NamesKinmen () means 'golden gate'. The name is first recorded in 1387 when the Hongwu Emperor appointed Zhou Dexing to administer the island and protect it from pirate attacks.Jian-Feng Wei
Early historyHumans have lived on Kinmen since 5800 to 8000 years ago. During the reign of Emperor Yuan of Jin, Emperor Yuan (317 A.D.), the Five Barbarians invasion of China led six extended families to flee south and they settled in Kinmen, then called Wuzhou. More people settled there during the Tang dynasty, changing the name from'' Wuzhou'' to ''Kinmen''. During the Ming dynasty, more migrants settled in Kinmen. Koxinga used Kinmen as a base to liberate Kinmen and Penghu from the Dutch. He cut down trees to build his navy, resulting in massive deforestation that made Kinmen vulnerable to soil erosion. The Zhu Yihai, Prince of Lu, Prince of Lu, a member of the Southern Ming dynasty, resisted the invading Manchu Qing dynasty forces. In 1651, he fled to Kinmen, which the Qing dynasty took in 1663. During the Qing Dynasty, the Kinmen area was part of Tong'an District, Tungan County.
Republic of ChinaAfter the establishment of the Republic of China (1912–49), Republic of China (ROC) in 1912, Kinmen became part of Fujian Province. In 1913, the Kinmen area was made part of Siming District, Siming County. Kinmen County was established in 1914. In 1928, the county came under direct administration of the provincial government. Japan occupied Kinmen County during the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945. During this period, the county government was moved to Dadeng. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC) by the Chinese Communists in October 1949, Kinmen County was claimed by both the Nationalists and the Communists. Dadeng, Xiaodeng and Jiaoyu were taken by the Communists on October 9 or October 15, 1949. The islands are claimed by the ROC. They are part of Dadeng Subdistrict, Xiang'an District, , Fujian, China. On October 25, 1949, PLA forces landed on Kinmen Island near Guningtou beginning the Battle of Kuningtou. ROC forces successfully defended the island and prevented an attack on Taiwan. At the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, retired Admiral Charles M. Cooke Jr., advisor to President Chiang Kai-shek, opposed withdrawing ROC forces from Quemoy (Kinmen). On July 26, 1950, ROC forces on Dadan Island (Tatan), in total 298 soldiers, repulsed an attack (:zh:大擔島戰役, 大擔島戰役) from a force of 700 soldiers that landed on the island. General Douglas MacArthur and other US officials supported ROC efforts to defend the islands. The extensively shelled the island during the First Taiwan Strait Crisis, First and Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, Second Taiwan Strait crises in 1954–1955 and 1958 respectively. In 1954, the United States considered responding by using nuclear weapons against the PRC. Again in 1958, General Nathan Farragut Twining and the Joint Chiefs of Staff believed that the United States should not permit the loss of the islands to the communists and recommended to President Eisenhower the use of whatever force was necessary, including atomic weapons. The phrase "Quemoy and Matsu Islands, Matsu" became part of American political language in the 1960 U.S. presidential election. During the debates, both candidates, Vice-President Richard Nixon and Senator 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 a legitimate government. But in the second debate on October 7, 1960, the two candidates presented different opinions about whether to use American forces to protect Taiwan's forward positions, Quemoy and Matsu, also. 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 be surrendered to the Communists as a matter of principle. Earlier in the debate, then-Vice President Nixon mentioned: Later in the debate, Edward P. Morgan asked then-Senator Kennedy: Then-Senator Kennedy responded to Morgan's question saying: Then-Vice President Nixon retorted: After the third debate on October 13, 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. Nixon's polls among Republicans and Democrats showed overwhelming support for Nixon's position on the issue. Kinmen was originally a military reserve, which eventually led to the 1987 Lieyu massacre. The island was returned to the civilian government in the mid-1990s, after which travel to and from it was allowed. Direct travel between and Kinmen re-opened in January 2001 under the mini Three Links, and there has been extensive tourism development on the island in anticipation of mainland tourists. Direct travel was suspended in 2003 as a result of the SARS outbreak, but has since resumed. Many Taiwanese businessmen use the link through Kinmen to enter the Chinese mainland, seeing it as cheaper and easier than entering through Hong Kong. However, this changed following the 2005 Pan-Blue visits to mainland China and the 2008 2008 Republic of China presidential election, presidential and 2008 Republic of China legislative election, legislative victories of the KMT, that allowed easier cross-Strait relations. Kinmen has experienced a considerable economic boom as businessmen relocate to the island for easier access to the vast markets of the PRC. On 30 June 2014, Dadan Island and Erdan Island were handed over from the Republic of China Armed Forces, military to civilians, represented by Kinmen County Government. Since 1 January 2015, tourists from Mainland China could directly apply for the Exit & Entry Permit (Republic of China), Exit and Entry Permit upon arrival in Kinmen. This privilege also applies to Penghu and Matsu Islands as means to boost tourism in the outlying islands of Taiwan. On August 23, 2019, the sixty-first anniversary of the beginning of the , President Tsai Ing-wen visited the Taiwushan Martyrs' Shrine () where she placed flowers and offered incense.
GeographyThe county is made up of numerous islands and islets including: *Kinmen group ** Kinmen (Kinmen, Main island; ) (main island; divided into four townships) **Dongding Island (Tangtia, Tungting , ) (in Jinhu Township; approximately to the southwest) **Beiding Island (:zh:北碇島, 北碇島) (in Jinhu Township; approximately to the east) **Cao Islet (Ts'ao Hsü; ) (in Jinsha Township) **Hou Islet () (in Jinsha Township) **Jiangong Islet (建功嶼) (in Jincheng Township) **Lesser Kinmen (Hsiao Kinmen, Lieyu; ) (second largest island under ROC control; in Lieyu Township) **Dadan Island (in Lieyu Township) **Erdan Island (:zh:二膽島, 二膽島) (in Lieyu Township) **Fuxing Islet (Fuhsing Islet; Phaktia) () (in Lieyu Township) **Menghu Islet (Tiger Island, ) (in Lieyu Township) **Shi Islet (Lion Islet) () (in Lieyu Township) **Binlang Islet () (in Lieyu Township) **''Dadeng'' (''Tateng'') (大嶝/:zh:大嶝岛, 大嶝島) (under PRC control from October 9 or October 15, 1949; part of Dadeng Subdistrict, Xiang'an District, , Fujian) **''Xiaodeng'' (''Hsiaoteng'', ''Siao Deng'') (小嶝/:zh:小嶝岛, 小嶝島) (under PRC control from October 9 or October 15, 1949; part of Dadeng Subdistrict, Xiang'an District, , Fujian) **''Jiaoyu''/''Jiao Yu'', (''Chiao I.'', :zh:角屿, 角嶼) (under PRC control from October 9 or October 15, 1949; part of Dadeng Subdistrict, Xiang'an District, , Fujian) *Wuqiu, Kinmen, Wuqiu (Ockseu, Wuchiu; ) group **Daqiu (Tachiu, Taciou; ) (in Wuqiu Township) **Xiaoqiu (Hsiaochiu; ) (in Wuqiu Township)
GeologyKinmen, much like the surrounding Chinese mainland, is predominantly composed of Cretaceous aged granite, with lesser amounts of Eocene-Oligocene sandstone, Miocene basalt and Pleistocene-Holocene Conglomerate (geology), conglomerate, the thickness of the sediments varies from 150 metres in the west to only a few metres in the east.
CultureThe people of Kinmen see themselves as Kinmenese, ''Mínnánrén''/''Mǐnnánrén'' (people of Southern Fujian), or Chinese people, Chinese, but not so much as Taiwanese people, Taiwanese.Trista di Genova
LanguageMany of the county's inhabitants speak Hokkien; the Quanzhou dialect, Quanzhou accent is predominant. Most residents will say they speak Kinmenese, which is mutually intelligible with Taiwanese Hokkien. The residents of Wuchiu Township speak Pu-Xian Min, as opposed to Hokkien for the rest of Kinmen.
OthersKinmen is notable for a number of cultural products. Due to the extensive shelling by the in the 1950s, Kinmen is famous for its Kinmen knife, artillery shell knives. Local artisans would collect the vast amounts of exploded ordnance and make high-quality knives which are still sought after by chefs and connoisseurs. Kinmen is also home of the regionally famous Kinmen Kaoliang liquor, a spirit ranging between 38 and 63 percent alcohol, which is highly appreciated by the Taiwanese. Other local culinary specialties include , ' and beef jerky (bakkwa). Like the Ryukyus, Kinmen is known for shisa (wind-lion god) figures (風獅爺).
EconomyKinmen's economy is mainly based on tourism and services due to its proximity to mainland China.
TourismBecause of its military importance, development on the island was extremely limited. Only by 2003, Kinmen opened up itself to tourists from Fujian in China, Mainland China. It is now a popular weekend tourist destination for Taiwanese and is known for its quiet villages, old-style architecture and beaches. Chinese and Taiwanese tour groups also spend a short time touring the island whilst transiting between the ferry and the airport, as an intermediate stop between China and Taiwan. Large parts of Kinmen form the Kinmen National Park which highlights military fortifications and structures, historical dwellings and natural scenery. The year 2014 recorded the highest number of passengers traveling by ferry between Kinmen and Fujian ports for as many as 1.5 million people. Since 1 January 2015, China, Chinese mainland tourists were no longer be required to apply for Exit & Entry Permit (Republic of China), Exit and Entry Permit in advance for visits to Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu Islands. Instead, they can apply for it upon arrival at a cost of NT$600. By 2016, two infrastructure projects are expected to boost tourism and meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions visitors to the islands. One includes a yet-to-be-named five-star resort spearheaded by Xiamen property developer, Wu Youhua, president of Xiamen Huatian Group, the first time a Chinese interest has been allowed to invest in the Taiwan hotel sector.
Tourist attractionsTourist-related affairs in Kinmen are governed by Transportation and Tourism Bureau of Kinmen County Government. Major tourist attractions in Kinmen are:
=Museums= August 23 Artillery Battle Museum, Guningtou Battle Museum, Hujingtou Battle Museum, Yu Da Wei Xian Sheng Memorial Museum.
=Nature= Ci Lake, Gugang Lake, Jiangong Islet, Jincheng Seaside Park, Kinmen National Park.
=Historical buildings= Beishan Old Western-style House, Deyue Gun Tower, Gulongtou Zhenwei Residence, Jindong Movie Theater, Zhaishan Tunnel, Juguang Tower, Kinmen Folk Culture Village, Kinmen Military Headquarters of Qing Dynasty, Mashan Broadcasting and Observation Station, Mofan Street and Wuqiu Lighthouse.
=Religious buildings= Maoshan Pagoda, Wentai Pagoda.
IndustryKinmen is famous for the production of Kaoliang wine, which takes up about 75% of Taiwan's market share, in which it is a strong economic backbone of the county. Traditional industries are also being kept and improved, ranging from agriculture, fishery and livestock. It has a good fishery industry also due to its nature being surrounded by unpolluted sea. Kinmen also produces its unique Kinmen knife, in which the raw material used to produce it is taken from the remaining of shells fired by the in 1958-1978. The knife was made as gift to the visiting Head of Taiwan Affairs Office Zhang Zhijun to Kinmen on 23–24 May 2015 to symbolize mutual peace between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and to bury the hatchet left from Chinese Civil War.
Imported goodsKinmen often import more goods from Mainland China than Taiwan Island because of lower costs due to the proximity of the county to the mainland. During the campaign for the 2014 Taiwan local elections, 2014 county magistrate, all of the magistrate candidates spent their money on campaign materials produced in mainland provinces, such as Guangdong, Zhejiang and Fujian instead of from Taiwan Island.
PoliticsThe island consistently votes for the Kuomintang (KMT). Until the early 1990s, proponents of Taiwan independence argued that they would consider handing Kinmen over to the PRC in any negotiated settlement. Residents of the island have broadly opposed such measures, fearing the consequences of the PRC government's policies on their standard of living and political freedom. The Democratic Progressive Party has a minor presence on the island and typically does not present candidates to stand in local elections, although it does hold a single seat in Kinmen County Council from both of the 2009 Taiwanese local elections, 2009 and 2014 Taiwanese local elections, 2014 local elections. However, the party occasionally lends support to liberal or center-left candidates. On 29 November 2014 however, independent candidate Chen Fu-hai won the 2014 Taiwanese local elections, county magistrate election and took office as the List of county magistrates of Kinmen, Magistrate of Kinmen County on 25 December 2014, the first independent candidate to win the office. He replaced Magistrate Lee Wo-shih of the Kuomintang. The 2014 Taiwan local elections, 2014 Kinmen County magistrate election consisted of 10 candidates, the highest number of nominated candidates in the electoral history of Taiwan. Kinmen County Constituency is represented by a single seat in the Legislative Yuan. The incumbent Magistrate of Kinmen County is Yang Cheng-wu of the Kuomintang.
TownshipsKinmen County is divided into 3 urban Township (Taiwan), townships and 3 rural Township (Taiwan), townships. Jincheng, Kinmen, Jincheng Township is the county seat which houses Kinmen County Government and Kinmen County Council. The township also houses the headquarter office of Kinmen-Matsu Joint Services Center. Kinmen County has the fewest rural townships among other counties in Taiwan. All those townships on Greater Kinmen Island start their names with ''Jin'' (i.e., ''Kin'', lit. "gold"). Lieyu Township encompasses the entire Lesser Kinmen Island, and is the closest to . Wuqiu, Kinmen, Wuqiu Township comprises Greater Qiu Islet () and Lesser Qiu Islet (). Jincheng and Jinsha are the largest of the six townships. Altogether, there are 37 villages in Kinmen County.
Cross-Strait relationsIn the controversy regarding the political status of Taiwan, the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) has continuously claimed the territory of Kinmen County as part of Fujian, its own Fujian Province, claiming the Kinmen Islands as a county of Quanzhou prefecture-level city. The PRC claims the Wuqiu (Ockseu) Islands as part of Xiuyu District in Putian prefecture-level city. Taiwan (Republic of China) claims the Dadeng (Tateng) Islands in Dadeng Subdistrict, Xiang'an District, , Fujian as part of Kinmen County.
EducationIn August 2010, National Quemoy University was established from the predecessor National Kinmen Institute of Technology and Kinmen Division of National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences established in 1997. It is located in Jinning Township. The islands also have a satellite campuses of Ming Chuan University and National University of Kaohsiung. Secondary educational institutions include National Kinmen Senior High School and National Kinmen Agricultural and Industrial Vocational Senior High School. In total, there are 24 junior high schools, elementary schools and kindergartens. The Kinmen County Government have invested millions in education in Kinmen, with an average of NT$20,000 per student. Schools in the county also accept the growing number of Taiwanese students whose parents are doing business in Fujian. The county government has been striving to encourage universities in Taiwan Island and Mainland China to set up branches in the county, as well as to attract Chinese mainland students to study in Kinmen.
ElectricityThe Kinmen Power Company was founded in 1967 and gradually built five power plants in the county and is in charge of providing power resources to all residents in Kinmen. It used to rely on Diesel fuel, light diesel oil which created high cost burden to its management. Since 1992, the ROC central government approved the power company to authorize Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) for five-year management. All of the power development projects were invested by Taipower and helped the region economic development. In July 1997, Kinmen Power Company was officially incorporated to Taipower. In 1999, the diesel-fired Tashan Power Plant was built to supply electricity to Kinmen grid. The other smaller power plants were subsequently discontinued to reduce cost. The county is also powered by its Jinmen Wind wind farm with a capacity of 4MW and photovoltaic system with a capacity of 0.792 MW.
Submarine telecommunication cableIn August 2012, Kinmen and established the first submarine telecommunication cable between the two sides. On Taiwan side, the infrastructure was constructed by Chunghwa Telecom, while on mainland China's side was done by China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. The project was initially launched in 1996 and took 16 years to build. The telecommunication system consists of two cables, one is a long cable that runs from Kinmen's Lake Tzu and Xiamen's Mount Guanyin, and the other is a long cable that runs from Guningtou on Greater Kinmen Island (ROC) to Dadeng Island (PRC). The system is a non-repeater system with a bilateral transmission capacity of 90 Gbit/s, which might be expanded in the future if demand arises.
Water supplyThe current daily water demand for Kinmen is 50,000 tonnes, which are used for households, industries and agriculture sectors. One tonne of water produced for Kinmen costs about NT$50–60 and may surge to NT$70 during summer. In extreme drought condition, water shipment from Taiwan Island may cost as much as NT$200 per tonne. Because Kinmen residents pay only NT$10 for each tonne water they use, the cost of water supply has become a heavy burden for the Kinmen County Government, county government. For decades, Kinmen has been facing difficulties in water supply to its residence due to its shallow lakes, lack of rainfall and geographical constraints which makes building reservoirs and dams unfeasible. Therefore, Kinmen often overuses its groundwater, causing rising tidal flood and soil salinity. In early September 2013, the People's Republic of China government agreed to supply Kinmen with water from Jinjiang, Fujian, Jinjiang City in Fujian due to the ongoing water shortage problem in Kinmen. Kinmen draws more than 8,000 tonnes of groundwater every day and water from its reservoir is barely enough to support the residents during the dry season. The shortage problem will heavily hit the local economy by 2016 if no mitigation plan is enacted. The water supply agreement was officially signed on 20 July 2015 in Kinmen between Kinmen County Waterworks Director Weng Wen-kuei () and Fujian Water Supply Co chairman Zhu Jinliang () witnessed by Kinmen County List of county magistrates of Kinmen, Magistrate Chen Fu-hai and Fujian Province Governor Su Shulin. The Jinjiang–Kinmen Pipeline, water pipeline was officially opened on 5 August 2018 when the first water supply was delivered in a ceremony held in both Kinmen County and Jinjiang, Fujian, Jinjiang City in Mainland China.
AirKinmen is served by Kinmen Airport, a domestic airport located at Jinhu, Kinmen, Jinhu Township, connecting Kinmen with Magong Airport, Penghu and Taipei Songshan Airport, Taipei Songshan, Kaohsiung Airport, Kaohsiung, Taichung Airport, Taichung, Chiayi Airport, Chiayi and Tainan Airport on Taiwan Island.
SeaPeople coming from Mainland China can also visit Kinmen using ferry via Fujian from at Wutong Ferry Terminal or from Quanzhou arriving at Shuitou Pier in Jincheng, Kinmen, Jincheng Township. Kinmen to Xiamen Ferry, is a popular route between the Chinese Mainland and Taiwanese tourists alike, with brisk connections available between the ferry ports and Kinmen Airport (for Taiwanese destinations) and Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, Xiamen's Airport and Xiamen North Railway Station (for Mainland destinations). The Kinmen-Quanzhou Ferry is only available to local travellers and foreigner passport holders are not permitted to use this service. A new commercial port has been built adjacent to the Shuitou Pier on newly reclaimed land. This will handle the majority of sea freight to and from Kinmen. Previously most of this traffic was handled by a smaller port on the South-East corner of the island in Jinhu Township. In the past, due to constant artillery shelling from the Chinese mainland, an underground port was used to supply the island in times of conflict at the Jhaishan Tunnels on the South-Western tip of the island but this has been decommissioned and turned into a tourist attraction. Greatly used as a transit route between the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan Island, buses also connect to the ferry terminal to allow for quick transfer to .
RoadA bridge, Kinmen Bridge, connecting Kinmen Island (Greater Kinmen) and Lieyu, Kinmen, Lieyu is planned to be completed by 2020, estimated to cost NT$7.5 billion (US$250 million). It is expected to increase local tourism; the bridge's main body will have the largest span in the world when completed. In October 2019, Mainland China announced a plan to build a bridge linking to Kinmen. 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 Islands, Matsu or Kinmen to China.
See also*Administrative divisions of Taiwan *Kinmen Agreement
External links and further reading* *