NATIONAL IDENTITY AND NATIONALISM IN TAIWAN
Lousche, Joseph R.
Mabry, Tristan J.
Meyskens, Covell F.
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Relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China are of critical importance to the national interests and security of the United States. Periods of increased tension have coincided with political transitions in Taiwan and are tied to relative levels of support for Taiwanese national self-determination and independence. This thesis examines the changing nature of national identity in Taiwan, from the Japanese occupation to the present. The thesis reviews historical events, policy initiatives, political rhetoric, and survey data to identify both ethnic and civic forms of nationalism present in Taiwan; ethnic nationalism is tied to a distinct common culture and heritage whereas civic nationalism is tied to shared political ideals that transcend ethnicity. The research finds that an ethnic Taiwanese identity emerged under Japanese colonial rule (1895–1945) and coalesced under the administration of the authoritarian Kuomintang (KMT) that fled the mainland in 1949. This rendered a divide between those who identified as Taiwanese and those who identified with the people of mainland China. However, following a period of rapid democratization, Taiwanese identity is becoming increasingly civic in nature, based on a shared respect for democratic ideals. This has significant implications for the prospect of reunification with the mainland where democracy is antithetical to the Chinese Communist Party.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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