The people may look the same, but there is a difference.
Congrats to Taiwan on electing in the nation’s first female president. By now some of you are probably wondering, “What the f!@$ is a Taiwan?” or “Why does Taiwan have its own president when it’s not a nation?” Let me try to clarify the differences for you.
For the “tl;dr” readers: Legally there are two politically separate Chinas. One is called Republic of China (colloquially known as Taiwan), which was formed in 1911. The other is called the People’s Republic of China (colloquially known as Mainland China), which was established in 1949.
- Taiwan and China’s main language is Mandarin Chinese. However, both of these nations have their own dialects. Taiwan has Hakka, Fujianhua, Minnanhua, and other aboriginal languages. Cantonese is the major secondary dialect in China, but every different province in China could have their own dialects. Places like Shanghai and the northern and southern parts of China have their own dialects.
- The ethnicity is Chinese (as opposed to nationality).
- Skin color (also similar to Japanese and Koreans).
- Both countries suffer from overpopulation problems. China houses way too many people, which is why there was a One-child Policy. Taiwan is simply too small for a population of 23 million.
- Food. Taiwanese food modified many different dishes from China, but boba milk tea originated in Taiwan and beef noodle soup is a pretty much the national food. Taiwan also has the night market food scene. Its street food that would probably give you stomach problems in the morning, but definitely worth it and safer than China’s street food. China’s street food will probably kill you slowly with cancer due to lack of regulation. Watch the link to remind yourself what you had for lunch.
- Environment and air. Do I really need to go into this…sure I do! China’s environment is degrading. Rivers and the air are being polluted due to the factories commissioned by international investors and a government that has a lack of concer–I mean encourages trade.
- China’s GDP > Taiwan’s GDP
- The Taiwanese parliament debates like schoolchildren. China’s parliament is a lot more tame.
- Censorship. China doesn’t like Facebook and to this day rejects that the Tiananmen Square Massacre ever happened. To this day we do not have an accurate number of how many students, civilians, and soldiers died due to the fact that China refuses to investigate or release any figures.
The Biggest Difference: Political Standing
Taiwan and China’s war is not over. The conflict itself remains like the Cold War between USSR and USA that took place after WWII, a stand still. However the facts of the matter has been swept under the rug and not properly explained. If you go to any random American (student or old) and asked the differences they would probably give you answer similar to Ben Carson’s take on the Egyptian pyramids.
Back ever since when Western nations discovered China had valuable resources and trade materials they’ve tried to establish trade with China. In early late 19th century, early 20th century China was still under imperial rule through dynasties. Western nations who wanted resources from China and created an open door policy in China, which allowed Western countries to colonize Chinese soil. After many failed rebellions against the Western powers, the Kuomintang Party (Nationalists) overthrew the last emperor of China and ushered in democracy and individualism with formation of the National Republic of China (ROC). China attempted to establish itself as a world power while uniting China as a whole, but failed in this attempt after WWI. In 1921 the Communist Party, led by Mao Zedong, was formed. In 1927 China was finally recognized by the European nations as the National Republic of China (ROC). Over the next 28 years Nationalists and Communists were locked in war with each other, but united to fight the Japanese in WWII. With the Nationalists slow on reform and support for farmers and peasants, these groups placed their allegiance with the Communist Party. In 1949, with the end of WWII the Communist Party ultimately won against the exhausted Nationalists. With the Nationalists losing control of Mainland China, they fled to a nearby territory, Taiwan and established a government there. Ultimately, it created two separate Chinas, like East and West Germany during the Cold War or like United States establishing itself as a government separate from Britain in 1776. Mainland China began to call itself the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
In 1945 the ROC had joined the UN, but with the establishment of the PRC in 1949, Mao Zedong declared a seat in UN. There had been multiple compromises proposed to allow a two-China, or two-state solution, but neither side agreed to the idea. The United States and other nations supported the ROC in maintaining its status within the UN until 1971. In 1971 many of the communist states and a few Western European nations supported PRC as the representative of the two Chinas in Resolution 2758, thus forcing Taiwan out of the UN seat. During this time the US saw the resolution as a geopolitical opportunity to move closer to China and against its enemy, the Soviet Union–thus unofficially breaking relations with ROC. The Resolution also forced the de-recognization of ROC representatives and organizations. The US officially abandoned its support of ROC in 1979 with the Taiwan Relations Act signed in by Jimmy Carter.
The ROC has been trying re-establish itself a seat within the UN since 1993 to now. However, with the PRC growing as a great power and the One-China Policy, the ROC has been constantly denied its right in the UN. Ultimately, too many nations have an economic interest in the PRC to really care for the recognition of ROC. Rather than actually tackling the international problem and semantics they’d much rather tiptoe around the problem and do what’s in their best interests to further their own agendas (not entirely surprised there). I mean, with a GDP of $12.254 trillion, who wouldn’t want to get in bed with that?
This is the part where I’m reminded why I hate society as a whole.
The PRC is so adamant on maintaining the status quo that they are pointing at least 1,600 missiles missiles at a land mass of 13,974 mi² (equivalent to Maryland and Delaware). They are also willing to cast their stones at a 16-year-old Taiwanese South Korean based pop star for waving an ROC flag and demand an apology. Her apology included, “There is only one China and the two sides are one,” and “I have decided to stop my activities in China for now to seriously reflect on myself.” By the way, she’s 16 and probably doesn’t have much experience in politics.
In addition, the ROC and PRC both have different passports that their citizens use when they travel outside of their respective borders. As opposed to the residents of Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States, where United States passports are used to travel outside US borders.
In conclusion, there are two Chinas. One government was established in 1911, while the other one was established in 1949. One government lost a battle, packed up shop, and moved to another body of land. No government is ruling the other. They are both independent of each other. However, by the rules of “first come, first serve” one country has a bit more clout than the other.
PS. Even ISIS recognizes the ROC as an independent nation so I’ll respond to that with this meme…