The People's Republic of China (PRC) claims the island of Taiwan to be part its territory under its Constitution as the Taiwan Province. It is usually referred to by mainland media as the Taiwan Region or Taiwan Area.
The PRC has never administered Taiwan: the Taiwan Area, including all of the contemporary Taiwan Province, is currently administered by the government of the Republic of China (ROC). However, because the PRC holds the view that it has succeeded the ROC entirely since 1 October 1949, it regards all boundary changes to Taiwan Province made by the ROC after that date (mainly the carving out of several cities as municipalities directly administered by the ROC government) to be illegitimate. As a result, maps published by the PRC (and other sources that adopt the PRC's views) show Taiwan Province in accordance with its pre-1949 boundaries as a part of the PRC, with (for example) Taipei shown as the capital of Taiwan Province, rather than a directly administered municipality.
While the PRC claims Taiwan to be its rightful territory, it recognises that Taiwan is outside its actual territory and does not maintain a shadow government or government-in-exile of Taiwan Province. However, its parliament includes legislators to represent Taiwan, who are elected by a Taiwanese community residing in mainland China. In deference to the PRC's claim, the United Nations for official purposes calls the Taiwan Area "Taiwan, Province of China".
The People's Republic of China was founded in 1949. While by 1950 it had obtained control over most of the territories previously administered by the ROC, it never gained control of an area made up of Taiwan Province and some other islands (together called the "Taiwan Area"). Instead, the Taiwan Area had been administered by the ROC (now commonly known as "Taiwan") since the end of World War II in 1945, continuing through the Chinese Civil War and past the foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
Despite the PRC's claim over Taiwan, the PRC has no provisional or shadow provincial government or provincial governor for Taiwan. The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China is the part of the PRC government that has responsibility over Taiwan-related matters, but it is neither tasked with, nor presented as, a shadow administration for Taiwan. Instead, the ROC government, which actually controls Taiwan Province, is referred to by the PRC as the "Taiwan authorities".
The political status of Taiwan is complex. The PRC considers itself the successor state of the pre-1949 ROC and the sole legitimate government of "China" since its founding on 1 October 1949, and regards Taiwan as a part of an "indivisible China". The ROC government disputes this claim, and is currently recognised by 20 UN member states and the Holy See as the government of "China", although since 1971 it is no longer a member of the United Nations or its suborganisations. Most other countries retain unofficial relations with Taiwan.
The PRC does not recognise any boundary changes made to Taiwan Province by the ROC since 1 October 1949. This means that maps published in the PRC show Taiwan Province with the same boundaries - and provincial capital - as it was in 1949, which is substantially the same as the province proclaimed by the Qing Dynasty in 1885.  This includes the entire island of Taiwan and its surrounding islets, including the Penghu islands.
Until recently, the ROC adopted an analogous practice of depicting mainland administrative boundaries in maps the way they were in 1949, to demonstrate that the ROC did not recognise the PRC government - or any boundary changes enacted by them since 1949 - as legitimate.
The main changes that have been enacted by the ROC since that date have been the excision of several cities on the island of Taiwan to become direct-controlled municipalities on the island of Taiwan. Thus, the elevation of Taipei, Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Taoyuan to Special municipalities has not been recognised by the PRC, and the PRC still regards Taipei as the capital city of Taiwan Province, instead of Zhongxing New Village, which was designated as the capital of Taiwan Province by the ROC.
Taiwan Province (whether disregarding the ROC's post-1949 boundary changes or not) does not include all the territory under the Republic of China's administration. Chinese maps show the islands of Kinmen and Wuqiu, and the Matsu Islands as part of Fujian Province; the Pratas Islands as part of Guangdong Province, and Taiping Island as part of Hainan province. The ROC administers Kinmen, Wuqiu and the Matsu Islands as part of its alternative Fujian Province, and Pratas Islands and Taiping Island under Kaohsiung municipality.
Both the PRC and the ROC claim the Diaoyu Islands or Diaoyutai Islands (Senkaku Islands), administered by Japan, as a part of Taiwan Province.
Although Taiwan Province is not under PRC control, thirteen delegates are elected to represent Taiwan Province to the National People's Congress.
The election of these delegates for Taiwan Province is done in accordance with the Decision (from time to time made) of the relevant Session of relevant National People's Congress of the PRC on the number of deputies to the National People's Congress and the election of the deputies. For example, in 2002 that Decision was as follows:
"For the time being, 13 deputies representing Taiwan Province shall be elected from among people of Taiwan origin in the other provinces, the autonomous regions, and the municipalities directly under the Central Government, and the Chinese People's Liberation Army."
Having regard to the relevant Decision, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress adopts a "Plan for the Consultative Election of Deputies of Taiwan Province to the National People's Congress". The Plan typically provides that "the deputies will be elected in Beijing through consultation from among representatives sent by Taiwan compatriots in these provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government and in the Chinese People's Liberation Army."
In the case of the 2002 election, the Standing Committee noted that there were more than 36,000 "Taiwan compatriots" in the 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government and the central Party, government and army institutions. It was decided that 122 representatives would participate in the conference for election through consultation. The number of representatives was allocated on the basis of the geographic distribution of Taiwan compatriots on the mainland and the standing committees of the people's congresses of the provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government were responsible for making arrangements for the election of the representatives through consultation. The Standing Committee's Plan also provided that the election should be "conducted in a democratic manner".
Since the PRC does not recognise the ROC as legitimate, PRC government and media refers to some ROC government offices and institutions using generic description which does not imply endorsement of the ROC's claim to be a legitimate government of either Taiwan or China. The precise replacements used are not officially designated, therefore, the politically designated names for Taiwan have small variations across different source from within the PRC.
For some cases, where the name does not significantly imply sovereignty, the name remains the same, such as for the Mainland Affairs Council, County and Mayor. Recently, 80 percent of the citizens in Taiwan recognise themselves as Taiwanese, even their great-great-grand-parents are ethnical Chinese.
The PRC's current policy proposal for a future reunification with Taiwan includes a proposal for Taiwan to become a Special Administrative Region (analogous to Hong Kong and Macau today), rather than a province.
In deference to the PRC's position, the United Nations officially refers to the Taiwan Area as "Taiwan, Province of China". This has also meant that "Taiwan, Province of China" appears in the list of ISO 3166-1 country codes. A variant of this name is "Taiwan, China", which is also often seen in other contexts.
While demographic data for Taiwan Province published by the PRC government respects the census figures published by the ROC government for the territory, the PRC government does not recognise the ethnic classifications of Taiwanese Aborigines adopted by the ROC. Instead, the PRC government classifies all Taiwanese Aboriginese as Gaoshan people, one of the 56 recognized ethnicities of China.
In July 2017, Taiwanese crew members of the Malaysian airline AirAsia X were required to change their nationality from Taiwan (TWN) to China (CHN) for any flight flying to and from Mainland China.
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