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Civility and Its DevelopmentThe Experiences of China and Taiwan$
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David C. Schak

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455973

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455973.001.0001

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Civility in Taiwan

Civility in Taiwan

(p.112) 5 Civility in Taiwan
Civility and Its Development

David C. Schak

Hong Kong University Press

The level of civility is much higher in Taiwan and in China, something Chinese visitors to Taiwan readily acknowledge and regard as owing to Taiwan having preserved traditional Chinese culture. However, prior to 1990, Taiwan’s state of civility was similar to that in China. This chapter traces how Taiwan made this transition and argues that it was accompanied by Taiwan’s evolving from a plethora of small, inward-looking communities to a society with a unified identity based on a civil nationalism, a society in itself to a society for itself. This came about through a combination of political struggles, economic development and rural-urban migration, and the self-help movements (zili jiuji) of the 1980s. Manifest changes in civil behavior began with Taiwan’s democratization. Some aspects of the increase in civility, e.g. driver behavior, were helped along by rule enforcement, some by the demonstration effect of a large-scale public philanthropic project, and some simply by people putting into practice what they had been taught in school. Taiwan has high levels of philanthropy and voluntarism an many charity-focused civil society groups

Keywords:   civility in Taiwan, society in itself, society for itself, philanthropy, identity, civil nationalism, political struggles, self-help movements, economic development

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