The Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan, is an island of 24 million people about 160km off the coast of China. When the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost mainland China to the Communist Party of China in the Chinese Civil War following World War II, its government relocated to Taiwan. Taiwan became the refuge of those who claimed to represent all of China.
While the government of Taiwan has been democratized over the years, the possibility of Taiwan becoming a truly separate state from China has heightened mainland Chinese military and diplomatic pressure on the islanders. The tension between the two countries colors most of the political life in Taiwan, and attempts at declaring formal independence are continually met with opposition by mainland Chinese authorities.
Despite this tension, Taiwan has survived politically and there has been significant economic growth. The principal city, Taipei, with a population of 2.9 million, is the political, economic and financial center of Taiwan. It has a thriving entertainment scene and commercial and economic growth; it has become a modern international metropolis.
Taiwan is a secular state with freedom of religion. The majority of the population follows a unique blend of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Christian growth has been slow, with an estimated 6% of the islander claiming to follow Christ. Prayer is needed to address nominalism and the great need for more pastors and Bible teachers, including adequate giving levels within the church to support them.