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The Matsu Islands (;
Foochow Romanized Foochow Romanized, also known as Bàng-uâ-cê (BUC for short; ) or Hók-ciŭ-uâ Lò̤-mā-cê (), is a Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans to write the ...
: Mā-cū liĕk-dō̤), officially Lienchiang County (;
Foochow Romanized Foochow Romanized, also known as Bàng-uâ-cê (BUC for short; ) or Hók-ciŭ-uâ Lò̤-mā-cê (), is a Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans to write the ...
: Lièng-gŏng-gâing), are an
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
of 36 islands and
islet An islet is a very small island. Most definitions are not precise, but some suggest that an islet has little or no vegetation, and cannot support human habitation. They may be made of rock, sand, and/or coral, may be permanent or tidal, and may ...

islet
s in the
East China Sea The East China Sea is an arm of the Western Pacific Ocean, located directly offshore from East China (hence the name), covering an area of roughly . Its northern extension between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula Korea is a regi ...

East China Sea
governed by the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...

Republic of China
(ROC) based on Taiwan, with its location sitting alongside southeastern coast of
mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies b ...

mainland China
. It is the smallest
county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert Chambers (publisher bo ...
in Taiwan as well as one of two counties that was part of the nominal
Fujian Province Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territori ...
. The current Lienchiang County of the ROC was once part of an intact Lienchiang County of
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnat ...

Fujian
before its effective partition in 1949 following the
Chinese Civil War The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Nationalist government, government of the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China (ROC) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC) lastin ...
, which resulted in the mainland portion of the county being controlled by the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billio ...

People's Republic of China
(PRC), while the offshore islands of Matsu remained under ROC control. The circumstance has made the county the only former geographical unit which is now divided between the administrations of
the ROC and the PRC
the ROC and the PRC
.


Name

Lienchiang County, Taiwan (R.O.C.) uses the
traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters are one type of standard Chinese character Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural lan ...
name () and the
romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign lan ...
name Lienchiang which is derived from the Wade-Giles romanization (''Lien²-chiang¹'') of the
Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration o ...

Mandarin
pronunciation for those Chinese characters that also refer to
Lianjiang County Lianjiang (; BUC: Lièng-gŏng) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern na ...
,
Fuzhou Fuzhou (; , Fuzhounese: Hokchew, ''Hók-ciŭ''), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Foochow, is the capital and one of the largest prefecture-level city, cities in Fujian province, China. Along with the many counties of Ningde, ...

Fuzhou
,
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnat ...

Fujian
in
mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies b ...

mainland China
. Lienchiang has also been written as Lien-chiang and Lienkiang and by a
postal romanization Postal romanization was a system of transliterating developed by postal authorities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For many cities, the corresponding postal romanization was the most common English-language form of the city's name ...
of the local language pronunciation Lienkong. The term Lienchiang can also refer to the homophonous Lianjiang in
Zhanjiang Zhanjiang () is a prefecture-level city Image:Yangxin-renmin-huanyin-ni-0022.jpg, A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply "Huangshi" (). This is a useful distinction, because the sign is located ''already' ...

Zhanjiang
,
Guangdong Guangdong (, ), alternately romanized as Canton Province or Kwangtung, is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admin ...

Guangdong
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
. The Matsu Islands are named after the main island, Nangan (Nankan). Nangan is also named Matsu Island because of a temple on the island which is supposed to be the burial site of the similarly named goddess
Mazu Mazu is a Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populo ...

Mazu
(). Matsu is the Wade-Giles-derived romanization of the
Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration o ...

Mandarin
pronunciation (''Ma³-tsu³'') for the Chinese character name () of the islands. The Matsu Islands are also known by other Chinese-language names including and ;
Foochow Romanized Foochow Romanized, also known as Bàng-uâ-cê (BUC for short; ) or Hók-ciŭ-uâ Lò̤-mā-cê (), is a Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans to write the ...
: Mā-cū dō̤). In April 2003, the Lienchiang County government considered changing the name of the county to Matsu County in order to avoid confusion with the nearby Lianjiang County on the mainland. Then-Magistrate Chen Hsueh-sheng said some local people opposed the name change because they felt it reflected the pro-independence viewpoint of the
Democratic Progressive Party The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is a Taiwanese nationalist and centre-left Centre-left politics (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic langua ...
.


History


Yuan Dynasty

Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...

Chinese
from
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnat ...

Fujian
and
Zhejiang Zhejiang (, ; , Chinese postal romanization, also romanized as Chekiang) is an East China, eastern, coastal Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Its capital and largest city is Hangzhou. Zhejiang is bordered ...

Zhejiang
started migrating to the islands during the
Yuan Dynasty The Yuan dynasty (), officially the Great Yuan (; xng, , , literally "Great Yuan State"), was a successor state Successor is someone who, or something which succeeds or comes after (see success and succession) Film and TV * ''The Succe ...
. Most of the people on Matsu came from Houguan () (today
Changle (, Foochow Romanized Foochow Romanized, also known as Bàng-uâ-cê (BUC for short; ) or Hók-ciŭ-uâ Lò̤-mā-cê (), is a Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancie ...
,
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnat ...

Fujian
). The popular net fishing industry had established the base for development of Fuao settlement and industrial development of the region over several hundred years.


Ming Dynasty

Some crewmen of
Zheng He Zheng He (; 1371 – 1433 or 1435) was a Chinese , , , , and during China's . He was originally born as Ma He in a family and later adopted the surname Zheng conferred by the . Zheng commanded expeditionary to , the , , and from 1405 to ...

Zheng He
temporarily stayed on the islands.


Qing Dynasty

During the early
Qing Dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Pr ...
,
pirate Piracy is an act of robbery Robbery is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted ...

pirate
s gathered here and the residents left temporarily. In contrast with
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...
and
Penghu The Penghu (Hokkien Pe̍h-ōe-jī, POJ: ''Phîⁿ-ô͘''  or ''Phêⁿ-ô͘'' ) or Pescadores Islands are an archipelago of 90 islands and islets in the Taiwan Strait. The largest city is Magong, located on the largest island, which i ...

Penghu
, the Matsu Islands were not ceded to the
Japanese Empire The was a historical nation-state that existed from the Meiji Restoration The , referred to at the time as the , and also known as the Meiji Renovation, Revolution, Reform, or Renewal, was a political event that restored practical imp ...

Japanese Empire
via the
Treaty of Shimonoseki #REDIRECT Treaty of Shimonoseki #REDIRECT Treaty of Shimonoseki#REDIRECT Treaty of Shimonoseki The , also known as Treaty of Maguan () in China and in the period before and during WWII in Japan, was a treaty signed at the , Shimonoseki, Japa ...

Treaty of Shimonoseki
in 1895. Due to its strategic location along the only route for the spice traffic, the
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...

British
established the
Dongyong Lighthouse The Dongyong Lighthouse () or Tungyung Lighthouse is a lighthouse on the eastern side of Dongyin Island (Tungyung, Dongyong) in Dongyin, Lienchiang, Dongyin Township, Lienchiang County, Fujian Province, Republic of China, Fujian Province, Taiwan. ...
in Dongyin Island in 1912 to facilitate ships navigation.


Republic of China

In 1911, the Qing Dynasty was toppled after the
Xinhai Revolution The 1911 Revolution, also known as the Chinese Revolution or the Xinhai Revolution, ended China's last imperial dynasty, the Manchu-led Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese hi ...
on 10 October 1911 and the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...
(ROC) was established on 1 January 1912. Matsu Islands were subsequently governed under the administration of Fukien Province of the ROC. On 1 August 1927, the
Nanchang Uprising The Nanchang Uprising (; ) was the first major Nationalist Party of China–Communist Party of China The Communist Party of China (CPC), commonly known as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and One-party state, sole Ruling ...
broke out between the ruling
Nationalist Party of China The Kuomintang (KMT) () is a major political party in Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Ja ...
(KMT) and
Communist Party of China The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), officially the Communist Party of China (CPC), is the founding and One-party state, sole ruling party of the China, People's Republic of China (PRC). The CCP leads List of political parties in China, eight other ...

Communist Party of China
(CPC) which marked the beginning of
Chinese Civil War The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Nationalist government, government of the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China (ROC) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC) lastin ...
. On 10 September 1937, Japan occupied Beigan and Nangan via the
Collaborationist Chinese Army The term Collaborationist Chinese Army refers to the military forces of the puppet government A puppet state, puppet régime or puppet government is a State (polity), state that is ''de jure'' independent but ''de facto'' completely dependent upo ...
, making the islands the first in Fujian to fall to Japan. The islands were not occupied by Japanese troops during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
because they were not important militarily. The
Surrender of Japan The surrender of Imperial Japan was Jewel Voice Broadcast, announced by Japanese Emperor Hirohito on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, End of World War II in Asia, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close. By the ...
took place on August 15, 1945. As a result of the
Chinese Civil War The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Nationalist government, government of the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China (ROC) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC) lastin ...
, in 1949 the
Communist Party of China The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), officially the Communist Party of China (CPC), is the founding and One-party state, sole ruling party of the China, People's Republic of China (PRC). The CCP leads List of political parties in China, eight other ...

Communist Party of China
(CPC) took over
mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies b ...

mainland China
from the
Chinese Nationalist Party The Kuomintang (KMT) () is a major political party in Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Ja ...
(Kuomintang, KMT). The CPC established the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billio ...

People's Republic of China
(PRC) on 1 October 1949, which included administration of today’s
Lianjiang County Lianjiang (; BUC: Lièng-gŏng) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern na ...
of
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnat ...

Fujian
. The KMT retreated from mainland China to Taiwan at the end of 1949, but retained some of the offshore parts of Lienchiang County (namely, the Matsu Islands), and also most of
Kinmen County Kinmen, also called Quemoy, is a County , county of the Republic of China located in the Taiwan Strait between the island of Taiwan and mainland China. The main island of Kinmen County is Kinmen Island., National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Un ...

Kinmen County
(Quemoy). On 15 December 1950, the Matsu Administrative Office () of
Fujian Province, Republic of China Fujian Province (; Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Standard Chinese, Mandari ...
, was established, including modern-day Lienchiang County (the Matsu Islands), as well as islands in present-day
Haidao Township Haidao Township () is an insular township off the Asian mainland in Xiapu County, Ningde, Fujian, China (PRC). The township is immediately north of present-day Lienchiang County (the Matsu Islands), ROC (Taiwan). History On December 15, 1950, th ...
,
Xiapu County Xiapu (; Foochow Romanized: Hà-puō) is a county in the municipal region of Ningde, Fujian, People's Republic of China, located along a stretch of East China Sea coast, with many harbours and islands. It is bordered by Fuding City and Zherong Cou ...
and Taishan () in present-day Shacheng,
Fuding () is a county-level city in northeastern Ningde prefecture level city, on Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province on the southeastern coast of China China, officially the People's Republic of C ...

Fuding
,
Ningde Ningde (; Foochow Romanized: Nìng-dáik), also known as Mindong (; Foochow Romanized: Mìng-dĕ̤ng; lit. East of Fujian), is a prefecture-level city located along the northeastern coast of Fujian province, People's Republic of China. It borders ...

Ningde
, Fujian, China (PRC) which were attacked in 1950 and 1951. In early July 1953,
Chinese Nationalist The Kuomintang (KMT) () is a major political party in Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Ja ...

Chinese Nationalist
guerillas retreated from islands in the Xiyang Island (Chihchutao) area of present-day Haidao Township (PRC), and the area came under the control of the PRC. In June 1955, the PRC undertook considerable road and military construction around
Haitan Island Pingtan Island or Haitan Island is an islands of China, island of Fuzhou off the east coast of mainland Asia in Pingtan County, Fujian Province, China (PRC), south of the complex estuary of the Min River (Fujian), Min River. It is the largest isl ...
, Pingtan County, Fuzhou, Fujian, China, including roads leading to possible artillery positions on the mainland. Those positions might have been used to protect the Haitan Strait, which was considered a favorable staging area for amphibious operations against the Matsu Islands. In July 1958, the PRC began massing forces opposite Kinmen (Quemoy) and Matsu (Lienchiang) and began bombarding them on 23 August, triggering the
Second Taiwan Strait Crisis The Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, also called the 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis, was a conflict that took place between the People's Republic of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the ...
. On 4 September 1958, the PRC announced the extension of its territorial waters by 20 kilometres (12 mi) to include the two islands. However, later that month, after talks between the USA and PRC in
Warsaw Warsaw, * la, Varsovia (Polish language, Polish: ''Warszawa'' ), officially the Capital City of Warsaw, is the capital and List of cities and towns in Poland, largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula, River Vistula in e ...

Warsaw
,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...
, a ceasefire was agreed and the status quo reaffirmed. The phrase "
Quemoy Kinmen, alternatively known as Quemoy, is a group of islands An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features ...

Quemoy
and Matsu" became part of American political language in the 1960 U.S. presidential election. During the debates, both candidates, Vice-President
Richard Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power o ...

Richard Nixon
and Senator
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the ...

John F. Kennedy
, pledged to use American forces if necessary to protect Taiwan from invasion by the PRC, which the United States did not recognize as the legitimate government of China. However, in the second debate on 7 October 1960, the two candidates stated different opinions about whether American forces should also be used to protect
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
's forward positions, Quemoy and Matsu. Senator Kennedy stated that these islands—as little as 9 kilometres (5.5 mi) off the coast of China and as much as 170 kilometres (106 mi) from Taiwan—were strategically indefensible and were not essential to the defense of Taiwan. Vice-President Nixon maintained that since Quemoy and Matsu were in the "area of freedom", they should not, as a matter of principle, be surrendered to the Communists. Earlier in the debate, Nixon said: Later in the debate, Edward P. Morgan asked Senator Kennedy: Kennedy's response was: Vice President Nixon retorted: After the third debate on 13 October 1960, Kennedy's advisers spoke with then Secretary of State Herter and said Kennedy was willing to revise his position on the Quemoy and Matsu issue so as not to give the Communists the impression that the USA would not stand united against aggression. Nixon pointed out the change in Kennedy's position but decided not to press the point due to the importance of the USA's role in what was an extremely tense situation. Polls of Republicans and Democrats showed overwhelming support for Nixon's position. Self-governance of the county resumed in 1992, after the cessation of political warfare with the mainland and the abolition of Battle Field Administration on 7 November 1992. Afterwards, local construction picked up pace. In 1999, the islands were designated as the Matsu National Scenic Area Administration. In January 2001, direct cargo and passenger shipping started between Matsu and Fujian Province of the PRC. After 1 January 2015, tourists from mainland China could directly apply the Exit and Entry Permit upon arrival in Matsu Islands. That privilege also applied to
Penghu The Penghu (Hokkien Pe̍h-ōe-jī, POJ: ''Phîⁿ-ô͘''  or ''Phêⁿ-ô͘'' ) or Pescadores Islands are an archipelago of 90 islands and islets in the Taiwan Strait. The largest city is Magong, located on the largest island, which i ...

Penghu
and Kinmen, as a means to boost tourism in the outlying islands of Taiwan. In December 2015, the Huangqi-Matsu ship route was introduced as part of the Mini
Three Links#REDIRECT Three LinksThe Three Links or Three Linkages () was a 1979 proposal from the National People's Congress of the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to open up mail, postal (), transportation (especially airline) (), and trade () links be ...
. In 2020, rampant
illegal sand mining Sand theft or unauthorised or illegal sand mining leads to a widely unknown global example of natural resource, natural and non-renewable resource, non-renewable resource depletion problem comparable in extent to global water scarcity. Beach the ...
by Chinese ships in the waters around the Matsu Islands caused concern in the islands and in the
Executive Yuan The Executive Yuan is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes and enforce ...
about damage to the marine environment, possible damage to underwater telecommunications cables, and the potential for coastal erosion. Auctioning impounded ships was seen as an easy way for the dredging companies to get their ships back via intermediaries, hence sinking the impounded ships was under consideration.


Geography

The Matsu Islands comprise 19 islands and islets, which include five major islands, which are Nangan, Dongju and Xiju (both in Juguang Township), Beigan and Dongyin. Minor islands include Liang Island, Gaodeng Island, Daqiu Island and Xiaoqiu, which are part of Beigan Township. The shortest distance between Huangqi, Lianjiang County and the Matsu Islands is also the shortest distance between China (PRC) administered territory and territory in the ROC (Taiwan)-administered Matsu Islands. Dongyin is the northernmost and Dongju is the southernmost. * Dongyin is 100
nautical mile A nautical mile is a unit of length A unit of length refers to any arbitrarily chosen and accepted reference standard for measurement of length. The most common units in modern use are the metric system, metric units, used in every country gl ...
s (190 km) from
Keelung Keelung (; Hokkien Pe̍h-ōe-jī, POJ: '), officially known as Keelung City, is a major port Provincial city (Taiwan), city situated in the northeastern part of Taiwan. It borders New Taipei with which it forms the Taipei–Keelung metropolitan ...
, Taiwan, 180 to the
Penghu The Penghu (Hokkien Pe̍h-ōe-jī, POJ: ''Phîⁿ-ô͘''  or ''Phêⁿ-ô͘'' ) or Pescadores Islands are an archipelago of 90 islands and islets in the Taiwan Strait. The largest city is Magong, located on the largest island, which i ...

Penghu
islands, and slightly over 10 nautical miles (19 km) from
Mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies ...

Mainland China
. * The soil is not ideal for
farming Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors suc ...

farming
. * The highest point is on Beigan, 298 metres (978'). Areas: * Nangan: * Beigan: * Dongyin: * Juguang islands: see Juguang


Geology

The islands are predominantly composed of
Jurassic The Jurassic ( ) is a geologic period The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology, paleontologists, and other earth ...
and
Cretaceous The Cretaceous ( ) is a geological period A geological period is one of the several subdivisions of geologic time enabling cross-referencing of rocks and geologic events from place to place. These periods form elements of a hierarchy of division ...

Cretaceous
intrusive Intrusive may refer to: * Intrusiveness, a typically unwelcome behavior, interrupting and disturbing to others * Intrusive rock; intrusion of molten magma leaving behind igneous rock * Saltwater intrusion, the movement of saline water into freshwa ...
(emplaced ~160 Ma, ∼130 Ma and ∼94 Ma)
granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phanerite, phaneritic) intrusive rock, intrusive igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase. It forms from magma with a high content of silica and alkali metal oxides that slowly cool ...

granite
and
diabase Diabase (), also called dolerite () or microgabbro, is a mafic A mafic mineral or rock is a silicate mineral Silicate minerals are rock-forming mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a so ...

diabase
.


Climate

Average annual
temperature Temperature ( ) is a physical quantity that expresses hot and cold. It is the manifestation of thermal energy Thermal radiation in visible light can be seen on this hot metalwork. Thermal energy refers to several distinct physical concept ...

temperature
is 18.6 °C (65°F), with the average low being at 13 °C (55°F) and average high at 29 °C (85°F). The daily temperature varies greatly during day and night. The region experiences subtropical maritime climate, which is influenced by monsoon and ocean currents and its geographic location. Matsu has four seasons: during winter it is cold and wet, during summer and spring it is foggy, and during autumn the weather is generally stable.


Politics and government

Matsu Islands are administered as Lienchiang County under the
Fujian Provincial Government The Fujian Provincial Government was the former government that governed Fujian Province of the Republic of China (Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the Chi ...
. Nangan Township is the county seat which houses the Lienchiang County Government and
Lienchiang County Council The Lienchiang County Council (MTCC; ) is the elected county council of Lienchiang County, Republic of China. The council composes of nine councilors lastly elected through the 2018 Taiwanese local elections, 2018 Republic of China local electio ...
. The county is headed by a magistrate, elected every four years in the ROC local elections. The incumbent magistrate is
Liu Cheng-ying Liu Cheng-ying (; Foochow Romanized: Làu Cĕng-éng; born 24 August 1958) is a politician in the Republic of China. He is the Magistrate of Matsu Islands, Lienchiang County since 25 December 2014. Education Liu obtained his master's degree in pr ...
of
Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT), also referred to as the Guomindang (GMD) or the Chinese Nationalist Party, is a political party in the Taiwan, Republic of China, initially Republic of China (1912–1949), on the Mainland China, Chinese mainland and ...
.


Administrative divisions

Lienchiang County is divided into four rural townships. It is further divided into 22 villages and 137 neighborhoods (鄰). Lienchiang County is the only county in Taiwan which does not have a
city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defined as a ...
or an urban township. The
county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government, or a county town, or the place where the central administration of a Township, commune is located. In countries with Fre ...
is Nangan Township (Nankan). All the townships administer more than one island.


Magistrates

Before 1993, county magistrates were appointed. *Elected magistrates # Tsao Chang-Shun () (1993-1997) (
KMT The Kuomintang (KMT) () is a major political party in Taiwan which originated as a revolutionary political party during the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republican Era on the Chinese mainland, where it is sometimes referred to as the Ch ...
) # Liu Li-Chun () (1997-2001) (KMT) # Chen Hsueh-sheng, also the current national representative of Matsu. (2001-2009) ( PFP, later KMT) # Yang Sui-sheng (2009-2014) (KMT) #
Liu Cheng-ying Liu Cheng-ying (; Foochow Romanized: Làu Cĕng-éng; born 24 August 1958) is a politician in the Republic of China. He is the Magistrate of Matsu Islands, Lienchiang County since 25 December 2014. Education Liu obtained his master's degree in pr ...
(2014-present) (KMT)


Military

The Matsu Islands are protected by the
ROC Army Matsu Defense Command Roc, ROC, or R.O.C. may refer to: People *Roch (c. 1348 – 1376), Occitan saint called Roc in Catalan *Agustí Roc (born 1971), Spanish ski mountaineer *Margaret Roc (born 1945), Australian author *Patricia Roc (1915–2003), British actress *St ...

ROC Army Matsu Defense Command
().


Politics

Lienchang County voted one
Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT), also referred to as the Guomindang (GMD) or the Chinese Nationalist Party, is a political party in the Taiwan, Republic of China, initially Republic of China (1912–1949), on the Mainland China, Chinese mainland and ...
legislator out of one seat to be in the
Legislative Yuan The Legislative Yuan is the unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parliamentary chamber. Thus, a ''unicameral parliament'' or ''unicam ...
during the 2016 Republic of China legislative election. While the
Democratic Progressive Party The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is a Taiwanese nationalist and centre-left Centre-left politics (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic langua ...
have had difficulty winning a county-level election in this area, most of the competitions are among local strategies. In 2018, a
Green Party A Green party is a formally organized political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a political party to have similar ideas about poli ...
member, 蘇柏豪 attempted to run for magistrate but failed.


Cross-Strait relations

The PRC claims the three northern townships of the Matsu Islands as ''Matsu Township'' (; Mā-cū hiŏng) (Note: In the map, the northern three townships of Lienchiang County, ROC (Taiwan) are explicitly included within the boundaries of Lianjiang County, PRC (mainland China) while the southernmost township of Lienchiang County, ROC (Taiwan) is explicitly not included within the boudaries of Lianjiang County, PRC (mainland China).) and the Juguang, Lienchiang, Juguang Islands (the southernmost islands, formerly named the Baiquan Islands) as part of Changle District. Vessels from the Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration (Taiwan), Coast Guard Administration (CGA) have confronted sand dredging by Chinese vessels near the Matsu Islands. This dredging activity began in 2018. Since March 2019, the Lienchiang Cross-Strait Matters Forum started as an official forum between Lienchiang County of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and
Lianjiang County Lianjiang (; BUC: Lièng-gŏng) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern na ...
of the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billio ...

People's Republic of China
to discuss matters regarding the two sides.


Demographics and culture


Population

The majority of native Matsu Islands residents originated from Northern Fujian. Several of the islands of Matsu are not inhabited permanently. Some of these are garrisoned by soldiers from the Republic of China Armed Forces stationed in the county since the end of the
Chinese Civil War The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Nationalist government, government of the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China (ROC) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC) lastin ...
in 1949 and during the First Taiwan Strait Crisis, First and
Second Taiwan Strait Crisis The Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, also called the 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis, was a conflict that took place between the People's Republic of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the ...
in 1954 and 1958 respectively. Due to that high military demand large numbers of military personnel stationed on the islands produced unprecedented population growth in the county. The population reached its peak in 1971 with a total of 17,088 people. After those periods of high growth the population decreased year after year due to the poor economic growth which resulted in mass youth emigration due to lack of employment opportunities. In recent years the population in the county has gradually increased because of immigration. The population has stabilized due to the improved transportation between Taiwan Island and Matsu Islands as well as mass construction projects.


Languages

The native language spoken by Matsu residents is Matsu dialect, a subdialect of Fuzhou dialect, which is one of the statutory languages for public transport announcements in the Matsu Islands.:s:zh:大眾運輸工具播音語言平等保障法, 大眾運輸工具播音語言平等保障法 Mandarin Chinese is one of the official languages of Lienchiang County.


Name

Chen (surname), Chen (陳) is the most common Chinese surname, surname, then Lin (surname), Lin (林), Wang (surname), Wang (王), Cao (Chinese surname), Tsao (曹) and Liu (劉).


Belief

Matsu, though named after the goddess Matsu (goddess), Matsu, is written with a different character that has a different tone. But the Matsu Islands are not the birthplace of the goddess as the human Lin Muoniang - Meizhou Island is — but her death place (on a seaport named after her on Nangan Island). The Matsu Nangan Tianhou Temple (), a temple dedicated to the goddess, contains the sarcophagus of Lin Muoniang. It is, however, not as popular as the Meizhou temple. Most Taiwanese pilgrims to Meizhou start off their journey in the Matsu Islands because they are the closest ROC-controlled territory to Meizhou, which is controlled by the PRC.


Economy

Due to its geographically remote location, the manufacturing business of Matsu has never been fully developed. Among them, the wine making industry of Matsu Distillery is the most distinguished feature. Tourism has become a highly important feature of the economy. However, most of its commercial trading focuses on retail businesses and restaurants for stationed military consumption. Farm products of Matsu include rice, sugar cane, tea plant, Orange (fruit), orange. Sea animals, such as fish, clams, and jellyfish, are also popular exports due to its nature as the major traditional industry in Matsu. However, the flourishing fishing ground is almost exhausted by arbitrary fish bombing by Mainland China fishing boats, while the fish population is decreasing as well. In July 2012, Matsu residents voted in favor of the establishment of casinos, which led to the prospect of gaming industries in the county and the passing of the Gaming Act ().


Energy and environment


Power generation

On 1 July 1975, the Matsu Power Company was founded to operate all of the power plants in the county. On 1 July 1986, the company was incorporated into Taiwan Power Company. The county is powered up by its fuel-fired (diesel) Zhushan Power Plant located in Cingshuei Village of Nangan Township with a capacity of 15.4 MW commissioned on 22 March 2010. The other power plants are Beigan Power Plant in Beigan Township, Dongyin Power Plant in Dongyin, Lienchiang, Dongyin Township and Dongju Power Plant in Dongju Island and Xiju Power Plant in Xiju Island of Juguang, Lienchiang, Juguang Township. The county is also powered up by its photovoltaic system with a capacity of 0.074 MW.


Pollution

Generally, the environment of Matsu Islands is still well-preserved. The major source of pollution is from family and military household waste. There are, however, concerns that the continued lack of modern sewage facilities results in household waste seeping into groundwater.


Tourism

Tourism has become a critical sector in the local economy. Lienchiang County Government is making an effort to attract more visitors to the Matsu Islands, especially among foreigners. Dongyin Visitor Center is the main visitor center of the township. Nangan is the capital of Matsu and it is noted for its granite tunnel and the Iron Fort. It has two interconnected main roads. The Beihai Tunnels are manmade granite tunnels. Both tunnels were remarkable for their time, and they took great effort to construct. The Beihai Tunnel (Nangan), tunnel in Nangan was built in 1968. The completion of Beihai Tunnel took the effort of thousands of men. The 700 metre (800 yard) tunnel has a width of 10 metres (33') and a height of 16 metres (52'). It was completed in 820 days with shovels, spades and explosives; the tunnel also took the life of a platoon of soldiers. The tunnel was considered a military location and was not opened to the public until 1990. The Iron Fort is located on the Southwest side of Nangan island. Located by a small cliff, it is a vulnerable spot for outside attacks or illegal smuggling of materials. With that in mind, the fort was built for defence. It is equipped with multiple machinegun rooms and rudimentary living facilities. It is now open to the public, and although most of the equipment has been removed from the site, the site itself brings back a vivid image of what it was like for soldiers at that time. Museums in Matsu including the Matsu Blue Tears Ecological Museum, Matsu Folk Culture Museum, Ching-kuo Memorial Hall and War and Peace Memorial Park Exhibition Center.


Nature

Since 1990, the county manages the , which spreads across eight islands and islets in Nangan, Beigan and Tongyin Townships. It contains 30 species (biology), species in 15 order (biology), orders, mostly gulls and terns. In 2000, four pairs of the endangered species, critically endangered Chinese crested tern, previously thought to be extinct species, extinct, were discovered nesting on the Matsu Islands, giving them global conservation importance. There are also mosses and ferns rare or absent elsewhere in the Republic of China, ROC. Cetacean species that have become rare along Chinese coasts are still present here such as false killer whales and finless porpoises, providing opportunistic Whale Watching, observations at times. Finless porpoises in this areas are generally smaller than other subspecies, and it is unique that two subspecies inhabit in this region where Matsu region is the northern limit for one of them.


Transportation


Air

Both Nangan and Beigan, Lienchiang, Beigan have airports which are the Matsu Nangan Airport and Matsu Beigan Airport respectively. Dongyin, Lienchiang, Dongyin and Juguang (in Xiju Island) house heliports which only operate during winter time and priority is given to local residents to travel to Nangan.


Sea

Due to the fact that the main airport is located in Nangan, boats are the main form of transportation between the islands in the county. There are two ferry rides to Mainland China. One arrives at Mawei District of
Fuzhou Fuzhou (; , Fuzhounese: Hokchew, ''Hók-ciŭ''), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Foochow, is the capital and one of the largest prefecture-level city, cities in Fujian province, China. Along with the many counties of Ningde, ...

Fuzhou
and departs from Fuao Harbor at Nangan Township in which the journey normally takes 90 minutes while in Nangan. Another arrives at Huangqi () of Lianjiang County, Lianjiang and departs from Beigan Township in which the journey takes only 20 minutes. Dongyin, Lienchiang, Dongyin Township houses the Zhongzhu Harbor.


Road

Due to their size, travelling by motorized scooter is an ideal way to get around the main islands such as Nangan and Beigan, despite the steep hills. Both Islands have regular buses and taxis are also economical. In October 2019, Mainland China announced 'initial plans' to build a bridge linking
Fuzhou Fuzhou (; , Fuzhounese: Hokchew, ''Hók-ciŭ''), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Foochow, is the capital and one of the largest prefecture-level city, cities in Fujian province, China. Along with the many counties of Ningde, ...

Fuzhou
to the Matsu Islands. Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said that the plans were made unilaterally by China as part of its schemes to absorb Taiwan and divide Taiwanese society and that they see no need for bridges linking either Matsu or Kinmen to China.


Notable persons

* Chen Pao-yu, Chief of Staff of the Republic of China Army (2019-)


See also

*''Matsu Daily'' *
Lianjiang County Lianjiang (; BUC: Lièng-gŏng) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern na ...
(located in mainland China) *Administrative divisions of the Republic of China *List of Taiwanese superlatives *List of cities in the Republic of China *List of islands of the Republic of China


Notes


References


External links

*
Military importance from www.globalsecurity.org

Smaller map
(from CNN)
Name change
''Taipei Times'' article
Matzu Scenic Area

Satellite image of the Nangan and Beigan islands by Google Maps
{{Authority control Matsu Islands, Islands of the East China Sea Archipelagoes of the Pacific Ocean Archipelagoes of Taiwan Taiwan Strait Territorial disputes of China Territorial disputes of the Republic of China Islands of Fujian, Republic of China