The Kuomintang or Nationalist Party of China (KMT; 中國國民黨 Pinyin: Gúomíndăng, literally the National People's Party), is the party is currently active in the Republic of China on Taiwan. Together with the People First Party, it forms what is popularly known as the pan-blue coalition, favoring Chinese reunification, in opposition to the pan-green coalition, favoring Taiwan independence, which consists of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the Taiwan Solidarity Union. The KMT was the only legal party of the Republic of China until 1991 and the ruling party until the ROC Presidential Election 2000. Thus the ROC was once referred to synonymously with the KMT and as the Nationalist government of China.

Table of contents
1 Early years
2 The Civil War and move to Taiwan
3 Responding to democracy in Taiwan
4 See also
5 External link

Early years

Founded in Guangdong Province on August 25 1912 by Sung Chiao-jen and Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the KMT stems from an anti-monarchy league, the Tongmenghui, as a democratic and moderate socialist party.

It gained a majority in the first national assembly, but in 1913 Yuan Shikai, who was President of the Republic of China as part of an agreement to have the emperor abdicate, dissolved the body and ordered the Kuomintang suppressed.

The party established a government at Guangzhou in 1918 and accepted aid from the USSR. At the party congress in 1924 they adopted Sun's political theory, which included the Three Principles of the People- nationalism, democracy, and the livelihood of the people.

In 1926, following the death of Sun Yat-sen, the new Kuomintang leader General Chiang Kai-shek launched the Northern Expedition against the official government. Halting briefly in Shanghai in 1927 to purge the Communists who had been allied with the KMT, the civil war began.

Kuomintang forces finally took Beijing in 1928 and received diplomatic recognition in the same year. After several military campaigns, the Communists were forced (1934-35) to withdraw from their bases in southern and central China. The Kuomintang continued to attack the Communists, ignoring the Japanese until Manchuria was invaded in 1937. Even after the Japanese invasion at Mukden, the KMT continued to fight the Communists.

The Civil War and move to Taiwan

Full-scale civil war lasted from 1945 to 1949. Chiang Kai-shek ordered his forces to the cities to defend industrialists and financiers, allowing the Communists to move freely through the countryside. Much of the war from 1946-1949 was financed from Taiwan's sugar and rice reserves acquisitioned by the KMT. By the end of 1949 the Communists controlled the mainland. The Kuomintang fled to Taiwan. In 1950 Chiang took office in Taipei under emergency rules which halted democratic processes until the mainland could be recovered. The Republic of China retained China's seat in the United Nations until 1971.

Responding to democracy in Taiwan

In the 1970s, the Kuomintang began to allow for "supplemental elections" on Taiwan to fill the seats of the aging representatives. Although opposition parties were not permitted, dang wai (lit, outside the party) representatives were tolerated. In the 1980s, the Kuomintang focused on transforming itself from a party of a single-party system to one of many in a multi-party democracy, and for "Taiwanizing" itself. With the end of martial law in 1991, the Kuomintang found itself competing against the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwanese elections. The leader of the Kuomintang during the 1990s was Lee Teng-Hui, who angered the People's Republic of China and a significant number of voters on Taiwan with his advocacy of localization, which many associated with Taiwan independence. In order to maintain influence, the Kuomintang was involved in vote buying and black gold, which decreased its support among the Taiwanese middle class.

The Kuomintang faced a split in 1994 which led to the formation of the New Party. This party was effectively destroyed in the legislative elections of 2001.

A much more serious split in the party occurred as a result of the 2000 Presidential election in Taiwan. Upset at the official nomination of Lien Chan as the party's Presidential nominee, supporters of James Soong left the party to form the People First Party. In order to prevent defections to the PFP, Lien moved the party away from Lee's policies of localization and became more favorable toward Chinese reunification. This shift led to Lee's expulsion from the party and the formation of the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

With the party's voters defecting to both the PFP and TSU, the KMT did poorly in the December 2001 legislative elections and lost its position as the largest party in the Legislative Yuan. More recently, the party did well in the 2002 mayoral and council election with Ma Ying-jeou, its candidate for Taipei mayor, winning by a landslide and its candidate for Kaohsuing mayor narrowing losing but doing surprisingly well.

There has been a recent warming of relations between the pan-blue coalition and the Communist Party of China, with prominent members of both the KMT and PFP in active discussions with officials on the Mainland.

As the ruling party on Taiwan, the KMT amassed a vast business empire of banks, investment companies, petrochemical firms, and television and radio stations. Its wealth in the year 2000 was at an estimated US $6.5 billion, making it the richest political party in the world.

On domestic policy, the party is conservative and is a member of the International Democrat Union.

See also

External link