Saturday, February 03, 2007

Moving the Capital

The Taipei Times reported on a small but growing push to move the capital out of northern Taiwan.

The idea of relocating the capital from Taipei has received a warm response from local authorities, with Taichung, Chiayi, Chiayi County, Kaohsiung and Kaohsiung County all showing a high degree of interest.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said recently that the government would begin studying the possibility of relocating some government agencies, such as the Council of Labor Affairs and the Council of Agriculture, to better serve people in southern Taiwan before considering relocating the capital.

A number of pro-independence groups in Kaohsiung have urged the Ministry of Education and the Council for Cultural Affairs to move to Tainan, where they said Taiwan's traditional culture and rites were well preserved.

The groups argued that it was very important for the two government agencies to be relocated to in Tainan, which they called the historical home of Taiwan's culture, in order to preserve the nation's unique culture and traditions.

According to these groups, most of the bureaucrats at government agencies in Taipei have a Chinese mindset and the city has long been besieged by Chinese influences.

They argued that firmly establishing a government focused on Taiwan after more than 50 years of Chinese rule should be a major campaign issue in the coming elections.

The comments in the last two paragraphs address the issue that the north of Taiwan tends to be more pro-KMT and pro-China than the rest of the island, while the south is strongly pro-independence. Tainan was the traditional capital of the island from the 17th century until Taipei was laid out in the late 19th century and the capital moved there. It would be a good choice in some ways, given its long history and many historic sites, but Tainan's infrastructure lags. On the other hand, moving the capital there might make it more difficult to seize the political center of the island with a sudden assault.


Big Ell said...

Wouldn't this cost heaps of money? I understand the politics behind this but I can't imagine that it would be cheap. Plus, Taipei is really the only truly international city in Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

Tainan is an open harbor right? At least that's how Coxinga conquered Taiwan during a surprise attack at night from sea. I will say it is an easier target then Taipei. I do understand the political implication behind the move though.