The Republic of China is a state in East Asia. It was one of the victorious powers of World War II and a founding member of the United Nations. Historically, it encompassed all of mainland China before the Kuomintang (KMT) lost control of the mainland to the Communist Party of China at the ceasefire of major hostilities of the Chinese Civil War in 1950. Since then, its authority has been limited to the island groups of Taiwan (Formosa), the Pescadores, Kinmen, and the Matsu Islands. Over subsequent decades, the Republic of China has been commonly referred to as "Taiwan", and since the late 1970s the name "China" is commonly used to refer to the People's Republic of China (PRC). Because of diplomatic pressure from the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan) is commonly referred to as "Chinese Taipei" in international organizations. Its capital city is Taipei.
The Republic of China was established in 1912, replacing the Qing Dynasty and ending over two thousand years of imperial rule in China. It is the oldest surviving republic in East Asia. The Republic of China on mainland China went through periods of warlordism, Japanese invasion, and civil war between the Kuomintang and the Communists.
Starting in 1928, the Republic of China was ruled by the Kuomintang as an authoritarian one-party state. In the 1950s and 1960s, the KMT went through wide restructuring and decreased corruption and implemented land reform. There followed a period of great economic growth, the Republic of China became one of the Four Asian Tigers, despite the constant threat of war and civil unrest. In the 1980s and 1990s the government peacefully transitioned to a democratic system, with the first direct presidential election in 1996 and the 2000 election of Chen Shui-bian, the first non-KMT president of the ROC.
Bonds that Sun Yat-sen used to raise money for revolutionary cause. (The Republic of China was also once known as the Chunghwa Republic.)
During the first half of the twentieth century the economy of the Republic of China was essentially capitalist, with much foreign interference. Progress was impeded by constant war and internal and external strife.
The weak national government made some attempts to promote economic activity, such as by establishing the Industrial Bank of China. There was little government control of the economy however, other than causing runaway inflation by overprinting money to finance wars against the Japanese and the Communists. Foreign debts also made the national government susceptible to foreign influence. The Nationalists, like Yuan Shi-kai before them, were propped up through massive economic loans by the United States.
China at the time was largely agrarian, with most of the land, and thus the wealth, concentrated in a wide pyramid structure. Much of the land was owned by a few very wealthy landowners; the general population were tenant farmers who did not own land. The founders of both the Republic of China and the Communist Party had aimed to overturn this inequality. The Henan famine (1943?44) aided the collapse of the Republican government. Labor unions had been crushed in the purge of the Communists from the Kuomintang, leading to more inequality. Many of the wealthiest landowners and business leaders were also ministers and officials of the state and were often corrupt, preventing effective measures from being implemented.
The Republic of China has a twenty-two year comprehensive educational system influenced by the Japanese educational system. The system has been successful in that pupils in the ROC boast some of the highest test scores in the world, especially in mathematics and science; however, it has also been criticized for placing excessive pressure on students and eschewing creativity in favor of rote memorization. Recent educational reforms intended to address these criticisms are a topic of intense debate.