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Ma Jun (environmentalist)

That has left young people disillusioned, says Jason Hsu, a KMT lawmaker, who believes gay marriage was one of the main reasons Ms Tsai captured the youth vote. But she has appointed a former member of a watchdog agency under the previous KMT administration to head the committee in charge of this project. This has upset some in her own party. Meanwhile, a law that strips the KMT of wealth deemed ill-gotten has infuriated the opposition. The KMT is still reeling from its defeat in and the legislative setbacks that followed. Its leadership is weak. But Ms Tsai faces opposition of a different sort.

Two ex-presidents one from the DPP and one from the KMT and many prominent politicians, especially within the DPP, want her to permit a referendum on independence—something that would provoke a dire response from China. She is resisting, while counting on an economic upturn to bolster her fortunes. But time flies. Join them. Subscribe to The Economist today. Media Audio edition Economist Films Podcasts. New to The Economist?

Kelly Olds, National Taiwan University

Sign up now Activate your digital subscription Manage your subscription Renew your subscription. Topics up icon. Blogs up icon. Most of the island is covered with rugged mountains that rise to over 13, feet. These mountains rise directly out of the ocean along the eastern shore facing the Pacific so that this shore, and the central parts of the island are sparsely populated. This plain is crossed by east-west rivers, which occasionally bring floods of water down from the mountains creating broad boulder strewn flood plains. The most important river is the Chuo Shuei-Hsi between present-day Changhua and Yunlin counties , which has been an important economic and cultural divide.

Little is known about Taiwan prior to the seventeenth-century.

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When the Dutch came to the island in , they found a population of roughly 70, Austronesian aborigines, at least 1, Chinese and a smaller number of Japanese. The aborigine women practiced subsistence agriculture while aborigine men harvested deer for export. The Chinese and Japanese population was primarily male and transient.

Some of the Chinese were fishermen who congregated at the mouths of Taiwanese rivers but most Chinese and Japanese were merchants. Chinese merchants usually lived in aborigine villages and acted as middlemen, exporting deerskins, primarily to Japan, and importing salt and various manufactures. The harbor alongside which the Dutch built their first fort in present-day Tainan City was already an established place of rendezvous for Chinese and Japanese trade when the Dutch arrived.

The Dutch took control of most of Taiwan in a series of campaigns that lasted from the mids to the mids. The Dutch taxed the deerskin trade, hired aborigine men as soldiers and tried to introduce new forms of agriculture, but otherwise interfered little with the aborigine economy. The Tainan harbor grew in importance as an international entrepot. The most important change in the economy was an influx of about 35, Chinese to the island. These Chinese developed land, mainly in southern Taiwan, and specialized in growing rice and sugar.

One of the most important Chinese investors in the Taiwanese economy was the leader of the Chinese community in Dutch Batavia on Java and during this period the Chinese economy on Taiwan bore a marked resemblance to the Batavian economy. Koxinga, a Chinese-Japanese sea lord, drove the Dutch off the island in Under the rule of Koxinga and his heirs , Chinese settlement continued to spread in southern Taiwan.

On the one hand, Chinese civilians made the crossing to flee the chaos that accompanied the Ming-Qing transition. On the other hand, Koxinga and his heirs brought over soldiers who were required to clear land and farm when they were not being used in wars.

The Chinese population probably rose to about , Taiwan remained part of the Chinese empire until it ceded the island to Japan in The Qing government originally saw control of Taiwan as an economic burden that had to be borne in order to keep the island out of the hand of pirates. In the first year of occupation, the Qing government shipped as many Chinese residents as possible back to the mainland.

The island lost perhaps one-third of its Chinese population. Travel to Taiwan by all but male migrant workers was illegal until and this prohibition was reinstated off-and-on until it was finally permanently rescinded in Both illegal immigration and natural increase were important components of this growth. The Qing government feared the expense of Chinese-aborigine confrontations and tried futilely to restrain Chinese settlement and keep the populations apart.

Chinese pioneers, however, were constantly pushing the bounds of Chinese settlement northward and eastward and the aborigines were forced to adapt. Some groups permanently leased their land to Chinese settlers.

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Others learned Chinese farming skills and eventually assimilated or else moved toward the mountains where they continued hunting, learned to raise cattle or served as Qing soldiers. Due to the lack of Chinese women, intermarriage was also common. Individual entrepreneurs or land companies usually organized Chinese pioneering enterprises.

These people obtained land from aborigines or the government, recruited settlers, supplied loans to the settlers and sometimes invested in irrigation projects.

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Large land developers often lived in the village during the early years but moved to a city after the village was established. However, they did not retain control of land usage or have any say in land sales or rental. The payers of the large rents were the true owners who controlled the land. Chinese pioneers made extensive use of written contracts but government enforcement of contracts was minimal. Being part of a strong lineage was crucial to economic success and violent struggles among lineages were a problem endemic to south China.

This program strives to increase both average citizens' awareness of environmental issues and individual contributions to the TEIA site by recruiting hundreds of average citizens to attend workshops that train them to become amateur environmental reporters. Although TEIA is a Taiwan-based organization, it tries to extend its influence beyond Taiwan's borders, especially into mainland China. While it is politically sensitive for mainland journalists to participate in environmental forums in Taiwan, many pay their own way to do attend, which Jung-Hong felt signifies an important step towards cross-strait cooperation and learning.

TEIA has also organized university student workshops in mainland China to talk about citizen environmental empowerment and chemical pollution. The overall goal of these activities is to promote dialogue between the mainland and Taiwan.

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However, governments on both sides of the Taiwan Straits place limitations on NGO visits from mainland to Taiwan, which is a limitation to such grassroots networking. Finally, Rei-hsiang Ray Pong talked about TEIA's work with the recovery efforts from the August 8, Typhoon Morakot in which over people died, 76 were missing, and 24, were evacuated from their homes.

In one village alone, people were buried alive. Infrastructure, roads and buildings were severely damaged. The government's response, according to Mr. Pong, was slow and insufficient, and many Taiwanese citizens lost their confidence in the government's ability to handle emergencies. TEIA responded to the crisis by building a webpage to promote discussion and civil participation in the post-typhoon reconstruction, focusing on the debate regarding the Post-Typhoon Reconstruction Special Act.