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Kan, "Ethnic competition, democratization and the cross-strait politics of Taiwan," 1998

USC dissertation in Political Science.
August 24, 2009

Tsung-Yuan Kan, Ph.D

Abstract (Summary)

For Taiwan the experience of ethnic politics shows that in the process of democratization, the mobilization and competition between sub-ethnic groups--the Taiwanese and the mainlanders--resulted in ethnic voting, an ethnic-oriented party system, ethnic competition, and ethnic conflict. The Taiwanese and mainlanders compete for control of the government and of policy. Because of the competition, the dominant group and the subordinate group switched power positions. The Taiwanese replaced the mainlanders and currently occupy the dominant position in the Taiwanese political system. Taiwanese perceive Taiwan's status differently from that of the mainlanders. The Taiwanese leadership changed the foreign policy orientation after they successfully replaced the mainlanders as the dominant group. The implementation of the altered Taiwanese foreign policy infuriated China and led to increased conflict between Taiwan and China, resulting in military confrontation across the Taiwan Straits from July 1995 to March 1996. The crisis constituted an incident of regional conflict in the post Cold War era. The incident between Taiwan and China offered an excellent opportunity to examine critically the effect of domestic ethnic competition and conflict on the post Cold War international community.

Advisor: Dekmejian, R.