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On October 1st 1949 Mao Tse-tung the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and leader of the communist armies proclaimed the Peoples Republic of China It was a hard-fought victory for Mao and the communists a victory which had come after nearly four years of unbridled civil war While the civil war itself was considered to have begun in 1945 there had been intermittent fighting between the two participants the nationalists and the communists for nearly twenty-two years The fighting can be traced back to Chiang Kai-Sheks purging of communists from his Kuomintang nationalist forces and the formation of a nationalist government in Beijing Nationalist military expeditions against the communists soon followed culminating in the communists famous Long March 1934-35 to their strongholds in the northwest province of Shaanxi From here the war continued and as China was being ravaged by the Japanese the communists took advantage and were able to strengthen their position against the weakened forces of the Kuomintang The result was the eventual communist takeover of China in 1949 with the remnants of the Kuomintang forced to withdraw to Taiwan Chinas largest island lying only some one hundred and sixty kilometers off the Asian coast Thus began a lengthy dispute which has lasted some fifty-two years and has evolved into an area of constant debate within the international system The Taiwan question as it has come to be called is of considerable concern within the international system most importantly because it is one of the most pressing dilemmas within the realm of east Asian security Mark Chen and David Tsai of the Taiwan foundation and the center for Taiwan International Relations sum up the Taiwan question in the novel Let Taiwan be Taiwan Their definition contends that The Taiwan question -the issue of whether the island of Taiwan together with associated smaller islands like the Pescadores Is a part of China or an independent entity has remained a thorny
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