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How Is Taiwan Doing

Updated on August 29, 2016

After the Nationalist government was defeated by the Communist in mainland China in 1950, Chiang Kai-shek led his army of 600,000 along with 2 million refugees retreating to the island of Taiwan. With the military protection and the economic support from the United States, Chiang re-established his government of the Republic of China on the tiny island hoping to go back and regain his rule in mainland China. Chiang died in 1975 without fulfilling his wish. Today, Taiwan has a population of 23 millions and a democratic government with a multi-party political system. Its economic is booming with a stable society founded on freedom of speech and press mirroring to those in the United States.


Taiwan is an island located south-east of mainland China separated by a narrow strait of ocean. It was colonized by the Dutch during the early 1600 serving as a trading base. In the late 1600, after the fall of the Ming Dynasty at the hand of the Manchu’s (the ruler of the new Qing Dynasty), Zheng Chenggong (a renegade commander of the Ming imperial court) retreated to Taiwan. He chased away the Dutch and established a power base to continue the resistance against the Qing Dynasty. Not long later in 1683, Qing army over-threw Zheng’s rule and claimed Taiwan as its sovereign territory. It was not till 1895 that the Qing government ceded Taiwan to Japan, the result of a peace agreement after the first of its many futile efforts to stop Japan’s invasion. Taiwan was finally returned to China after Japan’s surrender at the end of the 2nd world War in 1945.

After Chiang settled his government in Taiwan in 1950, he was completely on his own to fend for his people of around 8 million (including local inhabitants). However, with the breakout of the Korean War in June of the same year, the United States recognized the strategic importance of Taiwan as a front line defense against the perceived worldwide communist aggressions. United States sent in the 7th fleet to the Taiwan Strait to prevent the imminent attack by Mao’s People Liberation Army.


With the United States’ military protection and the economic aides, Chiang’s government gained a second lease on life and a desperately needed reprieve after 8 years of grueling and brutal war with Japan followed by the humiliating and the total defeat at the hands of Mao’s communist force. Even though Chiang’s government was formed under the constitution of Dr. Sun’s Three Principles of the People, it had to enforce the Martial Law to maintain order and prevent communist infiltration. In the same time, it also promoted agriculture modernization and land reform, and built infrastructures for economic growth. Its education system was based on the time-honored Confucius teachings. After 38 years in 1988, Taiwan had achieved economical independence and prosperity. Its general populace were well-educated, hard-working, and enjoying a standard of living similar to that in the United States. The Martial Law was lifted and other political parties with different agendas were proliferating in a new democratic government. Freedom of speech, press, and election of government officials were protected by the judicial system and guaranteed by the constitution.


Taiwan has one of the best and efficient health care in the world. It is implemented in 1995 modeled closely to the United States’ Medicare program and the Canada’s single-payer system with universal insurance coverage. The total insurance premium for employed workers is 4.6 percent of wages and the government fully subsidizes the premiums for the poor and gives partial subsidies to veterans, the self-employed and farmers. Everyone carries a Smart Card that contains the complete medical record and can choose any doctor or hospital each wants with minimum waiting time. The present enrollment rate is close to 99% and no one has to worry about going bankrupt due to sickness. Taiwan spends 6 percent of GDP on health care, compared to 16 percent in the United States.


Taiwan is located in a subtropical zone and is well suited for the cultivation of many tropical fruits. In addition, Taiwan has mountains rising almost 13,000 feet above sea level, and the cool climate of these mountains allows Taiwan to also produce temperate-zone fruits such as persimmons, apples, Asian pears, and nectarines to coexist with such tropical fruits as Logans, lychees, mangoes, and pineapples on an island only 248 miles long. After decades of improved cultivation technologies and breeding, Taiwan fruits are well-known around the world market due to their high quality, taste, and diversified varieties. The value of fresh fruit exports is average around $331million and is an important source of revenue for the island nation.

Taipei 101

Taipei 101 was completed in 2004 with a height of 1671 feet . It was the world's tallest building until the completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010. It is shaped like a bamboo with its outwardly green color. The upper section composes of 8 distinct segments with 8 floors in each segment. All together, the building signifies strength, growth, prosperity, and longevity .

Snack Food

Taiwan can boast that it has the world’s best snack food in terms of variety, quality, and taste. As it has been demonstrated around the world with the omnipresence of the Chinese restaurant, Chinese people are very particular about the food they enjoy. In Taiwan, this obsession encourages many small stores to spring up with unique, tasty, and affordable dishes in order to attract and satisfy ever demanding customers. These small stores are different from the big restaurants in that they are normally ma and pop operation with small overhead offering few variety but specialized food. They are usually located at unassuming places or street corners where the rent is reasonable and the traffic is light.

The most special and popular eatery is the Night Market Snack Food. It is the flea market of eatery where close to a hundred of different snack food vendors gather in an (sometimes temporary) opening. Most small town has its own Night Market Snack Food which attracts not only the local residents but also the tourists.


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