Taiwan Province, People's Republic of China

The People's Republic of China (PRC) claims the island of Taiwan to be part of its territory under its Constitution as the Taiwan Province. In combination with the Republic of China-controlled Fujian islands, it is usually referred to by mainland media as the Taiwan Region or Taiwan Area.

Taiwan Province

Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese台湾省 (Táiwān Shěng)
 • AbbreviationTW / (pinyin: Tái; Hokkien: Tâi; Hakka: Thòi)
 • Hokkien POJTâi-oân-séng
 • Hakka PFSThòi-vàn-sén or Thòi-vân-sén
Map showing the location of Taiwan Province
Map showing the location of Taiwan Province
Coordinates: 23°42′N 121°00′E / 23.7°N 121.0°E / 23.7; 121.0Coordinates: 23°42′N 121°00′E / 23.7°N 121.0°E / 23.7; 121.0
Named forSee Taiwan
Largest cityNew Taipei
DivisionsSee Boundary change
 • SecretarySee Representation
 • GovernorSee Representation
 • Total35,581 km2 (13,738 sq mi)
Area rank28th
 • Total23,580,000
 • Rankn/a
 • Density660/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
 • Density rankn/a
 • Ethnic compositionHan - 98%
Gaoshan (Aborigines) - 2%
ISO 3166 codeCN-TW
GDP (2018 estimate)[1]CNY 4.2 trillion (n/a)
 • per capitaCNY 177,155 (n/a)
HDI (2015)0.885 (Very high) (n/a)
Taiwan Province
Taiwan (Chinese characters).svg
"Taiwan" in Traditional (top) and Simplified (bottom) Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese台湾
Traditional Chinese臺灣
National Emblem of the People's Republic of China (2).svg
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The PRC has never administered Taiwan: the Taiwan Area, including all of the contemporary Taiwan Province, is administered by the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan). 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 preceding Chinese republic.

While the PRC claims Taiwan to be its rightful territory, it recognises Taiwan is outside its actual territory of control and does not maintain a shadow government or government-in-exile for Taiwan Province. However, its National Congress reserves a position for legislators that represents Taiwan, most of whom are of Taiwanese descent born and resident in mainland China, except for one representative (Lu Li'an [zh]) who was born and grew up in Taiwan. In deference to the PRC's claim, the United Nations for official purposes calls the Taiwan Area "Taiwan, Province of China".

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 14 UN member states and the Holy See as the government of "China",[2] although since 1971 it is no longer a member of the United Nations or its suborganisations.[3] Most other countries retain unofficial bilateral ties with Taiwan via respective de facto embassies.


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 nor 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".[4]

Taiwan Province and Taiwan Area (PRC Perspective)Edit

Despite formal status of a province, the term "Taiwan Province" is now only used in the most formal circumstances such as National People's Congress[citation needed]. In domestic contexts that excludes Hong Kong and Macau, the number of provinces (including autonomous regions, municipalities) is always stated as 31 (Taiwan is discounted). In statistics actually involving Taiwan, "Taiwan Area" is widely used instead.

Note however "Taiwan Area" (as used by PRC) is different from Taiwan Province (as used by PRC): Taiwan Province only includes Taiwan and associated islands such as Penghu and Diaoyu, but "Taiwan Area" (the same as "Taiwan Area" as used by ROC, a.k.a. Free Area of the Republic of China) is all area administered by Taipei includes Fujian islands such as Jinmen, Mazu, as well as (at least in principle) Dongsha (assigned to Kaoshiung by ROC, Guangdong by PRC) and Taiping Islands (assigned to Kaoshiung by ROC, Sansha, Hainan by PRC).

The "Taiwan Area" is treated together with SARs rather than other provinces in statistics. [5]

Boundary changes since 1949Edit

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.

In 2017 Xinhua News Agency issued guidelines mandating no scare quotes for all members of local governments of Taiwan authorities (except Fujian and Lianjiang).[6] Even before this, the practice of not recognizing any boundary changes made to Taiwan is ended. For example, New Taipei is accepted instead of Taipei County, and the merging of Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County is accepted on all maps published by PRC entities. Maps published in PRC do not treat borders between Taiwan Province (Republic of China) and Special Municipalities as provincial borders, but county borders, and often do not mandate a capital for Taiwan at all. The borders between Kinmen and Matsu and rest of Fujian Province are never denoted as provincial borders let alone international.

The official databases of PRC do not show any internal divisions of Taiwan, all of them showing "data not yet available" (this no longer applies to Hong Kong and Macau).

As of 2018, PRC official map service Tianditu treats all six special municipalities as prefecture-level cities, all three provincial cities as county-level cities directly administered by the province, and all 14 county-administered cities as subdistricts under each individual county's jurisdiction.

Administrative subdivisions (Tianditu & Mapping database)[7]
Administrative divisions of Taiwan
ROC (Units) PRC (Units) Divisions
Special municipality 直轄市 Prefecture-level city 地级市 (6) Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei, Taoyuan
Provincial city 省轄市 County-level city 县级市
(Directly administered 直辖)
(3) Chiayi, Hsinchu, Keelung
County County
(Directly administered 直辖)
(11) Changhua County, Chiayi County, Hsinchu County,
Hualien County, Miaoli County, Nantou County, Penghu County,
Pingtung County, Taitung County, Yilan County, Yunlin County
(Special municipalities) District (直轄市)區 District (158 divisions)
Indigenous district 原住民區
(Provincial city) District (省轄市)區 Subdistrict (12 divisions)
County-administered city 縣轄市 (14 divisions)
Urban township Town (38 divisions)
Rural township Township (146 divisions)
Indigenous township 山地鄉
Urban village Community (5,876 divisions)
Rural village Village (1,885 divisions)
Neighborhoods n/a

Other territories administered by the ROCEdit

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. PRC 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 administered Kinmen, Wuqiu and the Matsu Islands as part of its alternative Fujian Province (now disbanded), and Pratas Islands and Taiping Island under Kaohsiung municipality.

Territories claimed to be part of Taiwan Province by both the ROC and PRCEdit

Both the PRC and the ROC claim the Senkaku Islands, called Diaoyu Islands or Diaoyutai Islands via Mandarin Chinese, which are administered by Japan, as a part of Taiwan Province.

Legislative representation in PRCEdit

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.[8] For example, in 2002 that Decision was as follows:[8]

"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."[8]

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".[8]

After the latest election at the 13th National People's Congress, 13 of the Taiwan representatives for the National People's Congress are:[9]

  • Cai Peihui (蔡培輝)
  • Ceng Liqun (曾力群)
  • Chen Jun (陳軍), Amis
  • Chen Yunying (陳雲英), born in Taipei
  • Fu Zhiguan (符之冠)
  • Huang Zhixian (黃志賢), born in Mainland China to a mother from Tainan
  • Liang Zhiqiang (梁志強), born in Mainland China to parents from Miaoli County
  • Liao Haiying (廖海鷹)
  • Lin Qing (林青), born in Taipei
  • Xu Pei (許沛)
  • Zhang Xiaodong (張曉東)
  • Zhang Xiong (張雄)
  • Zou Zhenqiu (鄒振球)

Names used for ROC government, officials, and institutionsEdit

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, so 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,[10][11] County[12] and Mayor.[13]

ROC government bodiesEdit

ROC government officialsEdit

ROC institutionsEdit

ROC eventsEdit

Proposal under hypothetical reunificationEdit

The PRC's current policy proposal for a potential 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.[33][34]

"Taiwan, Province of China" or "Taiwan, China"Edit

In deference to the PRC's position, the United Nations Secretary General has referred to the Taiwan Area as "Taiwan, Province of China".[35] "Taiwan, Province of China" appears as a disputed name in the ISO 3166-1 list of two letter country codes. A variant of this name "Taiwan, China", is seen in other contexts. The FAQ for the ISO list[36] attributes the provincial styling of the area’s name to the UN Bulletin list of country names, which lists the names of countries in the official languages in use by the UN. The UN bulletin[37] does not in fact contain any name for Taiwan, Formosa, or the TW code. The ISO country code for the area is “TW” under ISO 3166-1.[38] Along with Hong Kong and Macao, Taiwan is also included as subdivisions of China in ISO 3166-2:CN as "CN-TW".[39]

Demographic dataEdit

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.

Naming disputesEdit

In July 2017, Taiwanese crew members of the Malaysian airline AirAsia X were required to change their citizenship from Taiwan (TWN) to China (CHN) for any flight flying to and from Mainland China.[40]

Name changeEdit

In 2017 Xinhua News Agency issued guidelines abolishing the term Taiwan Province, People's Republic of China. Although Taiwan would be a traditional province of China, considering the circumstances, Taiwan Area is used instead. This apparently does not include Kinmen and Matsu, which are expressly forbidden to denote as part of Taiwan as being simply incorrect.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". www.imf.org.
  2. ^ Winkler, Sigrid. "Biding Time: The Challenge of Taiwan's International Status | Brookings Institution". Brookings.edu. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  3. ^ Winkler, Sigrid. "Taiwan's UN Dilemma: To Be or Not to Be | Brookings Institution". Brookings.edu. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  4. ^ "The PRC Government website contains numerous references to "Taiwan authorities"". Gov.cn. Archived from the original on 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  5. ^ "截至6月18日24时新型冠状病毒肺炎疫情最新情况 COVID-19 latest situation as of 24:00 June 18 (UTC+8)". nhc.gov.cn. Retrieved 2020-06-19.
  6. ^ a b 靳, 倩倩. "新华社发布新闻报道禁用词". weixin. 广东工业大学大数据战略研究院. Retrieved 4 February 2018.[dead link]
  7. ^ "Tianditu". Tianditu. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d Plan for the Consultative Election of Deputies of Taiwan Province to the Tenth National People's Congress, 2002 (Government of the PRC website)
  9. ^ DeAeth, Duncan (26 February 2018). "Only 2 of 13 deputies for Taiwan in China's Nat. People's Congress are from Taiwan". Taiwan News. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Taiwan' s mainland affairs authority congratulates Macao' s Chui on reelection". Shanghai Daily. 2015-06-18. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  11. ^ "Chinese Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council holds press conference - CCTV News - CCTV.com English". 2014-06-25. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  12. ^ ???. "Lee Teng-hui's Diaoyu Islands remarks reprimanded in Taiwan_News on Taiwan_ENG.TAIWAN.CN". eng.taiwan.cn.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ 张玲 (2014-06-30). "Headline_Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council PRC". Gwytb.gov.cn. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  14. ^ [1] Archived 9 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Truck crashes into Taiwan leader's office building - People's Daily Online". English.peopledaily.com.cn. 2014-01-26. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  16. ^ a b c d "Taiwan's executive body to be reshuffled - Xinhua | English.news.cn". News.xinhuanet.com. 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  17. ^ "Taiwan legislative body reviews no-confidence motion". chinadaily.com.cn. 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  18. ^ "Headline_Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council PRC". Gwytb.gov.cn. 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  19. ^ a b "Taiwan's food safety office opens amid scandals - Xinhua | English.news.cn". News.xinhuanet.com. 2014-10-22. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  20. ^ "Taiwan´s chief lawmaker denies lobbying accusation CCTV News - CNTV English". Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  21. ^ "Candidates register for Taiwan leader election - Xinhua - English.news.cn". news.xinhuanet.com.
  22. ^ Jingya, Zhang. "6.7-magnitude quake jolts Taiwan - CCTV News - CCTV.com English". english.cntv.cn.
  23. ^ "Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou re-elected KMT chairman - People's Daily Online". English.peopledaily.com.cn. 2013-07-21. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  24. ^ "Taiwan's KMT confirms appointments of four vice chairmen - Xinhua | English.news.cn". News.xinhuanet.com. 2014-09-14. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  25. ^ Zhang Jingya. "Taiwan gas leak explosions kill 24, injure over 270 - CCTV News - CCTV.com English". Archived from the original on 2015-07-11. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  26. ^ "Taiwan's chief prosecutor jailed over information leak - Global Times". Globaltimes.cn. 2014-03-21. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  27. ^ "Taiwan demands apology from Philippines for fisherman's death - Xinhua | English.news.cn". News.xinhuanet.com. 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  28. ^ "Mainland's Taiwan affairs chief highlights long-waited trip - Xinhua | English.news.cn". News.xinhuanet.com. 2014-06-25. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  29. ^ ???. "Taiwan punishes officers after celebrity's Apache chopper visit_News on Taiwan_ENG.TAIWAN.CN". eng.taiwan.cn.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  30. ^ 张玲 (2014-08-11). "Headline_Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council PRC". Gwytb.gov.cn. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
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  33. ^ Bush, Richard C. (2019-01-07). "8 key things to notice from Xi Jinping's New Year speech on Taiwan". Brookings. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
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  35. ^ "UN rejects Taiwan membership bid". British Broadcasting Corporation. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  36. ^ "FAQs - Answers to questions relating to codes and names of specific countries". Archived from the original on 2012-06-16. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  37. ^ "W.P. 54 of the 26th Session of UNGEGN, 2011 (UNGEGN list of country names)" (PDF). The United Nations. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  38. ^ "TW - Taiwan (Province of China)". International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  39. ^ "GLOSSARY FOR ISO 3166". International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  40. ^ Strong, Matthew (23 July 2017). "Taiwanese crew at AirAsia X forced to change nationality to Chinese". Taiwan News. Retrieved 24 July 2017.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit