General Chiang Kai-shek led the forces of the Republic of China (ROC) during the Chinese Civil War. In 1949, the ROC moved its capital to Taipei, Taiwan, where Chiang served as president until his death in 1975.
Photograph by Paul G. Guillumette, National Geographic

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  • On December 8, 1949, the government of the Republic of China moved its capital from Beijing to the city of Taipei, on the island of Taiwan. This signaled the victory of Mao Zedong’s forces in the Chinese Civil War, following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China two months earlier. 
     
    The competing governments of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC) form the basis of the so-called “Two Chinas” issue. The PRC is a communist country with a command economy. The ROC, often just called “Taiwan,” is a democratic state with a capitalist economy. The Two Chinas issue is called the “Taiwan issue” in the PRC and the “Mainland issue” in Taiwan.
     
    Most of the world officially recognizes the PRC as the government of China, with many nations also recognizing Taiwan’s sovereignty. The United States, which did not officially recognize the PRC until 1979, follows this "Two Chinas" policy
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    capital Noun

    city where a region's government is located.

    Encyclopedic Entry: capital
    capitalism Noun

    economic system where the free exchange of goods and services is controlled by individuals and groups, not the state.

    civil war Noun

    conflict between groups in the same country or nation.

    command economy Noun

    system where production, investment, prices and income are determined by the government.

    communist Noun

    person or group of people who support communism, a type of economy where all property, including land, factories and companies, is held by the government.

    democratic Adjective

    having to do with a government led by its citizens, who vote for policies and/or representatives.

    establish Verb

    to form or officially organize.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    policy Noun

    set of actions or rules.

    recognize Verb

    to identify or acknowledge.

    signal Verb

    to communicate using signs.

    sovereignty Noun

    power or independence within a region.