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Chronological Reasoning and Causation

China Divided: The Status of Taiwan

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Era:

    Contemporary United States (1965 - present)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Comprehension

  • Grade Level:

    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Civil Rights

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    Central New York
    New York State
    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load President Nixon meets with China's Mao Tse-Tung, 1972 in Main Image Viewer
  2. Load Map of Taiwan, 2002 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

This question is based on the accompanying seven documents. It has been created in order to test your ability to work with historical documents. Some of these documents have been edited for the purposes of this question. As you analyze the documents, try to understand the source of the document and any point of view that is presented in the document.

Historical context: In 1912 Dr. Sun Yat-sen and his followers established the Republic of China (ROC), a democratic government, and struggled to unify China under one Nationalist government. In 1921, however, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began with the help of the Soviets. The invasion of the Japanese during World War II further weakened the ROC government and allowed the CCP to begin a civil war on the Mainland. The Communist People's Republic of China was established in Peking (now called Beijing) in 1949. The Republic of China government fled across the Taiwan Strait to Taipei, Taiwan, with Chiang Kai-shek as its leader. Since then, China has been a divided country with two separate governments. At first, the U.S. recognized ROC as the legitimate government of China, but in 1971 the Taiwanese government was expelled from the United Nations in favor of the People's Republic, and eight years later the U.S. also formally recognized the Beijing government. Although the U.S. and the Republic of China on Taiwan no longer have formal diplomatic ties, they continue to have friendly relations and a mutually beneficial economic relationship. The position of Mainland China is that there should be "one China," with the island restored to the People's Republic government. Taiwan continues to assert its independence and its need to be recognized as a sovereign nation that should be admitted to the UN and given diplomatic recognition by other countries.

Task: Using information from the following documents and your own knowledge of history, answer the questions that follow each document in Part A. Your answers to the questions will help you to accomplish the writing assignment given in Part B, in which you will be asked to take a position on Taiwanese inclusion in the United Nations and write a speech that indicates reasons for your position.

PART A Short-Answer Questions

Directions: Read and analyze the documents and answer the short-answer questions in the space provided. Prepare for the reading of the documents by studying the vocabulary definitions that are given before each document.


Using information from the preceding documents and your own knowledge of history, take a position on the matter of admitting Taiwan to the United Nations. Write a persuasive speech that explains your position. Use information from at least four of the preceding documents to support your argument.