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Political conditions during 1950~1960. Outline : Authoritarian rule and democratic image – a paradox Rebuilding political authority Maintaining the “Free China” image “Free China” magazine Proposing an oppositional party. The legitimacy of the ROC government. The Cold War

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political conditions during 1950 1960
Political conditions during 1950~1960
  • Outline:
    • Authoritarian rule and democratic image – a paradox
    • Rebuilding political authority
    • Maintaining the “Free China” image
    • “Free China” magazine
    • Proposing an oppositional party
the legitimacy of the roc government
The legitimacy of the ROC government
  • The Cold War
    • since 1950 , the international political system was generally divided into two camps:
    • The so called“liberal democratic group”led by the USA.
    • The so called“communist group”led by the USSR. map
  • The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty singed in1954 ensured Taiwan’s inclusion in the East Asian anti-communist line, which also included Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.
The signing of the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty also meant that the ROC’s legitimacy had been recognized by the Western democratic countries.
  • Under the American support, the ROC was regarded the “Free China”.
  • The ROC became an important player in the worldwide anti-communist strategy.
authoritarian rule and democratic image a paradox
Authoritarian rule and democratic image – a paradox
  • With the support of Western democracies, and as the power had been gradually consolidated to the party, the KMT was able to initiate a top-down reform.
  • In order to maintain and enhance supports from the US government and public opinion, the KMT had to present a political system different from the CCP while rebuilding political authority and securing CKS ‘s sole leadership.
rebuilding political authority
Rebuilding political authority
  • Methods for rebuilding political authority included:
    • An effective intelligence system: the National Security Bureau, which reported directly to the President, was founded to guide the Taiwan Garrison Command and Investigation Bureau.
    • The Martial Law enacted in May 1948 gave certain powers to the Taiwan Garrison Command, and put the freedom of speech, publication, lecturing and assembly under tight control and surveillance.
    • In early 1950s, many were arrested for suspected communist activities. Most people stayed away from politics to avoid unnecessary troubles.
maintaining the free china image
Maintaining the “Free China” image
  • In the 1950s, the KMT had sponsored several liberal scholars for publishing the “ Free China Magazine” to distinguish KMT’s rule on Taiwan from the CCP’s on China.
  • In the meantime, however, the ROC government also tightened up restrictions on public speech and publication.
maintaining the free china image1
Maintaining the “Free China” image
  • Contrary to the KMT’s original intention, the scholars of the Free China Magazine not only criticized the Communists, but also criticized the KMT’s authoritarian rule and promoted democracy.
  • Inevitably, the Free China Magazine incurred crack down from the ruling authority.
cracking down on anti kmt figures
Cracking down on anti-KMT figures
  • Wu San-lian left Taiwan after his business was intentionally boycotted.
  • Li Wan-chu’s newspaper was ceased from publishing.
  • Kao yu-chu, Mayor of Taipei city, was accused of corruption and theft.
  • Core figures of the Free China Magazine were arrested by the Taiwan Garrison Command and were brought to trial under military law.
why did oppositional activities fail
Why did oppositional activities fail?

1. Anti-communism sentiment gave KMT the advantage.

  • In 1958, the CCP initiated the “823 Artillery Bombardment” against the islands of Matsu and Quemoy in the Taiwan Strait in an attempt to seize them from the Republic of China.
  • People were afraid of the possible war with the PRC and wanted stability.
  • This crisis actually gave KMT the reason to justify its authoritarian rule and reinforce its legitimacy.
why did oppositional activities fail1
Why did oppositional activities fail?

2. Domestic atmosphere was tense.

  • The intelligence system successfully kept most people away from politics.
  • Taiwan was still an agricultural society. Industrialization had just began. Most people just wanted good life, not democracy.
  • Lack of the middle class:

The middle class, one of the major driving force for democratization in most countries, had yet to emerge in Taiwan.


Free World

Communist World

Non-alliance countries