Taiwan Question

On October 1st 1949, Mao Tse-tung, the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and
leader of the communist armies proclaimed the People's Republic of China. It was a hard-fought
victory for Mao and the communists, a victory which had come after nearly four years of
unbridled civil war. While the civil war itself was considered to have begun in 1945, there had
been intermittent fighting between the two participants; the nationalists and the communists; for
nearly twenty-two years. The fighting can be traced back to Chiang Kai-Shek's purging of
communists from his Kuomintang (nationalist) forces and the formation of a nationalist
government in Beijing. Nationalist military expeditions against the communists soon followed
culminating in the communists' famous Long March (1934-35) to their strongholds in the
northwest province of Shaanxi. From here the war continued, and as China was being ravaged by
the Japanese, the communists took advantage and were able to strengthen their position against
the weakened forces of the Kuomintang.The result was the eventual communist takeover of
China in 1949, with the remnants of the Kuomintang forced to withdraw to Taiwan, China's
largest island lying only some one hundred and sixty kilometers off the Asian coast. Thus began a
lengthy dispute which has lasted some fifty-two years, and has evolved into an area of constant
debate within the international system. The "Taiwan question" as it has come to be called, is of
considerable concern within the international system, most importantly because it is one ofthe
most pressing dilemmas within the realm of east Asian security. Mark Chen and David Tsai of the
Taiwan foundation and the center for Taiwan International Relations, sum up the "Taiwan
question" in the novel Let Taiwan be Taiwan. Their definition contends that:
The "Taiwan question" -the issue o…

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