The rise and demise of the KMT party-state in Taiwan
This chapter discusses the trajectory of Taiwan’s political development from 1945 until 1979, when opposition politicians under the banner of the dangwai movement unsuccessfully challenged the Kuomintang (KMT) during a human rights rally in the southern city of Kaohsiung. It argues that the KMT’s approach to governing Taiwan in many ways resembled Japanese colonial rule. It also argues that Taiwan’s democratisation should not be viewed as a top-down process initiated by Chiang Kai-shek’s son and successor Chiang Ching-kuo’s decision to lift Martial Law in 1987. In 1943 Roosevelt, Chiang Kai-Shek and Churchill agreed in Cairo that Formosa—as Taiwan was referred to—should be returned under the sovereignty of the republic of China. Cheng Tun-jen and Tien Hung-mao have emphasised that the “democracy movement in Taiwan has been, one way or another, entangled with the issue of sub-ethnic divisions and national identity”.