Fowles's social and political opinions aren't ingratiatingly expressed, but they often sound more blimpish than they are. This, for instance, was prompted by the suicide of an acquaintance: 'The characteristic deformation of the first generation of women's lib, perhaps the one thing the future will never realise about it: the cost, the mask it required.' This isn't flattering, but nor is it unsympathetic. On the page, he's better company than perhaps I'm making him sound, particularly when he's describing nature, bird behaviour above all.
Edward Friedman, an expert on Chinese politics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, said many people in the West had been clinging to the misguided notion that China’s economic development would quickly lead to political liberalization. “It’s clear that what matters most to the Chinese Communist Party is the survival of the regime and their monopoly on power,” he said.
Taiwanese march against president
Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Taipei
Thousands of opposition supporters have taken to the streets in Taiwan to protest against President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of engagement with China.Nationalist critics argue the policies threaten to undermine the island's self-rule.
Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Tsai Ing-wen led marching protesters to the president's office in Taipei.
The demonstration came ahead of the first anniversary on Wednesday of the president's coming to power.
He has also said he will abandon his predecessor's anti-Chinese policies, a position which the opposition says weakens Taiwan's sovereignty.
After Sunday's march, participants were expected to hold a sit-in protest for another 24 hours to mark their opposition to government policies.
Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which split from the mainland at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
Relations between the two have improved since Mr Ma's election last year.
Location: one large and several smaller islands about 100 mi. (160 km) off SE coast of mainland China. Taipei 25°03′N, 121°30′E.
Boundaries: East China Sea to N, Pacific Ocean to E, Bashi Channel to S, and Formosa Strait to W; separated from mainland by Formosa Strait.
Total area: 13,892 sq. mi. (35,980 sq km).
Coastline: 900 mi. (1,448 km).
Comparative area: slightly smaller than Maryland.
Land use: 24% arable land; 1% permanent crops;75% other.
Major cities: (1992 est.) Taipei (capital) 2,696,073; Kaohsiung 1,405,909; Taichung 794,960; Tainan 694,630; Panchiao 543,982.
Population: 22,603,001 (2003 est.).
Nationality: noun—Chinese (sing., pl.); adjective—Chinese.
Ethnic groups: 84% Taiwanese, 14% mainland Chinese, 2% aborigine.
Languages: Mandarin Chinese (official); Taiwanese and Hakka dialects also used.
Religions: 93% mixture of Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist; 4.5% Christian, 2.5% other.
Type: multi-party democratic regime headed by popularly elected president.
Constitution: Jan. 1, 1947, amended 1992, 1994, and 1997.
National holiday: National Day, Oct. 10.
Heads of Government: Chen Shui-bian, president (since March 2000); Chang Chunsiung, premier (since Oct. 2000).
Structure: executive—president appoints premier; two-chamber legislature—Legislative Yuan, National Assembly; judiciary—Judicial Yuan.
Monetary unit: New Taiwan dollar.
Budget: (2002 est.)
income: $36 bil.;
expend.: $36 bil.
GDP: $406 bil., $18,000 per capita (2002 est.).
Chief crops: rice, wheat, corn, soybeans, vegetables, fruit, tea; pigs, poultry, beef, milk; fish.
Natural resources: small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, and asbestos.
Major industries: electronics, petroleum refining, textiles, clothing, chemicals.
Labor force: 10 mil. (2002 est.); 35% industry and commerce, 58% services, 7% agriculture.
Exports: $130 bil. (f.o.b., 2002); 54% electrical equipment and machinery, metals, textiles, plastics, chemicals, electronic products.
Imports: $113 bil. (c.i.f., 2002); 44.5% machinery and electrical equipment, electronic products, minerals, precision instruments.
Major trading partners: (2000)
exports: 23% U.S., 22% Hong Kong,10% Japan;
imports: 24% Japan, 16% U.S., 13% Europe.
Nominally part of the Chinese empire since the Song dynasty (960–1279), Taiwan was inhabited only by non-Chinese aboriginals before the 17th century. Around 1600 the Portuguese established a trading station on Taiwan; they named the island Ilha Formosa. In 1620 the Dutch built Fort Zeelandia near present-day Tainan, controlling the island until they were driven out by the Chinese pirate-patriot Koxinga (Zheng Chenggong). Remnants of the overthrown Ming dynasty (1368–1644) held out on the island until 1683, when it came under the sway of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Thereafter, substantial numbers of farmers from Fujian Province migrated to the fertile western lowlands of the island, driving the aboriginals into the central mountains. The Qing dynasty administered Taiwan as a semiautonomous subprovince of Fujian Province.
Following China's defeat by Japan in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95, Taiwan was ceded to Japan as a colony. The Japanese built roads and railroads to exploit Taiwan's resources of rice, timber, and minerals. In 1945, after Japan's defeat in World War II, Taiwan was returned to China.
As the Chinese civil war turned against the Nationalist party of Chiang Kai-shek (see “China”), Nationalist troops began to prepare Taiwan as a base for a retreat from the mainland.
In 1947 Nationalist agents executed several thousand students and others suspected of favoring Taiwan's independence from China. In 1949 approximately two million Nationalist soldiers, government officials, and civilian sympathizers retreated to Taiwan. The relocated Republic of China (ROC) continued to claim to be the legitimate government of all of China, now under Communist control. In addition to Taiwan proper, the Nationalists occupied the P'eng-hu Islands in the Taiwan Straits and the small islands of Quemoy and Matsu just off the coast of Fujian. Recovery of the mainland became a cornerstone of ROC policy, but no serious attempt was made to do so. U.S. policy in the Taiwan Straits was to defend Taiwan against Communist attack but also to keep the two rival governments of China separated.
A successful program of land reform in the early 1950's led to the creation of surplus capital, which fueled the development of an industrial base on the island. Foreign investment from Japan and the United States, and American military and economic aid, also enhanced economic development. By the early 1970's, the island had developed an export-oriented economy, producing textiles, cement, plastics, assembled electronic appliances, and other manufactured goods.
Chiang Kai-shek, president of the Republic of China since 1928, died in 1975 and was succeeded by his son, Chiang Ching-kuo. Under both father and son, the Nationalist party (Kuomintang, or KMT) controlled both the ROC and the Taiwan Provincial governments; mainland refugees and their descendants (15% of the population) dominated senior government posts and the military officer corps. Native Taiwanese played the leading role in agriculture, industry, and in local and county governments.
In 1971 China's seat in the United Nations was taken away from the ROC and awarded to the People's Republic of China, leaving Taiwan in international diplomatic limbo. On Jan. 1, 1979, the United States withdrew its recognition of the ROC and inaugurated mutual diplomatic relations with the People's Republic. Under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, nominally nongovernmental relations were maintained between the U.S. and Taiwan through the American Institute in Taipei and Taiwan's Coordination Council for North American Affairs in Washington, D.C. Taiwan's economy has continued to be one of the world's most vigorous; Taiwan enjoys a substantial favorable balance of trade with the U.S.
In 1986 Pres. Chiang Ching-kuo began a policy of liberalization; in 1987, he abolished martial law and allowed non-KMT political parties to function legally. Some barriers to travel and communication with the mainland by ROC citizens were eased, but Taiwan's government continued to rebuff all calls from the mainland for direct contacts and discussions of reunification. Chiang Ching-kuo died in Jan. 1988 and was succeeded by his vice president, Lee Teng-hui. In March 1990, Lee was overwhelmingly reelected by the National Assembly in the first election for the office.
The ruling KMT maintained its hold on power in legislative elections on Dec. 19, 1992, but the opposition Democratic Progressive party scored a stunning success, tripling its number of legislative seats and bringing the issue of Taiwanese independence to the forefront. Factional rivalry deepened in the KMT, with Pres. Lee's Wisdom Coalition challenged by the New Kuomintang Alliance of Prime Minister (and former general) Hau Pei-tsun. Hau reluctantly resigned on Feb. 3, 1993, to take responsibility for the electoral fiasco, but his faction, with military backing, continued to pose a threat to Pres. Lee's power.
During the campaign for Taiwan's presidential election in March, 1996, China held aggressive military exercises off the coast of Taiwan in an effort to influence the voting; the U.S. sent two aircraft carriers to the area. In a rebuke to Beijing, President Lee, who had campaigned for a more visible international role for Taiwan, was resoundingly re-elected; he was also re-elected as the head of the KMT in August, 1997. Since then, talks for cross-straits cooperation between Taiwan and the PRC have been inconclusive, and the ruling KMT saw its power eroded in local elections as voters protest against corruption and economic stagnation related to the Asia-wide economic crises of 1997–98. The KMT rebounded strongly in 1998 elections but tensions rose in 1999 with mainland China, when Pres. Lee's expressed interest in Taiwan's being included in a proposed anti-missile defense of its Asian allies (the “last straw” to Beijing). Later, Lee announced that Taiwan would conduct its relations with China on a “state-to-state” basis, meaning Taiwan was an independent state—to Beijing, an “extremely dangerous step”. In March 2000, the KMT was peacefully voted out of power after 50 years. Chen Shui-Bian of the Democratic-Progressive Party was elected president. In Aug. 2002 Chen said he would seek legislation to authorize a referendum on Taiwanese independence.
noun[mass noun] informal
liberalizationMeaning #1: the act of making less strict
Synonyms: liberalisation, relaxation
By DAVID BARBOZA and JOHN MARKOFF
China may be thrust it to the forefront of the next generation of computing, many American experts say.
2 informal a person of a specified kind or character:she’s a sharp old bird
- The foremost part or area.
- The position of most importance, prominence, or responsibility; the vanguard: in the forefront of the liberation movement. Also called foreground.