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Political Development in 20th-Century Taiwan: State-Building, Regime Transformation and the Construction of National Identity

  • Yun-han Chu and Jih-wen Lin

In the 20th century, Taiwan has experienced two cycles of regime evolution, during which the Japanese colonial regime and the Nationalist émigré regime consecutively dominated its political history each for about half a century.For our analysis, a political regime is defined as an ensemble of patterns that determines the methods of access to the principal public offices; the characteristics of the actors admitted to or excluded from such access; the strategies that actors may use to gain access; and the rules that are followed in the making of publicly binding decisions. See Philippe C. Schmitter and Terry Lynn Karl, “What democracy is... and is not,” Journal of Democracy, Vol. 2, No. 3 (1991). The two regimes, each wrestling with the challenge of subordinating the native society to its authoritarian rule, vision of nation-building and state-building agenda, travelled a comparable trajectory of institutional adjustment and adaptation. Each had shifted its heavy reliance on extensive use of coercive measures during the installation stage to selective co-optation, and to limited electoral opening as the incumbent elite tried to consolidate and partially institutionalize its rule.

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We thank Lung-chih Chang, Tun-jen Cheng, Louis Edmond, Steve Goldstein, Joseph Wu and Rwei-ren Wu for their helpful comments and suggestions for revisions.
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The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
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