The Republic of Formosa (Chinese: 臺灣民主國; pinyin: Táiwān mínzhǔ guó; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tâi-oân Bîn-chú-kok; literally: 'Democratic State of Taiwan'), was a short-lived republic that existed on the island of Taiwan in 1895 between the formal cession of Taiwan by the Qing Dynasty of China to the Empire of Japan by the Treaty of Shimonoseki and its being taken over by Japanese troops. The Republic was proclaimed on 23 May 1895 and extinguished on 21 October, when the Republican capital Tainan was taken over by the Japanese. Though sometimes claimed as the first Asian republic to have been proclaimed, it was predated by the Lanfang Republic in Borneo, established in 1777, as well as by the Republic of Ezo in Japan, established in 1869.
Republic of Formosa
The island of Taiwan, on which the Republic of Formosa was established in 1895.
|Capital||Taipei (May–June 1895)|
Tainan (June–October 1895)
|Common languages||Taiwanese, Hakka, Formosan languages|
• May 1895 – June 1895
• June 1895 – Oct. 1895
|Liu Yongfu (de facto)|
|Historical era||New Imperialism|
|23 May 1895|
|21 October 1895|
|Today part of||Taiwan|
|Republic of Formosa|
In 1894, China and Japan went to war. In a few months the Japanese defeated China's Beiyang fleet, routed the Chinese armies in Manchuria, and captured Port Arthur and Weihaiwei. Although nearly all the fighting took place in northern China, Japan had important territorial ambitions in southern China. As the war approached its end, the Japanese took steps to ensure that Taiwan would be ceded to Japan under the eventual peace treaty and that they were well placed militarily to occupy the island. In March 1895 peace negotiations between Japan and China opened in the Japanese city of Shimonoseki. Although hostilities in northern China were suspended during these negotiations, Taiwan and the Pescadores were specifically excluded from the scope of the armistice. This exclusion allowed the Japanese to mount a military operation against the Pescadores Islands in March 1895 without imperilling the negotiations. The Pescadores, lying midway between mainland China and Taiwan, were the key to a successful occupation of Taiwan. In a swift campaign in the last week of March the Japanese captured the islands, preventing further Chinese reinforcements from being sent across the Taiwan Strait to Taiwan. This brisk fait accompli influenced the peace negotiations, and the ensuing Treaty of Shimonoseki, concluded on 17 April 1895, duly provided for the cession by China of Taiwan to Japan. On 10 May, Admiral Kabayama Sukenori was appointed the first Japanese governor-general of Taiwan.
When the news of the treaty's contents reached Taiwan, a number of notables from central Taiwan led by Qiu Fengjia decided to resist the transfer of Taiwan to Japanese rule. On 23 May, in Taipei, these men declared independence, proclaiming the establishment of a free and democratic Republic of Formosa. Tang Jingsong, the Qing governor-general of Taiwan, was prevailed upon to become the republic's first President, and his old friend Liu Yongfu, the retired Black Flag Army commander who had become a national hero in China for his victories against the French in northern Vietnam a decade earlier, was invited to serve as Grand General of the Army. Chiu was appointed Grand Commander of Militia, with the power to raise local militia units throughout the island to resist the Japanese. On the Chinese mainland Zhang Zhidong, the powerful governor-general of Liangkiang, tacitly supported the Formosan resistance movement, and the Republicans also appointed Chen Jitong, a disgraced Chinese diplomat who understood European ways of thinking, as the Republic's foreign minister. His job would be to sell the Republic abroad.
The declaration has not been preserved in its original Chinese version, although an English version of it was recorded by the American war correspondent James Wheeler Davidson, who was in Taipei when it was issued. Davidson's version reads as follows:
Official Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Formosa.
The Japanese have affronted China by annexing our territory of Formosa, and the supplications of us, the People of Formosa, at the portals of the Throne have been made in vain. We now learn that the Japanese slaves are about to arrive.
If we suffer this, the land of our hearths and homes will become the land of savages and barbarians, but if we do not suffer it, our condition of comparative weakness will certainly not endure long. Frequent conferences have been held with the Foreign Powers, who all aver that the People of Formosa must establish their independence before the Powers will assist them.
Now therefore we, the People of Formosa, are irrevocably resolved to die before we will serve the enemy. And we have in Council determined to convert the whole island of Formosa into a Republican state, and that the administration of all our State affairs shall be organized and carried on by the deliberations and decisions of Officers publicly elected by us the People. But as in this new enterprise there is needed, as well for the resistance of Japanese aggression as for the organization of the new administration, a man to have chief control, in whom authority shall centre, and by whom the peace of our homesteads shall be assured—therefore, in view of the respect and admiration in which we have long held the Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Tang Ching Sung, we have in Council determined to raise him to the position of President of the Republic.
An official seal has been cut, and on the second day of fifth moon, at the ssu hour [9 a.m. 25 May], it will be publicly presented with all respect by the notables and people of the whole of Formosa. At early dawn on that day, all of us, notables and people, farmers and merchants, artizans and tradesmen, must assemble at the Tuan Fang Meeting House, that we may in grave and solemn manner inaugurate this undertaking
Let there be neither delay nor mistake.
A Declaration of the whole of Formosa.
[Seal in red as follows] An announcement by the whole of Formosa.
Since the island had already been ceded to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Western powers were not in a position to recognize the Republic of Formosa as a legitimate government. Acting under the authority of the new Republic, Chinese troops would be able to resist the Japanese in Taiwan without technically breaching the terms of the treaty, and if they were successful Taiwan could return to Chinese rule at some future date. (In this respect, it was significant that the nominally independent Republic acknowledged the suzerainty of China.) There was therefore little sympathy in Europe for the Republic, despite its impeccably 'Parisian' manifesto.
Although there was considerable unofficial support for the Formosan resistance movement in Peking, the Qing government's official stance was one of punctilious adherence to the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, as considerable diplomatic efforts were then underway to persuade Japan to relinquish the Liaotung Peninsula, which had also been ceded to Japan under the treaty. Japan's rapacity had aroused concern in Europe, and in a diplomatic demarche known as the Triple Intervention, Russia, France and Germany put pressure on the Japanese government in late April 1895 to restore the peninsula to China. On 5 May the Japanese agreed to retrocede the Liaotung Peninsula to China in return for an increased indemnity, but it took until December 1895 to negotiate the necessary treaty amendments, and while the negotiations were in progress Japanese troops remained in place. During this period the empress dowager and her officials were anxious not to offend Japan, and the Qing court therefore formally disavowed the Republican resistance movement in Taiwan. Shortly before the proclamation of the Republic of Formosa, the Qing court ordered Li Ching-fang (李經芳), the nephew and adopted son of China's elder statesman Li Hongzhang, to proceed to Taiwan and transfer sovereignty over the island from China to Japan. It also cabled an imperial edict to Taipei on 20 May, directing Tang Jingsong to order all Qing civil officials and all officers and soldiers to leave Taiwan. Tang himself was ordered to return to Peking.
Spurned by European public opinion and officially disavowed by China, the Republic of Formosa enjoyed only one week of uninterrupted existence. During this time it decked itself out with the conventional trappings of sovereignty. The Republicans adopted a national flag with a yellow tiger on a blue background, ordered a large silver state seal to be made, and began to issue paper money and postage stamps in the name of the Republic. The foreign minister Ch'en Chi-t'ung, who had lived in France for many years, was responsible for crafting much of this republican symbolism.
Premises were found for the republican parliament and the republican ministries in the yamens of the former Qing administration in Taipei. Tang Jingsong, the president of the republic, remained in the palatial Government House he had previously occupied as the Qing governor-general of Formosa. T'ang's cabinet included the heads of the four great ministries of state (war, the navy, home affairs and foreign affairs), who ran their ministries from the large yamens that had previously been the premises of the provincial treasury. The yamens previously used as the headquarters of the Defence Board became Parliament House. The navy department was housed in the old military secretariat.
Knowing that a Japanese landing was imminent, the republican leaders did what little they could in the short time given to them to prepare the island's defenses against invasion. Taiwan in May 1895 was not short of soldiers. Tang Jingsong, in order to hearten the people, exaggerated their numbers considerably, claiming that he had under his command 150,000 soldiers, regulars and volunteers. Judicious observers believed that this figure should be halved. In all, they calculated, there were 75,000 soldiers scattered throughout the island, of whom 50,000 were in the northern half and 25,000 in the southern half. These troops included the regular soldiers of the Qing garrison, local volunteers, and Hakka militia units hastily raised on the orders of Ch'iu Feng-chia.
The Qing garrison of Formosa amounted to around 50,000 soldiers, armed for the most part with modern repeating rifles. Liu Yung-fu commanded around 20,000 men down in the south, around Tainan, while Ch'iu Feng-chia commanded the central garrisons, perhaps another 10,000 men. The 30,000 men of the northern garrisons were under the command of a Chinese admiral named Yang. Local volunteer and Hakka militia units seem to have accounted for a further 25,000 men.
The Republic of Formosa survived for only five months. The Japanese landed near Keelung on the northern coast of Taiwan on 29 May 1895, and in a five-month campaign swept southwards to Tainan. During the night of 4 June, on the news that the Japanese had captured Keelung, President T'ang and General Chiu fled to Tamsui, and from there sailed for the mainland on the evening of 6 June. The Japanese entered Taipei shortly afterwards.
Following T'ang's flight, Liu Yung-fu assumed the mantle of leadership of the Republic in Tainan. He refused to serve as president, however, and stressed instead his role as commander-in-chief of the resistance against the Japanese. The capture of Tainan now became both a political and a military imperative for the Japanese. During the next three months, although their advance was slowed by guerilla activity, the Japanese defeated the Formosan forces whenever they attempted to make a stand. The Japanese victory at Baguashan on 27 August, the largest battle ever fought on Taiwanese soil, doomed the Formosan resistance to an early defeat. The fall of Tainan on 21 October ended organised resistance to Japanese occupation, and inaugurated five decades of Japanese rule in Taiwan.
One of the republic's resistance fighters was Lin Sen, future President of the Republic of China. During World War II, Lin urged the return of Taiwan be included in the Allies' war aims which was accomplished shortly after his death with the Cairo Declaration. There are roads named after him throughout the island.
In spite of the similarities between their names, modern supporters of Taiwan independence who call for the establishment of a Republic of Taiwan are wary of claiming that their own movement owes anything to the example of the 1895 Republic. The reason for this is that Tang Jingsong and his adherents continued to recognise Chinese suzerainty, while modern advocates of a Republic of Taiwan seek political independence from China.
Nitobe Inazō, a former Director of the Bureau of Industries in the Government of Formosa, wrote, "Mr. Tang was elected president and the republic of Formosa lasted three or four months, leaving behind nothing but some post-stamps valuable for collectors."
|Place of Birth||Term of Office||Days|
Táng Jǐngsōng (Mandarin)
Tn̂g Kéng-siông (Taiwanese)
Thòng Kín-chhiùng (Hakka)
|Guilin, Guangxi, China||25 May 1895
|5 June 1895
Liú Yǒngfú (Mandarin)
Lâu Éng-hok (Taiwanese)
Liû Yún-fuk (Hakka)
|Qinzhou, Guangxi, China||5 June 1895
|21 October 1895
In May 1895 a short lived republic was declared in Taiwan...
Denby confirms the statement made that a republican form of government was instituted, and says: "This republic will pass into history as the most short-lived government that ever existed. ......"
There were at that time some Imperial Chinese soldiers still remaining on the island, but on hearing of its cession to Japan they were required to disarm and leave the country. Many did so, but a few remained to oppose our army; and then also there were a few patriots who did not feel ready to accept our terms, not ready to accept an alien rule—and these either left the island or took up arms against us. Since there was now no government, some of the so-called patriots proclaimed a republic, one of the very few republics, (I say one of the very few because this is not the only case —we had a similar instance in Japan), that were started in Asia. Mr. Tang was elected president and the republic of Formosa lasted three or four months, leaving behind nothing but some post-stamps valuable for collectors. At this time the professional brigands took this opportunity of general disturbance to ply their trade. I dare say the peaceful inhabitants of the island suffered more from the hands of their own countrymen, that is, largely from Chinese troops and brigands, than they did from us. Evidence of this lies in the fact that several towns received our army with open arms as a deliverer from robbery and slaughter. Though the island was pacified no one knew what was to happen next. We did not understand the character of the people. Very few Japanese could speak Formosan and fewer Formosans could speak Japanese. There was naturally mutual distrust and suspicion. The bandits abounded everywhere. Under these conditions military rule was the only form of government that could be adopted until better assurance could be obtained of the disposition of the people. For this purpose it was calculated that some ten million yen, I may say five million dollars, was yearly needed for the pacification and government of Formosa.
was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar, the 1895th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 895th year of the 2nd millennium, the 95th year of the 19th century, and the 6th year of the 1890s decade. As of the start of 1895, the Gregorian calendar was
12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.Battle of Baguashan
The Battle of Baguashan (Chinese: 八卦山戰役), the largest battle ever fought on Taiwanese soil, was the pivotal battle of the Japanese invasion of Taiwan. The battle, fought on 27 August 1895 near the city of Changhua in central Taiwan between the invading Japanese army and the forces of the short-lived Republic of Formosa, was a decisive Japanese victory, and doomed the Republic of Formosa to early extinction. The battle was one of the few occasions on which the Formosans were able to deploy artillery against the Japanese.Battle of Changhsing
The Battle of Changhsing (26 November 1895), popularly known in Taiwan as the Battle of the Burning Village was the last set-piece battle during the Japanese invasion of Taiwan. It was fought by Hakka militia and armed civilians against the invading Imperial Japanese Army in Changhsing village (長興村). The battle earned its name from the fact that the entire village was burnt to the ground by the Japanese during their attempts to capture it from the Formosans.Battle of Keelung (1895)
The Battle of Keelung was the first significant engagement of the Japanese invasion of Taiwan (1895) on 2–3 June 1895 when the short lived Republic of Formosa sought to repel the Japanese military forces sent there to occupy the ceded territories, by China's Qing Dynasty, of the Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands to Japan under the April 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki. The treaty was the result of the China's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War.Battle of Yunlin-Chiayi
The Battle of Yunlin-Chiayi was fought in the Yunlin-Chiayi region during the Japanese invasion of Taiwan. It was one of the very few major counter-offensive the Formosan initiated on the Japanese, and possibly the only successful one. Although the Formosan succeeded in recapturing Yunlin, they were eventually driven out in a subsequent series of Japanese assaults on the city.Capitulation of Tainan
The Capitulation of Tainan, on 21 October 1895, was the last act in the Japanese invasion of Taiwan. The capitulation ended the brief existence of the Republic of Formosa and inaugurated the era of Japanese colonial rule in Taiwan.Chen Jitong
Chen Jitong (simplified Chinese: 陈季同; traditional Chinese: 陳季同; pinyin: Chén Jìtòng; 1851–1907), courtesy name Jingru (敬如), also known as Tcheng Ki-tong, was a Chinese diplomat, general and scholar during the late Qing Dynasty. Chen was born in Houguan, in present-day Fuzhou. In 1869 he started to study the French language at the school attached to the Fuzhou shipyard. In 1875 Shen Baozhen sent thirty Chinese students, from the training school attached to the Foochow Arsenal to study shipbuilding and navigation in Europe. In 1876, Chen Jitong was selected to go to Europe and he wrote a book on his impressions after his return to China the following year. He subsequently served on a number of important positions in the Qing foreign service. While serving as a diplomat in France, he wrote several famous works in French, becoming the first Francophone Chinese author.
In 1891, he was dismissed from all official positions and settled in Shanghai. Following China's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War, he served as foreign minister of the short-lived Republic of Formosa.First Philippine Republic
The Philippine Republic (Spanish: República Filipina; Filipino: Repúblikáng Pilipino), more commonly known as the First Philippine Republic or the Malolos Republic, was a nascent revolutionary government in the Philippines. It was formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 21, 1899, in Malolos, Bulacan, and endured until the capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo by the American forces on March 23, 1901, in Palanan, Isabela, which effectively dissolved the First Republic.
The First Philippine Republic was established after the Philippine Revolution against Spanish Empire (1896-1897) and the Spanish–American War between Spain and the United States (1898). Following the American victory at the Battle of Manila Bay, Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines, issued the Philippine Declaration of Independence on June 12, 1898, and established a revolutionary Philippine government. In December 1898, Spain sold the Philippines to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, making the United States formally the Philippines colonial power. The Malolos Constitution establishing the First Philippine Republic was proclaimed the following month. The Philippine–American War began in February 1899, which the Philippine Republic lost.
The Philippine Republic was the first constitutional republic in Asia. Although there were several Asian republics predating the First Philippine Republic for example, the Mahajanapadas of ancient India, the Novgorod Republic, the Lanfang Republic, the Republic of Formosa or the Republic of Ezo, the Republic at Malolos was the first to frame a comprehensive constitution duly approved by a partially elected congress.Japanese invasion of Taiwan (1895)
The Japanese invasion of Taiwan (Chinese and Japanese: 乙未戰爭) (May–October 1895) was a conflict between the Empire of Japan and the armed forces of the short-lived Republic of Formosa following the Qing Dynasty's cession of Taiwan to Japan in April 1895 at the end of the First Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese sought to take control of their new possession, while the Republican forces fought to resist Japanese occupation. The Japanese landed near Keelung on the northern coast of Taiwan on 29 May 1895, and in a five-month campaign swept southwards to Tainan. Although their advance was slowed by guerrilla activity, the Japanese defeated the Formosan forces (a mixture of regular Chinese units and local Hakka militias) whenever they attempted to make a stand. The Japanese victory at Baguashan on 27 August, the largest battle ever fought on Taiwanese soil, doomed the Formosan resistance to an early defeat. The fall of Tainan on 21 October ended organised resistance to Japanese occupation, and inaugurated five decades of Japanese rule in Taiwan.List of archaeological sites in Taiwan
This list of archaeological sites in Taiwan encompasses sites that have either contributed substantially or have the potential to contribute substantially to research regarding people who have lived in Taiwan since prehistoric times. A historical site is not necessarily an archaeological site. A historical site should be included only if actual field work has been conducted at the site.Liu Yongfu
Liu Yongfu (Chinese: 劉永福; pinyin: Liú Yǒngfú; Wade–Giles: Liu Yung-fu; Vietnamese: Lưu Vĩnh Phúc) (1837–1917) was a Chinese soldier of fortune and commander of the celebrated Black Flag Army. Liu won fame as a Chinese patriot fighting against the French Empire in northern Vietnam (Tonkin) in the 1870s and early 1880s. During the Sino-French War (August 1884–April 1885) he established a close friendship with the Chinese statesman and general Tang Jingsong, and in 1895 he helped Tang organise resistance to the Japanese invasion of Taiwan. He succeeded Tang as the second and last leader of the short-lived Republic of Formosa (5 June–21 October 1895).Postage stamps and postal history of Taiwan
This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Taiwan, otherwise known as Formosa, and currently governed by the Republic of China.
The Republic of China comprises the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and other minor islands, which are located off the east coast of mainland China. Neighboring states include the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the north-east, and the Philippines to the south.Republic of Taiwan
Republic of Taiwan may refer to:
Republic of Taiwan (1895), a short-lived republic formally called the Republic of Formosa
a name for Taiwan proposed by the Taiwan independence movementTaiwan (disambiguation)
Taiwan, formally the Republic of China (ROC) or "Chinese Taipei", is a state in East Asia now primarily located on Taiwan Island (Formosa).
Taiwan or Taiwanfu may also refer to:
Taiwan (city) or Taiwanfu, a former name of Tainan, a major city in southeastern Taiwan Island
Taiwan Prefecture or Taiwanfu, a prefecture of the Qing Dynasty between 1684 and 1887, headquartered in present-day Tainan
Taiwanfu River, a former name of the Zengwen, Tainan's major river
Historical states or territories primarily based on Taiwan Island:
Kingdom of Tungning, a Southern Ming stronghold in the early Qing Dynasty
Spanish Formosa, Spanish colonies on the island
Dutch Formosa, a Dutch colony headquartered in present-day Tainan
Republic of Taiwan, better known as the Republic of Formosa, a state that briefly existed in Taiwan in 1895
Taiwan Area, better known as the Free area of the Republic of China, the territory of ROC not lost to the Chinese Communists
Various present-day designations of Taiwan as Chinese territory:
the area covered by the United States' Taiwan Relations Act (the island of Taiwan and the Penghu archipelago, but not the outer islands)
Taiwan Province, Republic of China, a nominal administrative division covering much of Taiwan and the Penghu Islands
"Taiwan Province, People's Republic of China", a political designation reflecting that state's claim of sovereignty
"Taiwan, China", a controversial term presenting Taiwan as part of "China"Tai Wan ("big bay") is the name of several places in Hong Kong, including:
Tai Wan, Hung Hom, an area in Kowloon, which includes Tai Wan Road
Tai Wan, a beach at Tai Long Wan, Sai Kung in the east of the New Territories
Tai Wan, a bay and village on the island of Po ToiTaiwan under Japanese rule
Japanese Taiwan (Japanese: 大日本帝国台湾, Dai-Nippon Teikoku Taiwan) was the period of Taiwan and the Penghu Islands under Japanese rule between 1895 and 1945.
Taiwan became a dependency of Japan in 1895 when the Qing dynasty of China ceded Taiwan Province in the Treaty of Shimonoseki after Japanese victory in the First Sino-Japanese War. The short-lived Republic of Formosa resistance movement was suppressed by Japanese troops and quickly defeated in the Capitulation of Tainan, ending organized resistance to Japanese occupation and inaugurated five decades of Japanese rule. Taiwan was Japan's first overseas colony and can be viewed as the first steps in implementing their "Southern Expansion Doctrine" of the late 19th century. Japanese intentions were to turn Taiwan into a showpiece "model colony" with much effort made to improve the island's economy, public works, industry, cultural Japanization, and to support the necessities of Japanese military aggression in the Asia-Pacific.Japanese rule of Taiwan ended after the surrender of Japan concluded World War II in August 1945, and the territory was placed under the control of the Republic of China (ROC) with the issuing of General Order No. 1. Japan formally renounced rights to Taiwan in the Treaty of San Francisco in April 1952. The experience of Japanese rule, ROC rule and the February 28 massacre of 1947 continues to affect issues such as Taiwan Retrocession Day, national identity, ethnic identity, and the formal Taiwan independence movement.Taiwanese Resistance to the Japanese Invasion (1895)
The Taiwanese Resistance to the Japanese Invasion of 1895 was a conflict between the short-lived Republic of Formosa (Taiwan) and the Empire of Japan. The invasion came shortly after the Qing dynasty's cession of Taiwan to Japan in April 1895 at the end of the First Sino-Japanese War.
The Japanese landed on the northern coast of Taiwan near Keelung on May 29, 1895, and swept southwards to Tainan. Although their advance was slowed by guerrilla activity, the Japanese defeated the Taiwanese forces (a mixture of regular Chinese units and local Hakka militias) in a campaign that lasted only five months. The Japanese victory at Baguashan on August 27 was the largest battle ever fought on Taiwanese soil and doomed the Formosan resistance to an early defeat. The fall of Tainan on the 21 of October ended organized resistance to Japanese occupation, and inaugurated five decades of Japanese rule in Taiwan.Tang Jingsong
Tang Jingsong (Chinese: 唐景崧; Wade–Giles: T'ang Ching-sung; 1841–1903) was a Chinese general and statesman. He commanded the Yunnan Army in the Sino-French War (August 1884–April 1885), and made an important contribution to China's military effort in Tonkin (northern Vietnam) by persuading the Black Flag leader Liu Yongfu to serve under Chinese command. His intelligent, though ultimately unsuccessful, direction of the Siege of Tuyên Quang (November 1884–March 1885) was widely praised. He later became governor of the Chinese province of Taiwan. Following China's cession of Taiwan to Japan at the end of the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) he became president of the short-lived independent country Republic of Formosa (Taiwan).
|Hanyu Pinyin||Táiwān Mínzhǔguó|
|Hokkien POJ||Tâi-oân Bîn-chú-kok|
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|Chinese and Taiwanese personalities|