A fertile plain that holds the majority of Taiwans population and agricultural activity can be found to the west of the mountain range, where all kinds of pollution and the buildup of garbage cause more environmental problems. This is the region that faces the biggest threat from industrialization and urbanization, where metropolitan cities like Kaohsiung and Taipei struggle with dangerous air, noise, and water pollution levels. The disposal of wastes both solid and toxic remains a problem.
The amount of garbage each member of the 23,305,021+ population produces equals about two and a half pounds a day, a number that stretches the capacity of the environment to absorb the waste safely to the limit. The islets outlying Taiwan have long been considered to potentially be the most suitable dumpsite for nuclear waste, and places like Lan Yu, aka Orchid Island, faces very real and immediate environmental threats. With all of the pollution, Taiwan is one of the largest carbon emitters in the world.
However, they refuse to pass the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GHGRA). In an attempt to protect the nature and wildlife of the country, Taiwan passed the National Park Law of the Republic of China. A total of eight wildlife parks have been established, the oldest being the Kenting National Park on the southern tip of the island; Kenting is famous for its visiting migratory birds and its tropical coral reef. The Kinmen National Park, located on an island just off the coast of mainland China, is famous for its historical battlefields and wetland ecosystem.
The home of East Asias second-tallest mountain, Hsuehshan, aka Snow Mountain, can be found in Shei-Pa National Park in the central northern area of the country. Taroko National Park attracts visitors with its incredible marble gorge cut by the Li-Wu River, creating what has been called the most astounding landscape in the world. The smallest and most northern of these national parks is Yangmingshan, which has a volcanic landform, bringing people to visit its famous hot springs.
Adversely, the largest national park is Yushan in the central part of the island, home to Jade Mountain, which is the highest peak in all of East Asia. The first oceanic national park is Dongsha Marine which is not located on the island, and due to its strict protection is not open to public tourism. The newest of these protected areas of Taiwan is Taijiang National Park, located in the southwest on the coast of Tainan. The coastal landscape and rich marine life are its most distinctive features. These parks create a total of 2,761 square miles of protected land, constituting more than 8. % of the Republics entire land area. With warm, humid summers and cold, rainy winters, Taiwan doesnt get much snowfall except at higher elevations. The average summer highs are between 89 to 100 degrees F, and winter lows range from 54 to 64 degrees F. In southern Taiwan most rainfall occurs during summer. The island is known to get typhoons between June and October and is subject to small earthquakes every year. Chinese immigration in Taiwan began as early as the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). The Dutch took control of the island in 1628.
In 1683 it was conquered by the Manchus of mainland China and made a province of China. After the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 it was ceded to Japan, and stayed under Japanese rule until 1945. While forces on mainland China battled for control of Chinas government, a successful revolution inspired by Sun Yat-sen founded the Republic of China (ROC) in 1912, but the new government was overshadowed by the activities of contending warlords. Suns Nationalist, or Kuomintang (KMT), political movement was led by General Chiang Kai-shek after Sun died in 1925.
Chiang battled the communist forces of Mao Zedong, until both forces had to defend against the Japanese in 1937-1945, after which the civil war continued. Maos growing army forced Chiangs troops to flee to Taiwan, where Nationalists expected to regroup before they returned to mainland. Return proved impossible, however, so Chiang declared the KMT as the government of all of China. The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) planned to invade the island in 1950, but they were blocked by the US. In 1954 an agreement was signed by the United States to protect Taiwan if they were attacked by the mainland.
However, the PRC was admitted to the United Nations in place of Taiwan in 1971, and in 1975 the US broke diplomatic relations with the ROC and normalized them with the PRC, but US-Taiwan relations continued on an unofficial basis. The KMT ruled Taiwan as a one-party state under martial law. The National Assembly members who took office in 1946 held power on the mainland until the late 1980s, when lifetime legislators were replaced by local representatives. Chiang Kai-shek dies in 1975 and was succeed by his son Chiang Ching-Kuo. Taiwan took efforts toward modernization and son developed a thriving economy.
Martial law was lifted in 1987, and a multiparty democracy began to emerge. Lee Teng-hui of the KMT was elected the first native Taiwanese president in 1990 by the National Assembly, and in 1996 became Taiwans first directly elected president. With Taiwans new strength, more and more people called for independence. Much of the population didnt want unification with China, and saw the island as a separate identity. China, of course, opposes this and warned Taiwan against declaring their independence by using military movement and the treat of invasion.
Many pro-independence politicians won local offices in 1997 and Taiwan dismantled its provincial government, which was a symbol of Taiwans status as a province in China. Chen Shui-ban of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was elected president in 2000, and reelected in 2004, ending fifty years of rule by the KMT. The dominant political issue in Taiwan today is still its relationship with the PRC. Taiwanese leaders choose dialogue over confrontation with China, although relations between the countries are strained.
In Taiwan, holidays and festivals are often grouped into two categories, those associated with the Chinese lunar calendar and those associated with the western calendar. The lunar festivals are tied closely with Taiwans past, and to the people they are a time for remembering cultural origins. The most popular of the lunar festivals are the Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, and Lantern Festival; all of which are symbolic of getting rid of the old and bringing in the new. The Dragon Boat Festival, during which is for warding off evil and strengthening the body. The Ghost Festival, when underworld outcasts are given salvation.
The Mid-Autumn Festival, a celebration of the unity of mankind and the full moon. And the Double Ninth Festival, to remember the elders. Official holidays are commemorative and mainly based on the achievement of the people. Theyre celebrated to remember events that were important during the development of the nation. Some of these are the Founding Day, 228 Memorial Day, Womens Day, Teachers Day, Childrens Day, Tomb Sweeping Day, Armed Forces Day, and days that commemorate decisive events of Taiwans history like Double Tenth National Day, Constitution Day, and Retrocession Day. 28 Memorial Day remembers the February 28 Incident that happened in 1947. Teachers Day, while celebrating all teachers, is held on Confuciuss birthday to honor the foremost teacher in Chinese history. Tomb Sweeping Day is associated with the Chinese respect for filial piety and the custom of ancestor worship; since ancient times a day has been dedicated for sweeping the tombs, usually around the time of Ching Ming (a traditional solar division in early April). Retrocession Day is held to remember the time when Taiwan was under foreign rule, and to cherish the accomplishments the nation has made.
Double Tenth National Day on October 10th commemorates the Wuchang Uprising in 1911, the result of which was the foundation of the Republic of China; Asias first democracy. Freedom of religion is guaranteed to the citizens of Taiwan, which is illustrated by the current thirteen registered religions on the island: Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Hsuan-yuan Chiao, Islam, Li-ism, Tenrikyo, Bahai, Tienti Teachings, Tien Te Chiao, I-Kuan Tao, and Mahikarikyo. Taoism and Buddhism are the most widely practiced of the nations religions, with a combined total of about 9. million followers. Nearly 4. 9 million people in Taiwan practice Buddhism, making it the most popular of the religions in the country. Buddhism was introduced to Taiwan in the late 16th century, and there are many temples on the island. 4. 5 million people are followers of Taoism, making it a close second to Buddhism. The Taoist religion evolved from Lao Tzus philosophy, who lived during 6th Century BC. The main idea of this religion is the idea of fulfillment of divinity. The Ministry of Education of the Republic of China is responsible for the educational system of the nation.
The system is often criticized for excessively pressuring their students, but produces some of the highest test scores in the world. Under the system in place right now, students can study for up to 22 years; 2 years of preschool, 6 years of primary school, 3 years of junior high, 3 years of senior high, 4-7 of college/university, 1-4 to study for a masters degree, and 2-7 for a doctoral degree. In 1968, a 9-year Compulsory Education system was put into effect, causing students to attend school until at least the age of 15, when they finish junior high.
In 2014, the 9-year system will be extended to twelve. Senior high schools include ordinary, comprehensive, magnet, and experimental schools. Vocational high schools offer special curriculums, in which students can take classes in practical skills, industry-related subjects, and cooperative education programs all designed for the differing needs of the students. In Taiwan, students have to take national exams to get into schools past the compulsory 9-years and to join the workforce.
The large emphasis on education in the nation has been given the blame by many for the number of Taiwanese adults who need to wear eyeglasses (85-90 percent). Many students travel abroad for higher education. Taiwan is often said to be home to some of the strangest foods one can find, but also some of the best. Taiwanese food holds a lot of influence from the Indigenous people of the nation, but reflects the nations roots in China, with influences from the Chinese provinces of Fuijian, Fuzhou, Chaozhou, and Guangdong, just to name a few.
The flavors of Taiwan also illustrate the half-century of Japanese rule that the island experienced. Most of the dishes are cooked by sauteing or stir-frying, in order to preserve the nutrition and freshness of the foods. The most popular foods are noodles, seafood, chicken, soy, rice, pork, and soup. Taiwan is rather vegetarian-friendly, due in large part to the high number of Buddhists and member of other syncretistic religions.
Soy and tofu play a big role in common meals in Taiwan, such as A widely popular drink around the world that originated in Taiwan is bubble tea, which is a mixture of cold or hot tea, milk, and various other flavorings. The term bubble refers to the black tapioca gummy balls at the bottom of the cup, usually called boba or pearls. The original bubble tea was made of hot Taiwanese black tea, honey, condensed milk, and tapioca pearls; now there are several types of bubbles tea that are divided into the two basic categories of fruit- and milk-flavored teas.