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What Should I Know about Taiwan?

A map of the provinces of China, plus Taiwan.
Taipei is Taiwan's capital city.
Taiwan exports a lot of bananas.
A statue of Chiang Kai Shek, who led Taiwan from 1950 to 1975.
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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Gringos, Chang-Chih Liao, Nikolai Sorokin, Alan Wu
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2014
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October 25 ,  1971 :  The United Nations expelled Taiwan and admitted China.  more...

Taiwan is an island country located near mainland China. Officially part of the Republic of China, Taiwan covers a total surface of 13,823 square miles (35,801 square kilometers), most of which is either mountains or jungle. The climate of the island is marine tropical, which means Taiwan gets a substantial amount of rain year-round. This contributes to the lush vegetation that is typical of the island and that in turn contributes to the area's high humidity.

The capital of Taiwan is Taipei City. Taipei is the country's commercial and cultural center, and one of the most visited metropolis in Asia. The population of Taipei exceeds 2.5 million people in the city limits alone, while the metropolitan area surrounding the center is home to almost double that number. Most of the population of Taiwan is of Han Chinese ethnicity, with a small percentage of Taiwanese aborigines and foreigners residing in the area. Standard Mandarin is the official language of Taiwan, although people speak a local variation at home, mixing Mandarin with Taiwanese. English has become a second language to many people in Taiwan, partly due to the heavy tourism industry.

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Taiwan is governed by its own president and vice-president. The Democratic Progressive Party and other opposition groups are fighting in Taiwan for the country's liberation and eventual independence. Prospective constitutions, flags, and even social standards have been designed for those fighting to promote a free state. Most natural resources in Taiwan have been so heavily exploited that are now close to extinction. Taiwan remains an agricultural-based society, with crops of of rice and bananas leading the economy.

Despite is fame for beautiful landscapes and serene nature, Taiwan has been plagued by environmental problems. Water and land pollution reached endemic levels in the 1990s, and prompted the creation of several laws to push industries to control the amount of debris they produce. This, however, has come too late for some sectors. Rivers, for example, are already heavily contaminated, and garbage is so abundant in the countryside that many popular areas now remain outside the reach of tourists.

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