It is a 10-year compulsory and free school for anyone ages 6 to 16. According to Bridgat, there are different types of high schools, general vocational and vocational schools, which offer 3-year study programs. There are also a number of private schools. Higher education is offered at the country’s 135 universities and colleges.
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The technocrats began to insist on the need for a more open political system to compete. At the same time, KMT went through an internal crisis because the old political leaders could hardly cling to power any longer.
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In this changed political situation, the social movements swelled. There were groups protesting against pollution and nuclear energy, farmers demanding higher prices and students demanding greater academic freedom and respect for human rights.
A significant part of the opposition began to question both KMT’s authoritarian policy and Taipei and Beijing’s joint thesis on “a single China”. Deng Xiaoping had reconciledly termed it as “a nation, two systems,” by which he believed that after Taiwan’s incorporation into China, the island would be able to continue its capitalist social model in the same way as Hong Kong.
In September 1986, the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), the first opposition party, challenged KMT’s total political hegemony. Although founded illegally, it was allowed to survive.
On July 15, 1987, the state of emergency was removed. The academic activity increased and strong independence groups developed within the academic system. They formed parallel political structures such as the Workers ‘Party and the Workers’ Party.
In December 1989 elections were held. KMT got 53% of the vote against 38% for the PDP, who at the same time won the mayor post in the capital Taipei.
While KMT continued to categorically oppose independence, members of the PDP formed the New Flow that advocated for autonomy. Other groups demanded self-determination and the conduct of a referendum on the issue.
In the election to the National Assembly in December 1991, KMT won a new victory over PDP. The latter favored final separation from China and gained 21% of the vote while KMT got 71%. Despite the official interruption of diplomatic relations, the US government, under George Bush, sold 150 F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. A decision condemned by Beijing.
From 1994, the demand for independence for Taiwan became increasingly open and the need to abandon the illusion of being a government of all Chinese was needed. But Beijing is categorically opposed to any move that could bring the island closer to independence, and Taiwan’s approach to the United Nations was therefore unsuccessful this time too.
In December, the first municipal elections were held with the participation of several parties. As in the general elections, voters voted predominantly on KMT and PDP. Despite protests from environmental activists and militant nuclear opponents as well as the PDP’s opposition, KMT decided to approve the building of the country’s 4th nuclear power plant.
In 1995, economic relations with Beijing were strengthened. Taiwan had so far invested about $ 22 billion in the People’s Republic, thus being the second largest “foreign” investor – after Hong Kong. Still, the political climate between the two countries worsened after a private visit by Taiwanese President Lee Teng to the United States in June. Despite warnings from the US, in July and August, China conducted a series of naval drills and missile testing in the waters 140 km from Taiwan.
Despite voting declines in the previous parliamentary elections, KMT gained 46% of the vote in December, against 33% for the PDP. During the campaign leading up to the March 1996 presidential election, China conducted new naval exercises near the shores of Taiwan, prompting the United States to send warships in defense of Taiwan against the suspected threat.