When Chiang Ching-kuo (CCK) became president of Taiwan in 1978, the political future and freedom of the country took a sharp turn from its previous existence. Taiwan had fallen under martial law provisions in 1948 , and since that time, it had been under the cruel rule of the Republic of China. From the very beginning, CCK was opposed to China's harsh rule, and set out almost immediately to follows Sun Yat-sen's plan to enter into a democracy. As CCK stated on Constitution Day in 1973: "In the first 36 years our nation suffered internal rebellion and external invasion, yet in the midst of blood and tears we still bravely persisted in moving from military rule, through tutelage, into the stage of constitutional rule." CCK's 1986 reforms sprung forward from this belief while turning the country away from being despotically ruled, and towards the Kuomintang's (KMT) ideology of "constitutional government and democracy." His first move was to eliminate the martial law imposed by China. After this initial break from the mainland, Taiwan began its ascent from tyranny to democracy. The factors which helped lead towards this democratization are very straightforward: .
First, Taiwan had reached a socioeconomic level that fulfilled the precondition for democracy; e.g., high per-capita income Second the lack of landlords and big capitalists and the cross-cutting nature of political and economic cleavages. Third, the regime's constitutionalist and prodemoecratic ideology, strong liberal-technocrat faction, deep roots in society, and substantial legitimacy and organizational strength facilitated reform. Foruth the importance of elections and the pressure from a maturing opposition in encouraging the KMT to reform. .
Taiwan's strong footing in many areas certainly helped push it in the direction of democracy, but could all of these conditions have been in place if it were not for the help of CCK and the KMT? Andrew J.