Taiwan Area


The free area of the Republic of China, also known as the "Taiwan Area of the Republic of China", "Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu", "Tai-Min Area ( and )" or simply the "Taiwan Area", is a term used by the (ROC) to refer to the territories under its actual control. The area under the definition consists of the island groups of , , , and . This term is used in the "". The term "Tai-Peng-Kin-Ma" is also essentially equivalent except that it only refers to the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu Area, to the exclusion of the South China Sea possessions— (Tungsha/Dongsha) and . The term is complementary to "Mainland Area", which is practically viewed as being synonymous to .


The term "free area" or "" was used during the (1937–45) to describe the territories under the control of the led in Chungking (today ), as opposed to the parts of under Japanese occupation, including Nanking (today ) the capital of the Republic of China until the in 1937. The Japanese occupation ended with the imperial surrender in 1945, but the term "Free China" was soon to acquire a new meaning in the context of the early . Following the 's victory in the in 1949, the newly inaugurated solidified its control of , while the government retreated to Taiwan and selected to serve as the provisional capital of the Republic of China. Mainland China was officially considered to be in a state of "", also known as "Communist China" or "Red China", and furthermore all territories still under Nationalist administration were said to constitute the "Free Area" of China, also known as "Nationalist China" or "Free China". This "Period of Communist Rebellion" was officially terminated by the government on 1 May 1991 with the implementation of the . Prior to the in 1955, the Free Area also encompassed a group of islands off Zhejiang, up to then part of the ROC province of . The islands have since been administered exclusively by the People's Republic of China.


Various names used to describe the geopolitical area include:

Legal use

The term "free area of the Republic of China" has persisted to the present day in the ROC legislation. The delegates numerous rights to exercise the sovereignty of the state, including that of electing the and , to citizens residing in the "free area of the Republic of China". This term was first used in the Constitution with the promulgation of the first set of amendments to the Constitution in 1991 and has been retained in the most recent revision passed in 2005. The need to use the term "free area" in the Constitution arose out of the discrepancy between the notion that the Republic of China was the sole legitimate government of China and the pressures of the popular sovereignty movement. In the 1980s and 1990s, there were demands, particularly by the movement and other groups opposed to one-party authoritarian KMT rule, to restructure the ROC government, long dominated by s, to be more representative of the Taiwanese people it governed. For example, until 1991, members of the National Assembly and Legislative Yuan elected in 1948 to serve mainland constituencies remained in their posts indefinitely and the President of the Republic of China was to be elected by this same "ten thousand year parliament" () dominated by aging KMT members. However, more conservative politicians, while acquiescing to the need for increased democracy, feared that constitutional changes granting localized sovereignty would jeopardize the ROC government's claims as the legitimate Chinese government and thereby promote . While the 1991 revisions of the Constitution granted the sovereignty rights to the , it did not explicitly name Taiwan and instead used the term "free area" to maintain the notion that the Republic of China encompassed more than Taiwan. In ordinary legislation, the term "Taiwan Area" is usually used, especially in contexts of trade and exchange. In contrast to the "free area" is the "mainland area", which the defines as "the territory of the Republic of China outside the Taiwan Area". However, on more practical grounds, the "mainland area" refers simply to . In addition, there are two other Acts defining other "areas": the " and Area" (). The hand-over of these former European to the People's Republic of necessitated laws governing the relations of the Taiwan Area with them. The Acts are worded in a manner to avoid discussing whether the Republic of China claims sovereignty over and .


See also

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; Words in native languages


External links

Relations with Hong Kong and Macau

Relations Between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area
{{Territorial disputes in East, South, and Southeast Asia Taiwan Strait