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Social conditions

Taiwan is one of Asia's most prosperous countries with high standards of living, relatively small differences between poor and rich and well-developed healthcare. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of TWN and acronym for Taiwan. The proportion of old people in the population increases every year, which means that the problems increase in terms of care for the elderly and the provision of pensions.

Health care is well developed and accessibility is high, which can partly be explained by the high population density. The number of hospitals has decreased over the years in favor of larger hospitals run by a number of business conglomerates. About a third of hospitals and clinics focus on traditional Chinese (herbal) medicine. In recent years, lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease have become increasingly common in Taiwan, as well as in the western world.

During the period 1965-2000, unemployment never exceeded 3 percent, but thereafter it has varied between 4 and 6 percent. The proportion of employed women is high and in principle equal pay for equal work. At childbirth, all women are entitled to eight weeks of unpaid parental leave.

General health insurance was introduced in 1995 and it covers 96 percent of the population. Occupational injury insurance exists since 1979 and unemployment insurance since 1999. Gradually, various unions were formed, but only in 2000 a central trade union was recognized. Recently, demonstrations have been held with a view to highlighting weaknesses in workers' social protection, which have however improved in recent years.

Society of Taiwan

KMT candidate Lee Teng won the first direct presidential election in the country's history with 54% of the vote. Peng Ming-min from PDP got 21%. Lee declared that he would work for increased international presence of Taiwan through an energetic diplomatic offensive.

In July 1997, Beijing conducted a military demonstration of power off the coast of Taiwan, at the same time as the Hong Kong crown colony was incorporated into China.

In August, the government decided to close its embassy in St. Petersburg. Lucia, after the Caribbean government decided to increase relations with the People's Republic. The breach brought down the number of countries in the world with diplomatic relations with Taiwan to 30. That same month, Prime Minister Lien Chan resigned. He was replaced September 1 by Vincent Siew.

The victory of the independence movements in 12 municipalities in the municipal elections in October 1997 was a clear defeat for the ruling KMT. Except for one of the municipalities, everyone had been under KMT management since 1949.

In April 1998, China and Taiwan decided to resume the direct dialogue that had otherwise been interrupted since 1995.

KMT's victory in the December parliamentary and municipal elections seemed to hinder the possibility of dialogue with Beijing, since the opposition party PDP had a more open nationalist stance. KMT's stronger position in parliament finally enabled the party to adopt reductions in the provincial government.

In the weeks leading up to the 2000 presidential election, Beijing repeatedly said it might be necessary to seize power if Taipei opposed reunification. The statement was a response to election statements from the PDP, which through its candidate Chen Shui-bian had assured that if he won, a referendum would be printed that could determine the island's future status.

However, the interference from mainland China did not benefit KMT, who lost the power over the island for the first time in history on March 18. The victor was PDP (39% of the vote) followed by independent candidate James Soong (37% of the vote) - a former member of KMT who had broken out to form his own party. KMT first came in third, had to settle for 23% and immediately excluded over 50 of its members who were accused of supporting Soong, rather than the party's own candidate Lien Chan.

During the period leading up to the election, Governor Chen had moderated his views, and in one of his first statements after the victory, he now declared that Taiwan was not immediately necessary to declare independently and that he was willing to discuss all issues with Baijing. At the same time, he announced that Tsai Ying-wen would become the person responsible for the negotiations with Beijing. Nevertheless, both Chen and Tsai stated that they were unwilling to negotiate on the basis that Beijing had submitted "a single China".


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