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The New York Times, May 17, 1901, p.5:|
JAPAN'S COLONY VENTUREFeatures of Her Rule Over the Island of Formosa.
Foreign Enterprise Driven Out and All Trade Resources
Turned to Account of Home Government.
Foreign Correspondence NEW YORK TIMES.
ANPING, Formosa, April 6—Japan is learning in Formosa that it is not all fun and profit to run a colony. How well the lesson may have been impressed is probably known only in the imperial councils at Tokio, which may be regarded also as the sole repository of plans for the future.
The policy of turning to Japanese account all the resources of the Island has so subverted trade conditions previously existing that those who flourished under such conditions naturally view the situation with some bias. Camphor and opium have been taken in hand on Government account, the tea exports are moving toward home channels, there will be little for the foreigners to do in sugar in a few years, and subsidies to a Japanese steamship line have made rivalry in ocean business impossible.
Foreign houses that could maintain branches here in a open field cannot stand competition with a Government, and more than half of them have moved away. The exodus of Chinese capital has been general, in addition to the emigration of fully 50,000 people, whose places have been taken, but not filled, by 20,000 Japanese at an outside estimate, of whom more than half are women.
Although never worked as it might be, Formosa under Chinese control was always a profitable possession. There has been no productive development since the Japanese got it, and the annual deficiency has varied from £300,000 to £700,000. No improvement in this respect is in sight.
Considering all that the Government would do for its people, there is a noteworthy reluctance on the part of Japanese capital to embark in Formosan enterprise. Whether or not faith and investment may come in time, capital seems content just now to let the Government bear all the burdens of development.
The railroad which is to bring the two ends of the island within easy reach of each other by travel, instead of by the tedious and precarious means so far employed, is in course of construction by money voted by the Imperial Diet. It will not be built with the sum appropriated—28,000,000 yen—but it may cost 45,000,000 yen, or approximately £4,500,000. When completed, it will make accessible 230 miles of territory, most of which is not not to be visited by any expeditious means, and it will afford the largest opportunity for practical tests of the storied fertility of Formosan soil for a great variety of products that can be well marketed.
It will be necessary for the Government to provide harbors as well as railways, if there is to be any considerable growth of commerce with the outer world. The roadsteads in which ships must lie that come here for trade are not only always inconvenient to land and often hopelessly out of reach of it in the light-draught boats which alone can go in and are to be trusted only in smooth waters, but they are in the track of the high winds that sweep this coast almost continually, and that shipping men dread least when they have plenty of sea room.
Harbor improvements at Keilung and Tamsui in the north, and at Takow in the south, will cost as much as the railroads.
GOVERNMENT BEHIND A BANK.
Since the financial condition of Japan must make an end before many years of the distribution of subsidies and the extension of help to commercial ventures which have already drawn heavily on the Chinese indemnity and other general funds, a bank has been organized to perform offices which it may soon be impolitic for the Government to undertake directly. It is called the Bank of Formosa, and its avowed purpose is to exploit Formosa, develop trade, and encourage industry. Formosan bonds, which cannot be placed elsewhere, get into the bank, which seems to flourish so well with that kind of security as to force the inference that the general Government is behind it.
The bank in its capacity as a private corporation is of course competent to do all sorts of things. A sugar refining company, floated with its help, has developed, through the same encouraging agency, into tn owner of large tracts of sugar lands. It will thus cultivate the cane as well as prepare it for consumers. The buyers had no intention of paying the prices that the Chinese owners asked for these lands, and the owners found so little chance of holding out on appeal that they took what they could get, and many of them have gone away and taken their money with them. On the mainland, to which they have removed, they are not giving the Japanese a reputation for fair dealing.
Foreign houses that controlled the camphor output in other years established distilling plants at convenient points, which represented to them a charge on capital account amounting to about £50,000. While they are not pretending to have a redressable grievance, when the Government took over the camphor industry, which would entitle them to anything for the loss of good will, which had been a most valuable asset to them in that business, the merchants felt that they had vested rights in the plants which were tangible and obvious and ought not to be ignored. Recognition has not yet come, although the Government is making the 150 per cent. profit on camphor which foreign houses formerly enjoyed.
In view of the Government's good fortune, some adverse comment is heard on the way it operates its contract. All the camphor is pledged to a London banking house at a price which insures the Government a profit of 54 yen, or more than £3 per picul on an annual output of 40,000 piculs. The Londoner might have supposed he had a monopoly on the camphor market, since seven-eighths of the world's production comes from Formosa, had he not since learned that beneath his ground floor there is a basement for a by-product known as camphor oil, not specified in the contract, but from which a Japanese company headed by Baron Yoshi is said to extract from 6,000,000 to 30,000,000 piculs of camphor every year.
Opium was farmed out under the old Government, so that conditions are not essentially different from what they were. Its importation is restricted to Northern ports, as are the exports of camphor, and an effort is made to control its use by license. About 140,000 persons have paid fees to the Government for the privilege of smoking it, being 5.29 per cent. of the population.
TEA FOR AMERICAN USE.
Tea exports, nearly all to the United States, amount in value close to £600,000 per year. There is no other article of export of nearly that value, camphor coming next, with an export value quite 60 per cent. less. Tea promises to continue to hold the lead in spite of large possibilities in sugar, hemp, coal, and rice. The movement of trade by way of Japan instead of through Amoy indicates a tendency which may grow into something much stronger whenever Japan may decide that it is hopeless to look for a foothold in Fukien Province, and therefore that the shipments of Formosan tea heretofore prepared at Amoy may better be made from a port in Japan.
An export duty has already been imposed of 60 sen per picul, equivalent to less than one-quarter cent gold per pound, on all shipments, except in Japanese bottoms, which may carry duty free. Since home subsidies have driven off the only steamship line not Japanese which handled Formosan cargoes, the duty so far is merely nominal.
The ingenuity that has worked for the Japanese alone so far will doubtless be equal to any demands that the future may make upon it in the furtherance of the same policy. There will be no room for foreigners in Formosa when that policy shall have had time to accomplish its logical purposes. It already includes, in addition to the large operations mentioned, or it is about to extend to, small local enterprises in which foreigners were interested, such as an ice house, a rice mill, and a tugboat company.
Formosa threatens to be for the Japanese, with all the accessories pertaining thereto, if only native colonists enough can be induced to come in.
THE MAN IN CHARGE.
The man to whom has been intrusted the administration of the colony, Dr. Goto Shumpei, seems well fitted for his task, both by temperament and ambition. Without previous official experience, he is certainly carrying out what he conceives to be the imperial will with an assiduity betokening a possible willingness to shine at Tokio after he shall have achieved acknowledged greatness at Tamsui. Whatever may have been the possibilities before him in the field of medicine which he originally entered, he is missing no tricks in the game of politics.
An instance of this versatility was furnished at the opening of the new dockyard at Foo-Chow. That day he had Chinese listeners. He devoted himself to them as if their interests had always appealed to him on grounds both of personal sympathy and of national relationship. His speech, as reported, classed the Chinese and Japanese as natural allies, who should join their energies to preserve the Orient from the contaminationof the white-skinned races. He alluded to the common origin of the two peoples, to similarities in their modes of life, in their religions and their aspirations, and he declared that the great contest of the future would be for the supremacy between the white and yellow races. It was alike, the duty and interest of China and Japan, he argued, as nations of the same blood, to unite against the white peril now approaching both lands and to subdue it and drive it back.
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The Republic of China (Nationalist China), Asia, is commonly referred to as Taiwan. The Chinese Nationalist Government moved to the large island of Formosa (located about 100 miles off the southeast coast of China) in 1949, leaving the communists in control of the mainland. The capital is Taipei. The area of Taiwan is about 3,900 square miles (36,000 square kilometers), including 85 smaller islands. The estimated population of Taiwan for July, 2009 is 22,974,347. The official language is Chinese.
In 1895, military defeat forced China to cede Taiwan to Japan. Taiwan reverted to Chinese control after World War II. Following the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949, 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a government using the 1946 constitution drawn up for all of China.
Over the next five decades, the ruling authorities gradually democratized and incorporated the native population within the governing structure. In 2000, Taiwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power from the Nationalist to the Democratic Progressive Party.
Throughout this period, the island prospered and became one of East Asia's economic "Tigers." The dominant political issues continue to be the relationship between Taiwan and China - specifically the question of Taiwan's eventual status - as well as domestic political and economic reform.
CIA World Factbook: Taiwan
Free Books on Taiwan (.pdfs)
The Call of the East... Formosa Fraser 1914
Japanese Rule in Formosa Takekoshi 1907
Formosa Under the Dutch Campbell 1903
The Island of Formosa, 1430-1900 Davidson 1903
The Island of Formosa, Past & Present Davidson 1903
From Far Formosa Mackay 1900
Formosa Clark 1896
An Historical & Geographical Account of Formosa
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