Taiwan Province

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Taiwan Province
Streamlined Province of the Taiwan Area
Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese 臺灣省 (Táiwān shěng)
 • Abbreviation TW / (pinyin: Tái)
 • Minnan Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tâi-oân-séng
 • Hakka Romanization Thòi-vàn-sén
Flag of Taiwan Province
Official seal of Taiwan Province
Map showing the location of Taiwan Province
Map showing the location of Taiwan Province
Coordinates: 23°48′N 121°00′E / 23.8°N 121.0°E / 23.8; 121.0Coordinates: 23°48′N 121°00′E / 23.8°N 121.0°E / 23.8; 121.0
Split from Fukien (Fujian) 1885
Ceded to Japan April 17, 1895
Chinese rule re-established October 25, 1945
Streamlined December 21, 1998
Named for See Taiwan
Capital Taipei (1945–1956)
Zhongxing New Village (1956–)
Largest city Hsinchu City
Divisions 11 counties, — townships, 3 cities
 • Chairperson Wu Tze-cheng
 • Total 25,110.0037 km2 (9,695.0266 sq mi)
Population (2014)
 • Total 7,182,952
 • Density 290/km2 (740/sq mi)
Postal codes 200–206, 260–369, 500–655, 880–885, 900–983
Area codes (0)2, (0)3, (0)4, (0)5, (0)6, (0)8
ISO 3166 code TW
GDP (n/a) NTD — (n/a)
 • per capita NTD — (n/a)
HDI (n/a) n/a (n/a) (—)
Website www.tpg.gov.tw
Taiwan (Chinese characters).svg
"Taiwan" in Traditional (top) and Simplified (bottom) Chinese characters
Traditional Chinese 臺灣 or 台灣
Simplified Chinese 台湾
Traditional Chinese 臺 or 台
Simplified Chinese
Postal Tai
Taiwan Province
Traditional Chinese 臺灣省 or 台灣省
Simplified Chinese 台湾省
Postal Taiwan Sheng

Taiwan Province is one of the two (remaining) administrative divisions of the Republic of China (ROC, not to be confused with China, PRC) that are officially referred to as "provinces". The province covers approximately 69% of the actual-controlled territory of the ROC, with around 31% of the total population.

Geographically it covers the majority of the island of Taiwan as well as almost all of its surrounding islands, the largest of which are the Penghu archipelago, Green Island, Xiaoliuqiu Island and Orchid Island. Taiwan Province does not cover territories of the special municipalities of Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei, and Taoyuan, all of which are located geographically within the main island of Taiwan. It also does not include the counties of Kinmen and Lienchiang, which are located alongside the southeast coast of mainland China and administered as a separate Fujian Province (not to be confused with the PRC's Fujian Province).

Originally Taiwan Province covered the entire island of Taiwan and all its associated islands. All the special municipalities were split off from the province between 1967 and 2014. Since 1997 most of the Taiwan provincial government's functions have been transferred to the central government of the Republic of China following a constitutional amendment. The Taiwan Provincial Government has effectively become a nominal institution under the Executive Yuan's administration.[1][2]

The People's Republic of China (PRC) regards itself as the "successor state" of the Republic of China (ROC), which the PRC claims no longer legitimately exists, following establishment of the PRC in mainland China. The PRC asserts itself to be the sole legitimate government of China, and claims Taiwan as its 23rd province, even though the PRC itself has never had control of Taiwan or other ROC-held territories. The ROC disputes this position, maintaining that it still legitimately exists and that the PRC has not succeeded it to sovereignty.


Qing Dynasty[edit]

In 1683, Zheng Keshuang (third ruler of the Kingdom of Tungning and a grandson of Koxinga), surrendered to the Qing following a naval engagement with Admiral Shi Lang. The Qing then ruled the Taiwanese archipelago (including Penghu) as Taiwan Prefecture of Fujian Province. In 1875, Taipeh Prefecture was separated from Taiwan Prefecture. In 1885, work commenced under the auspices of Liu Ming-chuan to develop Taiwan into a province. In 1887, the island was designated as a province (officially Fokien-Taiwan Province (zh)), with Liu as the first governor.[3] The province was also reorganized into four prefectures, eleven districts, and three sub-prefectures.[4][5] The provincial capital, or "Taiwan-fu", was intended to be moved from the south (modern-day Tainan) to the more central area of Toatun (modern-day Taichung) in the revamped Taiwan Prefecture.[6] As the new central Taiwan-fu was still under construction, the capital was temporarily moved north to Taipeh (modern-day Taipei), which eventually was designated the provincial capital.

Divisions of Taiwan Province[7]
Circuit Prefectures Districts Sub-Prefectures
Taiwan Taipeh Tamsui Kelung
Taiwan Taiwan (臺灣縣)
Changhua Puli
Tainan Anping Penghu

Empire of Japan[edit]

In 1895, the entire Taiwan Province, including Penghu, was ceded to Japan following the First Sino-Japanese War through the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Under Japanese rule, the province was abolished in favour of Japanese-style divisions. After the surrender of Japan in 1945, the Taiwan was handed over to the Republic of China (ROC). The way that the ROC obtained Taiwan is a subject of controversy that gave root to the complex unresolved political status of Taiwan and the Taiwan independence movement.

Republic of China[edit]

Map of Taiwan Province, ROC(1945-1949)

The ROC government immediately established the Taiwan Provincial Government under first Chief Executive and government-general Chen Yi in September 1945.[8][9] Chen was extremely unpopular and his rule led to an uprising – the February 28 Incident of 1947. Chen was recalled in May 1947 and the government-general position was abolished.

When the Republic of China government was relocated to Taipei in 1949 as a result of the Kuomintang's (KMT) defeat by the Chinese Communist Party forces in the Chinese Civil War, the provincial administration remained in place under the claim that the ROC was still the government of all of China even though the opposition argued that it overlapped inefficiently with the national government.

The seat of the provincial government was moved from Taipei to Zhongxing New Village in 1956. Historically, Taiwan Province covers the entire island of Taiwan and all its associated islands. The city of Taipei was split off to become a province-level special municipality in 1967, and the city of Kaohsiung was split off in 1979 to become another special municipality. In December 2010, Kaohsiung County left the province and merged with the original Kaohsiung City to become an expanded Kaohsiung City, Taipei County became the special municipality named New Taipei City. The cities and counties of Taichung and Tainan were also merged, respectively, and elevated to special municipality. On 25 December 2014, Taoyuan County was upgraded into a special municipality and split off from Taiwan Province.

Until 1992, the governor of Taiwan province was appointed by the ROC central government. The office was often a stepping stone to higher office.

In 1992, the post of the governor of the province was opened to election. The then-opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) agreed to retain the province with an elected governor in the hopes of creating a "Yeltsin effect" in which a popular local leader could overwhelm the national government. These hopes proved unfulfilled as then-Kuomintang member James Soong was elected governor of Taiwan province, defeating the DPP candidate Chen Ding-nan.

In 1997, as the result of an agreement between the KMT and the DPP, the administration of the province was streamlined and curtailed by constitutional changes. For example, the post of provincial governor and the provincial assembly were both abolished and replaced with a nine-member special council. Although the stated purpose was administrative efficiency, Soong and his supporters claim that it was actually intended to destroy James Soong's power base and eliminate him from political life, though it did not have this effect. In addition, the provincial legislature was abolished, while the Legislative Yuan was expanded to include some of the former provincial legislators.

Prior to January 1, 2007 all vehicles registered in Taiwan Province carried the label "Taiwan Province" (台灣省) on their license plates.

The provincial administration has been greatly streamlined in 1998, and handed most of its power to the central government. The counties and provincial cities under the province then became the primary administrative divisions in the country. In contrast to the past where the head of Taiwan province was considered a major official, the Governor of the Taiwan Provincial Government after 1999 has been considered a very minor position.


Since the streamlining of the Taiwan Provincial Government in 1998, the government has been headed by a provincial council of nine members, led by the provincial governor. The members of the Provincial Council are all appointed by the president. The major operations of the provincial government, such as managing provincial highways and the Bank of Taiwan, have been transferred to the Executive Yuan.


Taiwan Province is divided into 11 counties (縣 xiàn)      and 3 provincial cities (市 shì)     :

Map No. Name Mandarin
1 Changhua County 彰化縣 Zhānghuà xiàn Chiong-hoà koān Chông-fa yen
2 Chiayi City 嘉義市 Jiāyì shì Ka-gī chhī Kâ-ngi sṳ
3 Chiayi County 嘉義縣 Jiāyì xiàn Ka-gī koān Kâ-ngi yen
4 Hsinchu City 新竹市 Xīnzhú shì Sin-tek chhī Sîn-tsuk sṳ
5 Hsinchu County 新竹縣 Xīnzhú xiàn Sin-tek koān Sîn-tsuk yen
6 Hualien County 花蓮縣 Huālián xiàn Hoa-liân koān Fâ-lièn yen
7 Keelung City 基隆市 Jīlóng shì Ke-lâng chhī Kî-lùng sṳ
8 Miaoli County 苗栗縣 Miáolì xiàn Biâu-le̍k koān Mèu-li̍t yen
9 Nantou County 南投縣 Nántóu xiàn Lâm-tâu koān Nàm-thèu yen
10 Penghu County 澎湖縣 Pénghú xiàn Phêⁿ-ô͘ koān Phàng-fù yen
11 Pingtung County 屏東縣 Píngdōng xiàn Pîn-tong koān Phìn-tûng yen
12 Taitung County 臺東縣 Táidōng xiàn Tâi-tang koān Thòi-tûng yen
13 Yilan County 宜蘭縣 Yílán xiàn Gî-lân koān Ngì-làn yen
14 Yunlin County 雲林縣 Yúnlín xiàn Hûn-lîm koān Yùn-lìm yen

Note: The cities of Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei and Taoyuan are administered directly by the central government and are not part of Taiwan province. The Senkaku Islands, which are currently administered by Japan, are disputed by both the ROC and PRC, which claim them as the Tiaoyutai/Diaoyutai Islands. The ROC government claims them as part of Toucheng Township, Yilan County.

Administrative history[edit]

Decisions by the Executive Yuan since 1945:

Date Division No. Notes
Counties Cities
December 25, 1945 8 9
  • Counties: Hsinchu, Hualien, Kaohsiung, Penghu, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei, and Taitung.
  • Provincial Cities: Changhua, Chiayi, Hsinchu, Kaohsiung, Keelung, Pingtung, Taichung, Tainan, and Taipei.
(with 2 county-controlled cities: Hualien and Yilan)
August 16, 1950 16 8
  • Counties: Changhua, Chiayi, Hsinchu, Hualien, Kaohsiung, Miaoli, Nantou, Penghu, Pingtung, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei, Taitung, Taoyuan, Yilan, and Yunlin
  • Provincial Cities: Changhua, Hsinchu, Kaohsiung, Keelung, Pingtung, Taichung, Tainan, and Taipei.
(downgrade Chiayi to a county-controlled city)
December 1, 1951 16 5 Downgrade Changhua, Hsinchu, and Pingtung provincial cities to county-controlled cities
July 1, 1967 16 4 Taipei became the first Taiwanese special municipality
November 11, 1967 16 4 All county seats (originally towns) upgraded to county-controlled cities.
July 1, 1979 16 3 Kaohsiung became the second Taiwanese special municipality
July 1, 1982 16 5 Upgrade Chiayi and Hsinchu to provincial cities (approved on April 23, 1981)
December 25, 2010 12 3 Upgrade Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan to special municipalities, which covers four counties (Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taichung, Tainan) and two provincial cities (Taichung and Tainan).
December 25, 2014 11 3 Upgrade Taoyuan to special municipality.

Governor of the Province[edit]

Official titles of the governor[edit]

Year Full title Literally Notes
Chinese Mandarin
1945–1947 臺灣省
Chief Executive of
Taiwan Province
The position of Chief Executive was temporarily part of the Executive Yuan, the position was legalized in Taiwan Provincial Administrative Executive Office Organizational Outline (臺灣省行政長官公署組織條例 Táiwān-shěng xíngzhèng zhǎngguān gōngshǔ zǔzhī tiáolì) of September 20, 1945.
1947–1994 臺灣省政府
Zhèngfǔ Zhǔxí
Chèng-hú Chú-se̍k
Chairman of Taiwan
Provincial Government
After the February 28 Incident, the Administrative Executive Office was reformed to a provincial government. The title often abbreviate as 省主席 shěngzhǔxí.
1994–1998 臺灣省
Governor of
Taiwan Province
During the democratic reforms, the title "Governor" was first legally used in the Self-Governance Law for Provinces and Counties (省縣自治法) of July 29, 1994. The governor was directly elected by the people of the province.
1998–present 臺灣省政府
Zhèngfǔ Zhǔxí
Chèng-hú Chú-se̍k
Chairman of Taiwan
Provincial Government
Since the streamlining of the Taiwan Provincial Government in 1998, the government has been headed by a provincial council of nine members, led by the provincial governor. The members of the Provincial Council are all appointed by the president. The major operations of the provincial government, such as managing provincial highways and the Bank of Taiwan, have been transferred to the Executive Yuan.

List of Governors[edit]

  Kuomintang   Non-partisan/ unknown   Democratic Progressive Party

Chief Executive[edit]

Portrait Name
Term of Office Political Party
1 Chen Yi.jpg Chen Yi
Chén Yí
August 29, 1945 April 22, 1947 Kuomintang

Chairperson of the Provincial Government[edit]

Portrait Name
Term of Office Political Party
1 Wei Daoming.jpg Wei Tao-ming
Wèi Dàomíng
May 16, 1947 January 5, 1949 Kuomintang
2 Chen Cheng.jpg Chen Cheng
Chén Chéng
January 5, 1949 December 21, 1949 Kuomintang
3 K. C. Wu.jpg K. C. Wu
Wú Guózhēn
December 21, 1949 April 16, 1953 Kuomintang
4 Yu Hung-Chun.jpg Yu Hung-chun
Yú Hóngjūn
April 16, 1953 June 7, 1954 Kuomintang
5 Yen Chia-kan 1965.jpg Yen Chia-kan
(C.K. Yen)

Yán Jiāgàn
June 7, 1954 August 16, 1957 Kuomintang
6 Zhou Zhirou.jpg Chow Chih-jou (zh)
Yán Jiāgàn
August 16, 1957 December 1, 1962 Kuomintang
7 Army (ROCA) General Huang Chieh 陸軍上將黃杰.jpg Huang Chieh
Huáng Jié
December 1, 1962 July 5, 1969 Kuomintang
8 Army (ROCA) General Chen Ta-ching 陸軍上將陳大慶.jpg Chen Ta-ching
Chén Dàqìng
July 5, 1969 June 6, 1972 Kuomintang
9 Hsieh Tung Ming.jpg Hsieh Tung-min
Xiè Dōngmǐn
June 6, 1972 May 20, 1978 Kuomintang
Chu Shao-hwa (zh)
Qú Sháohuá
May 20, 1978 June 11, 1978 Kuomintang
As acting; Secretary General of the Provincial Government.
10 林洋港省主席.jpg Lin Yang-kang
Lín Yánggǎng
June 12, 1978 December 5, 1981 Kuomintang
11 Lee Teng-hui 2004 cropped.jpg Lee Teng-hui
Lǐ Dēnghuī
December 5, 1981 May 20, 1984 Kuomintang
Liu Chao-tien
Liú Zhàotián
May 20, 1984 June 8, 1984 Kuomintang
As acting; Secretary General of the Provincial Government.
12 Encyclopedia of Law by Sanmin Books Chuang-huan Chiu.jpg Chiu Chuang-huan
Qīu Chuànghuàn
June 9, 1984 June 16, 1990 Kuomintang
13 2005KMT NanjingTour LienChan.jpg Lien Chan
Lián Zhàn
June 16, 1990 February 25, 1993[10] Kuomintang
Tu Teh-chi
Tú Déqí
February 27, 1993 March 19, 1993 Kuomintang
As acting; Secretary General of the Provincial Government.
14 James Soong cropped.png James Soong
Sòng Chǔyú
March 20, 1993 December 20, 1994 Kuomintang


Portrait Name
Term of Office Political Party
1 James Soong cropped.png James Soong
Sòng Chǔyú
December 20, 1994 December 21, 1998 Kuomintang

Chairperson of the Provincial Government[edit]

Portrait Name
Term of Office Political Party
15 2008TIBE Day5 Hall1 ActivityCenter1 Shou-po Chao.jpg Chao Shou-po
Sòng Chǔyú
December 21, 1998 May 2, 2000 Kuomintang
Chiang Ching-hsien
Jiāng Qīngxiān
May 2, 2000 May 19, 2000 Independent
As acting; Secretary General of the Provincial Government.
16 Chang Po-ya
Zhāng Bóyă
May 20, 2000 February 1, 2002 Independent
First female chairperson. Concurrently held post of Minister of the Interior.
17 Fan Kuang-chun
Fàn Guāngqún
February 1, 2002 October 7, 2003 Democratic Progressive Party
18 Lin Kuang-hua
Lín Guānghuá
October 13, 2003 January 25, 2006 Democratic Progressive Party
Jeng Peir-fuh (zh)
Zhèng Péifù
January 25, 2006 December 7, 2007 Independent
As acting; Secretary General of the Provincial Government.
19 Lin Hsi-yao.jpg Lin Hsi-yao
Lín Xíyào
December 7, 2007 May 19, 2008 Democratic Progressive Party
Concurrently held post of Minister Without Portfolio.
20 Tsai Hsun-hsiung
Cài Xūnxióng
May 20, 2008 September 10, 2009 Kuomintang
Concurrently held post of Minister Without Portfolio.
21 2008 WiMAX Expo Taipei Executive Yuan Chin-fu Chang.jpg Chang Jin-fu
Zhāng Jìnfú
September 10, 2009 February 26, 2010 Independent
Concurrently held post of Minister Without Portfolio.
22 Lin Junq-tzer.jpg Lin Junq-tzer
Lín Zhèngzé
February 26, 2010 May 20, 2016 Kuomintang
Concurrently held post of Minister Without Portfolio.
23 Shih Jun-ji 20170908.jpg Shih Jun-ji
Shī Jùnjí
May 20, 2016 June 30, 2016 Independent
Concurrently held post of Minister Without Portfolio. Shortest serving chairperson.
24 Hsu Chang-yao (cropped).jpg Hsu Jan-yau
Xǔ Zhangyáo
July 1, 2016 November 5, 2017 Independent
Concurrently holds post of Minister Without Portfolio.
25 Picture of (Wu Ze-cheng, sometimes Wu Tze-cheng) from the website of the Yilan County Government.jpg Wu Tze-cheng
Wú Zéchéng
November 6, 2017 Incumbent Independent
Concurrently holds post of Minister Without Portfolio.

PRC's claims[edit]

The PRC claims the entirety of the island of Taiwan and its surrounding islets, including the Penghu, as parts of its Taiwan Province, corresponding to the ROC's Taiwan Province before the special municipalities were split off. The PRC claims that Taiwan is part of China, that the PRC succeeded the ROC as the sole legitimate authority in all of China upon its founding in 1949, and that therefore Taiwan is part of the PRC.

Sister States/Provinces[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Bush, R. & O'Hanlon, M. (2007). A War Like No Other: The Truth About China's Challenge to America. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-98677-1
  • Bush, R. (2006). Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 0-8157-1290-1
  • Carpenter, T. (2006). America's Coming War with China: A Collision Course over Taiwan. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-6841-1
  • Cole, B. (2006). Taiwan's Security: History and Prospects. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-36581-3
  • Copper, J. (2006). Playing with Fire: The Looming War with China over Taiwan. Praeger Security International General Interest. ISBN 0-275-98888-0
  • Federation of American Scientists et al. (2006). Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning
  • Gill, B. (2007). Rising Star: China's New Security Diplomacy. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 0-8157-3146-9
  • Shirk, S. (2007). China: Fragile Superpower: How China's Internal Politics Could Derail Its Peaceful Rise. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-530609-0
  • Tsang, S. (2006). If China Attacks Taiwan: Military Strategy, Politics and Economics. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-40785-0
  • Tucker, N.B. (2005). Dangerous Strait: the U.S.-Taiwan-China Crisis. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-13564-5


  1. ^ "臺灣省政府功能業務與組織調整暫行條例". lis.ly.gov.tw. 
  2. ^ "Gone with the Times". Taiwan Review. 1 October 1999. 
  3. ^ Davidson, James W. (1903). The Island of Formosa, Past and Present : history, people, resources, and commercial prospects : tea, camphor, sugar, gold, coal, sulphur, economical plants, and other productions. London and New York: Macmillan & co. p. 244. OL 6931635M. During the French war, Liu Ming-chuan had been placed in sole command, responsible only to the central authorities. Under his superintendence, Formosa had been carried safely through the war, and it was now apparent that the exigencies of the times required that the island should be made an independent province, and that officials of high rank and undoubted ability should be henceforth placed in charge of it. Therefore, in 1887, the island was declared by Imperial decree an independent province, and the Imperial Commissioner Liu Ming-chuan was appointed the first governor. 
  4. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 244: "A thorough reorganization and redivisioning of the island was now necessitated. In former days, Formosa comprised one complete prefecture, four districts, and three sub-prefectures. Now the island became a province with four prefectures (Taipeh, Taiwan, Tainan, and Taitung), eleven districts, and three sub-prefectures."
  5. ^ Campbell, William (1915). "Chapter XLIV: A Retrospect and a Forecast". Sketches from Formosa. London: Marshall Brothers. pp. 278–9. OL 7051071M. 
  6. ^ Davidson (1903), pp. 244–5: "As a result of these changes and additions, the seat of government (which had been formerly at the old town of Taiwan-fu in the south, which city had been in turn the capital of the Dutch, Koxinga, and the Chinese,) was now removed temporarily to the new city of Taipeh, which had been lately in course of construction...In connection with this, it is necessary to go further and explain that it was the intention of the government to build a new capital city in the centre of the island near Changwha. Accordingly, the new city was laid out and the construction of official yamens commenced. The name of the new city became Taiwan-fu, or the capital city of Taiwan (Formosa), and it was also to be the seat of a new prefecture called Taiwan [Prefecture]."
  7. ^ adapted from Davidson (1903), p. 244
  8. ^ 「去日本化」「再中國化」:戰後台灣文化重建(1945–1947), Chapter 1. Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine. publisher: 麥田出版社, author: 黃英哲, December 19, 2007
  9. ^ "Shaw Communications". members.shaw.ca. 
  10. ^ 歷任首長 [Past Chiefs]. tpg.gov.tw (in Chinese). Taiwan Provincial Gov't. Retrieved February 22, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Welcome to the Ohio Department of Development". Archived from the original on 2009-06-17. 
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 

External links[edit]