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Man-Houng Lin - Money, Images, and the State:

Taiwanization of the ROC, 1945-2000

As a widely circulated medium through which the state can make its values visible, the images on money circulated in post-war Taiwan reveals almost no “Great China” ideology even that produced between 1946 and 1975, when Chiang Kai-shek ruled over the island. Chiang ordered the Bank of Taiwan to issue the Taiwan Dollar in 1946 and the New Taiwan Dollar in 1949, rather than having a Taiwan branch office of the Central Bank of China circulate the legal tender of the Republic of China. From 1961 onward, a picture of the ROC’s presidential office building in Taipei appeared on banknotes. The images used on money up to 2000, as well as related currency laws, reveal ROC’s Taiwanization. At first, although affected by factors relating to mainland China, this process was heavily driven by the Japanese legacy and American influence; later, it was shaped more by Taiwan’s democratization. Even imperial China’s culture was reinstated and pre-1949 ROC symbols were reproduced; the unification façade of ROC’s Taiwan money image diverges from the diversification façade of that of Imperial China and of pre-1949 ROC.

Keywords: ROC across 1949, currency and state, post-war Taiwan, Japanese colonial legacy, US role, comparison with Imperial China

Man-houng Lin was mostly educated in Taiwan and received her Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University in 1989. Lin has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica since 1990 and Professor at the Department of History, National Taiwan Normal University since 1991. Lin’s main area of research focuses on treaty ports and modern China, native opium of late Qing China, currency crisis and early nineteenth-century China, Taiwanese merchants' overseas economic networks, 1895-1945. She has published 4 books and about 80 papers in Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean in these areas. Her book, China Upside Down: Currency, Society and Ideologies, 1808-1856 (Harvard East Asian Series, 2006) links China's topsy-turvy change from the center of the East Asian order to its modern tragedy with the Latin American Independence Movement. From May 20, 2008 to December 16, 2010, she served as the president of the Republic of China’s Academia Historica (State History Academy). Then, she returned to Academia Sinica to finish her book on Pacificbound: The Rise of the Taiwanese merchants in the Asia-Pacific Commercial Network, 1895-1945. It is in the research of this book that Lin encounters the Taipei Treaty signed in 1952 and its significance to Taiwan.


Vienna Center for Taiwan Studies

Department of East Asian Studies
University of Vienna
AAKH-Campus, Hof 2, Entrance 2.3
Spitalgasse 2
1090 Vienna Austria

Contact: Astrid Lipinsky
T: +43-1-4277-43844
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Lastupdate: 09.08.2017 - 21:57