, Ying-jeou Ma states that Taipei supports the goal of unification, but only if it will result in a free, democratic, and equitably prosperous country, and only if it can be achieved on the basis of reason, peace, parity, and reciprocity. Aside from fhe discussions on...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 276-277
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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