A map of Taiwan, showing highland and lowland areas and vegetationLocated around 180 kilometres (110 miles) off the coast of China is the island of Taiwan. Taiwan’s status is complicated: China regards it as Chinese territory, but it has its own independently elected government. The eastern two-thirds of the island is covered by densely forested mountains. The main range is called the Chungyang Shanmo, which runs north to south. Along the east coast the land falls away to the sea in high, dramatic cliffs. In the west are gently rolling plains, on which are situated most of the country’s population and its major cities. Taiwan has a subtropical climate: the weather is warm and humid all year round, cooled by breezes from the ocean. Taiwan lies near the edge of the Pacific Ring of Fire, causing it to experience many earthquakes each year. Most of them are minor and cause little damage.
Taiwan’s official name is the Republic of China (China, itself, is officially called the People’s Republic of China). The Republic of China was established in mainland China in 1912. Following the Chinese Civil War, in 1949 the Communist Party took control of mainland China, founding the People’s Republic of China. The Republic of China (ROC) moved its government to Taiwan. Its rule was limited to Taiwan and surrounding small islands.
Because of its complicated political status, Taiwan uses the name “Chinese Taipei” when it competes in international sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games.
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