National Geographic : 1969 Jan
would pose a grave threat to Allied efforts in Korea, the United States assumed defense of the island. With increased economic aid from the U. S.-almost $1,500,000,000 over 15 years-President Chiang Kai-shek set out to build a new China on Taiwan. The Nationalists still claim to be the legal government of all China. In their lawmaking body, called the Legislative Yuan, elderly representatives deliberate, but cannot act, on the responsibilities delegated to them when they were elected in provinces of mainland China 20 years ago. Only on Taiwan do the people remain free to elect new provincial representatives. Today, of the 115 countries that maintain diplomatic ties with either of the two Chinas, 67 recognize the Nationalists, 48 the Communists. Helen and I found Tai wan, like so many develop ing nations, torn between the two worlds of transition and tradition. But unlike those that abandon the old to embrace the new, Tai wan embraces both.* Veteran journalist James Wei, who directs the govern ment's information services, explained Taiwan's plans for her future by introducing us to her past. We were on a first-name basis soon after meeting him at Taipei's new National Palace Museum, repository of the largest col lection of Chinese art in the world. "Only here," he told us, moving his hand to encom pass the treasures around us, "do we preserve China's heritage. On the mainland the Communists with their Plastic portholes distinguish the product at the Fair Umbrel la factory, one of 123 manufac turing plants, in Kaohsiung's Export Processing Zone. With in a prescribed area, foreign and Chinese companies enjoy tax exemptions and Taiwan's cheap labor. Imported raw materials enter duty free; finished prod ucts go to export markets. Work shop signs stress the zone's spirit: "Quality fills our rice bowls." Cultural Revolution and their Red Guards are destroying the past. "But we believe that no country can sur vive without respect for the arts. Men died to save these treasures. They were moved across China for decades, buried in caves, carried on sampans, hidden from the Japa nese and then the Communists. More than 240,000 pieces finally reached Taiwan. "They must be preserved at all costs-not only because they stand for 4,000 years of China's evolution, but also because we can learn from them for the future." *See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: "Changing For mosa, Green Island of Refuge," by Frederick Simpich, Jr., March 1957; and "Formosa-Hot Spot of the East," by Frederick G. Vosburgh, February 1950.