Naval War College Review


Bruce Elleman


For years, “one China” has meant two completely different Chinas masquerading as one country—the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan (a.k.a. the Republic of China [ROC]). The PRC is huge, with a population of 1.3 billion, while Taiwan has only twenty-two million people in comparison. There are other differences as well: Taiwan is rich, with a per capita income in 2003 of over $23,000, versus the PRC’s per capita $5,000; Taiwan’s 5 percent unemployment rate is half, its 1 percent poverty rate is a tenth, and its seventy-seven-year life expectancy is five years more than those of the PRC. More importantly, during the past de- cade Taiwan adopted a multiparty democracy, while the PRC has only one legal political party that is holding tightly onto its autocratic powers—the Chinese Communist Party.