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The Republic of China was founded in 1912 by Dr. Sun Yat-sen as Asia’s first constitutional democracy. The ROC government relocated to Taiwan when the Chinese Communist Party established the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the Chinese mainland in 1949.

The Taiwan Area: The area over which the ROC government exercises administrative control is called the Taiwan area. This area includes the islands of Taiwan, Penghu (the Pescadores), Kinmen (Quemoy), Matsu, Orchid Island, Green Island, and the Tiaoyutai Islets. Also under ROC government’s jurisdiction are the Spratlys, the Paracels, Macclesfield Bank, and the Pratas Islands.

Location: Taiwan is located in the middle of a chain of islands in the West Pacific stretching from Japan to the Philippines. Taiwan is separated from the southeast coast of China by the Taiwan Strait, which is about 220 kilometres at its widest point and 130 kilometres at its narrowest.

Size: Taiwan is 394 kilometres long and has a maximum width of 144 kilometres. Its area of approximately 36,000 square kilometres (14,000 square miles) is slightly smaller than the Netherlands.

Topography: Taiwan is very mountainous. Five longitudinal mountain ranges occupy almost half of the island and extend 330 kilometres from north to south. Taiwan has more than 200 peaks rising over 3,000 metres above sea level.

Population: As of April 2002, about 22.4 million people were residing in the Taiwan area.

Per Capita GNP: US$12,941 in 2001.

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