Why Taiwan Matters

Why Taiwan Matters

How a Small Island Will Dictate the Global Future


An urgent, indispensable guide to why Taiwan matters – for China, the West and for everyone’s future

When the bloody Chinese Civil War concluded in 1949 two Chinas were born. Mao's communists won and took China’s Mainland; Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists fled to the island Taiwan. Since then, China and Taiwan have drifted into being separate political and cultural entities.

Taiwan is now a flourishing democracy, has a successful economy – underpinned by a single company producing 85 per cent of the world’s semiconductors: the beating heart of the world economy – and a free, diverse society. For the US and the West, the island is a bastion of freedom against Chinese aggression in the region. And yet China, increasingly bellicose under Xi Jinping, insists Taiwan is part of its territory and must be returned to it. Should China blockade the island and mount an invasion the US may intervene, leading to all-out war pitching the world’s biggest economies and militaries – China and the US – against each other. Taiwan is thus an explosive powder keg in geopolitical terms.

Why Taiwan Matters helps us understand how and why we’ve arrived at this dangerous moment in history – and what we can do to avoid disaster and plot a safe route into the future. With unparalleled access to Taiwan's political leaders and a deep understanding of the country’s history and culture, Professor Kerry Brown provides a new reading of Taiwan, its 23 million people, and how they navigate being caught in this frightening geopolitical standoff. This is the essential book delving into Taiwan’s story, buried behind the headlines, told in an accessible, expert and urgent way.

About the author

Kerry Brown

Kerry Brown is Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College, London. From 2012 to 2015 he was Professor of Chinese Politics and Director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Prior to this he worked at Chatham House from 2006 to 2012, as Senior Fellow and then Head of the Asia Programme. From 1998 to 2005 he worked at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office stationed in Beijing. He is the author of over twenty books on modern Chinese politics and his work has been translated into twelve languages.
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