Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Taiwan - Welcome to Kinmen

Welcome to Kinmen.

Sent by Wei-Chi, a postcrosser from Taiwan.

This is from Wikipedia : Kinmen (金門), also known as Quemoy, is a small archipelago of several islands administered by the Republic of China (Taiwan): Greater Kinmen (大金門), Lesser Kinmen, and some islets. Administratively, it is Kinmen County of Fukien Province, ROC. The county is claimed as part of Fujian's Quanzhou Prefecture by the People's Republic of China (PRC). Some islands of other counties, such as Wuchiu, were transferred to the jurisdiction of Kinmen County by the ROC government following its civil war defeat and retreat to Taiwan. Matsu is the other set of islands on the Fujian coast controlled by the ROC.

Many of the county's inhabitants speak Hokkien. Due to their previous political isolation, most residents will say they speak "Kinmenese", as opposed to "Taiwanese" as it is commonly called in Taiwan, though the two dialects are mutually intelligible. It is geographically very near Xiamen, no more than 2 kilometers. The residents of Wuchiu Township speak Puxian Min, as opposed to Hokkien for the rest of Kinmen.

Unlike the island of Taiwan and the Penghu islands, Kinmen was never ceded to Japan, because Kinmen was, and still is considered to be a part of Fujian province, both to the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China, though Kinmen was occupied by Japan from 1937 to 1945.

The island was the site of extensive shelling between PRC and ROC forces during the first and Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, being also a major issue in the 1960 United States Presidential Election between Kennedy and Nixon. In the 1950s, the United States threatened to use nuclear weapons against the PRC if it attacked the island.

Kinmen was originally a military reserve. The island was returned to the civilian government in the mid-1990s, after which travel to and from it was allowed. Direct travel between mainland China and Kinmen was opened in 2002, and there has been extensive tourism development on the island in anticipation of mainland tourists. Direct travel was suspended in 2003 as a result of the SARS outbreak, but has since resumed.

Many Taiwanese businesspeople use the link through Kinmen to enter the Chinese Mainland as it is seen as cheaper and easier than entering through Hong Kong. However, this changed following the 2005 Pan-Blue visits to mainland China and the presidential and legislative victories of the KMT, that allowed easier Cross-Strait relations. Kinmen has experienced a considerable economic boom as businesspeople relocate to the island for easier access to the vast markets of the People's Republic of China.

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