Taiwan through photography

Taiwan is an island in East Asia, whose population consisted historically of a number of aboriginal tribes and immigrants from China and elsewhere


In the 1940s, the nationalist 'KMT', which was losing the civil war in Mainland China fled to Taiwan.



When they arrived, the KMT declared martial law, suppressing Taiwanese culture and independence movements, setting Taiwan up as permanent military base for a reconquest of China for the nationalist cause.



In 1987 after the longest period of martial rule in the world, Taiwan became a democracy. The two main parties were the nationalist KMT and the DPP, which had grown out of underground organisations opposing martial law and supporting Taiwanese autonomy.



Since then, Mainland China has gone from being a poor, communist country to stinking rich capitalist playground. This is the key reason why the KMT, which used to want war to the death with the P.R.C., is now leading the charge for free trade and greater links with the mainland.



In early 2014, the KMT government attempted to push through a free trade deal with China, which triggered mass student-led protest. The students were met with violence and pepper spray. Another cause of resentment at the government was a food scandal involving unsafe products from the mainland.


The local elections in Taiwan, the first held since these scandals, saw a massive swing away from the ruling KMT to the opposition DPP. The DPP is part of the Pan-Green Coalition, which favours greater Taiwanese autonomy over integration with China.



The next Presidential election takes place next year. Will the KMT recover their support, or is Taiwanese politics about to be turned upside-down?



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