China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994 Steve Tsang, editor. In the Shadow of China: Political Developments in Taiwan since 1949. Honolulu: University ofHawai'i Press, 1993. xiii, 221 pp. Hardcover $39.00. As Steve Tsang points out, until recently Taiwan has been seen by many as an Oriental military dictatorship, tainted by the imposition of a Kuomintang (KMT) party-state, which lost the civil war to the Communists in China in 1949. The merit of this volume is to dispense with much of this out-of-date conception, and highlight the important fact that Taiwan has emerged politically from the military dictatorship of Chiang Kai-shek in fhe 1950s to become an increasingly democratically oriented state in die early 1990s. What explains this political transformation in Taiwan in the late twentieth century? The theme of this volume, as Steve Tsang articulates in the Introduction, is that Taiwan politics since 1949 has been under the shadow of mainland China. First, there is the question of survival. The very presence of mainland China as a potential threat to the survival of Taiwan was the single most important external factor in the decision of KMT leaders, including Chiang Ching-kuo, to introduce democratic reforms in
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 30, 1994
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