Taiwan's citizens are forced to assimilate with Japan, taking Japanese names and learning the Japanese language. In fact, during World War II, 200,000 Taiwanese are drafted into the Japanese army; 40,000 die for Japan. The May 4 Movement on mainland in 1919 sparks demands for democracy in Taiwan. The construction of transportation and communication infrastructure improve the quality of life.
Disillusionment and resistance to Chinese Nationalist leadership comes to a head in the February 28 Incident of 1947. In response to popular protests, the new government terrorizes and kills 10,000 Taiwan natives.
Nationalists wage extensive propaganda campaigns with balloons, leaflets, and songs, encouraging people to join them in their push to take back mainland China from the Communists.
Popular dissent is brutally crushed and Taiwan remains under martial law, with no freedom of expression. With the Cultural Revolution raging on mainland China, Taiwan steps up efforts to present itself to the United States as a reasonable, democratic place. After the Shanghai Communique is signed in 1972, ad campaigns touting Taiwan in the American media increase.
When the United States revokes its recognition of Taiwan and cancels its security treaty, the Taiwanese government bolsters internal security. All criticism of the regime is crushed. Demonstrations for an end to martial law continue. A brain drain continues as talented scientists and technical experts flee Taiwan.
Martial law is lifted in 1987, as are restrictions on travel to mainland China. For the first time in 40 years, thousands of Chinese people return to visit their families and villages. By the end of 1988, the population of Taiwan is approximately 20 million. Pro-democracy movements sweep Taiwan, and the question of which is the "real" China is pushed into the open.
Following the lifting of martial law, Taiwan initially experiences social disorder and nostalgia for the stability of the martial-law era. Despite open questions about the wisdom of lifting martial law, Taiwan moves steadily towards democratic governance. The opposition victory in 2000 marks the entrenchment of pluralist politics and a significant social change.
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