The first recorded contact between China and Taiwan occurred in 239 CE when the Chinese emperor sent a 10,000-man mission to Taiwan to explore the island.

The early Chinese settlers were in danger of raids by aboriginal peoples, who practiced head-hunting and coveted Chinese heads—possession of which demonstrated a sign of manhood and their qualifications for marriage.

Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.

Benjamin Disraeli

In late 1949 Mao Zedong’s communist armies defeated the Kuomintang, on the mainland causing Chiang Kai-shekand his forces to flee to Taiwan.


In December 1978 U.S. Pres. Jimmy Carter announced without prior warning that the U.S. would end its formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan and normalize relations with mainland China. His move was a severe shock to Taiwan, and many of its people felt betrayed and angry. Moreover, the move led other countries to rush to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of those with the mainland, thus further increasing Taiwan’s political isolation.

As a visitor to Taiwan any tension between China and the Island seems far away. Many Taiwanese travel to China and some have business interests on the mainland. Recently China said it would stop granting individual citizens permission to travel to Taiwan, citing “the current state of cross-strait relations”.

It is the latest escalation in what analysts say is Beijing’s broader campaign to pressure Taiwanese voters in the lead-up to next year’s (2020) presidential election.

We took one of those $99 shopping tours after our trip to China which afforded us a trip around the island. While the savings were obvious I would not have gone on this tour if it was up to me. In any case we tried to make the best of it but the dearth of photographs tell the tale.