Cover image for Taiwan : nation-state or province?
Taiwan : nation-state or province?
Copper, John Franklin.
Personal Author:
Fourth edition.
Publication Information:
Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiii, 267 pages, 10 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, map ; 23 cm
Reading Level:
1360 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS799 .C67 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In the fourth edition of Taiwan: Nation-State or Province? Professor Copper examines Taiwan's geography and history, its society and culture, its economy, its political system, and its foreign and security policies in the context of Taiwan's uncertain political status: whether a sovereign nation or a province of the People's Republic of China. Copper argues that Taiwan's very rapid and successful democratization (while leaders in Beijing oppose democratic change) suggests Taiwan should be independent and separate from China; increasingly important economic links between Taiwan and China says the opposite. Professor Copper argues that exacerbating this problem Washington and Beijing espouse opposing policies regarding resolution of the "Taiwan issue" and that has made the Taiwan Strait the world's number one "flashpoint" (place where major powers collide and where war using weapons of mass destruction may be used). This matter has been recently been given further salience by the shift of political power to Chen Shui-bian who was elected president in 2000 and the victory of his opposition party, which has long advocated an independent Taiwan, in the 2001 legislative election and by America's growing perception of a "China danger" and concern about Beijing's military expansion that is in large part aimed at Taiwan. Taiwan: Nation-State or Province? is unlike other books of this genre pursues the theme of Taiwan's unique status and seeks to gauge its future as one of the world's vortex political entities.

Author Notes

John F. Copper is the Stanley J. Buckman Distinguished Professor of International Studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. He is the author of more than twenty books on Taiwan, China, and Asian Affairs. His book China's Global Role (1980) won the Clarence Day Foundation Award for outstanding research and creativity activity. Professor Copper's most recent books include Historical Dictionary of Taiwan (second edition) published in 2000 and Taiwan in Troubled Times (edited) published in 2002. Dr. Copper was recipient of the International Communications Award in 1997.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this fully revised and updated volume (1st ed., CH, Jul'90, 27-6471), Copper (emer., Rhodes College) provides a well-written, well-structured overview of Taiwan. His examinations of Taiwan's history and geography, culture and society, and economy and politics show how a case can be made for Taiwan either as a nation-state or as a province of China. Although some readers may feel that the author does not present enough opinions about whether the island is part of China, this reviewer believes Copper has achieved remarkable success in maintaining a balanced, neutral approach given the complicated nature of this subject. At the same time, the author's matter-of-fact writing style does not hinder his describing Taiwan with obvious admiration and affection. As a comprehensive yet concise introduction to Taiwan, this book is not only an ideal starting place for undergraduates but also a valuable reference for scholars. Students and general readers alike will benefit from reading Copper's fantastic and extensive research. It will be of interest to students and scholars of Taiwan studies, China studies, and East Asia studies in general. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels. X. Li York College of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

Photographsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
1 The Land and the Peoplep. 1
Physical Settingp. 2
Climate, Soil, and Natural Resourcesp. 6
Populationp. 8
Ethnic Groupsp. 12
Culturep. 15
Transportation and Communicationsp. 18
The Mediap. 21
Tourismp. 24
Notesp. 26
2 Historyp. 29
Prehistory and Early Historyp. 30
Western and Chinese Rulep. 33
Part of the Japanese Empirep. 37
World War IIp. 40
Part of China Againp. 43
The Republic of Chinap. 46
Taiwan Ruled By Chiang Ching-Kuop. 50
Taiwan Under Lee Teng-huip. 54
Chen Shui-bian's Taiwanp. 58
Notesp. 62
3 Societyp. 67
Social Structure and Orderp. 67
Ethnic Issuesp. 70
Language and Religionp. 76
Early Forces of Social Changep. 82
Economic Development and Social Changep. 86
Educationp. 92
Social Welfarep. 96
Other Social Problemsp. 100
Notesp. 104
4 Political Systemp. 109
Political Culture and Traditionp. 110
The Constitutionp. 113
The National Assembly and the Presidencyp. 118
The Five-Branch Governmentp. 122
Local Governmentp. 128
Political Partiesp. 132
Electionsp. 139
Ideology, Modernization, and the Futurep. 144
Notesp. 148
5 The Economyp. 151
The Economy to 1950p. 151
The Economy After 1950p. 155
Economic Growth Strategiesp. 161
Key Industries and the Taiwan "Economic Miracle,"p. 165
The Labor Forcep. 169
Trade, Investment, and Energyp. 172
A Model of Economic Developmentp. 178
Notesp. 181
6 Foreign and Military Policiesp. 185
Historical Backgroundp. 186
Security and Foreign Policyp. 192
Domestic Affairs and Foreign Policyp. 198
Taiwan and the United Statesp. 202
Taiwan and the People's Republic of Chinap. 208
Taiwan and the Rest of the Worldp. 213
Ties with International Organizationsp. 218
Notesp. 222
7 The Futurep. 227
Beginning Assumptionsp. 227
External or Global Variablesp. 232
Internal or Domestic Variablesp. 237
Alternative Futuresp. 243
Summing Upp. 248
Selected Bibliographyp. 249
Indexp. 259