A main focus of this issue of Orbis is how best to achieve democracy. If any country can claim to have written the primer on this subject, for the years following the Second World War, it is the Republic of China on Taiwan. The ROC on Taiwan, which claims sovereignty over but doesn’t control mainland China, has created a model of political and economic development on the island it does control that today is bailed worldwide by liberals and conservatives alike. In retrospect, the government in Taipei, once much criticized, was astoundingly successful in building a solid social and economic foundution for liberal democracy. Peaceful land reform, universal and compulsory education, a professional government bureaucracy, and disciplined, forward-looking economic plans all contributed to extraordinarily rapid economic growth. At the same time, enlightened government policies helped assure that income distribution was among the most equitable in the developing world. All this made itpossible for the ROC on Taiwan to progress with astonishing speed since the mid-1980s toward a full-fledged democratic system.
Today, the ROC on Taiwan is an industrialized democracy. It can, should, and does claim full membership in the world community of nations. In the following article, the premier of the ROC on Taiwan, Lien Chart, asserts that claim. This is an important article, marking the inauguration of what the ROC on Taiwan expects to be a long and arduous campaign for United Nations membership.