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Kinmen: Communist China’s Biggest Embarrassment

Though hardly 3 kilometers away from mainland China, Kinmen is a part of Taiwan. The island group was the last stand of the Chinese Nationalists — a position they have yet to relinquish to this day.

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Kinmen is a set of islands of Taiwan 3km from the Chinese mainland. To the north, west, and south is PR China. The main island of Taiwan is an hour’s flight over the sea away.

Little Kinmen is so close to China that you can look over the narrow expanse of water and see the other coastline clearly. I once had a base of operations on the other side in Xiamen. I had an apartment on the beach, and each morning I would wake up and look out at Taiwan.

While Kinmen has traditionally always been inconspicuously referred to in conjunction with Xiamen, it has now become a historical oddity. It was, and still is, the last stand of the Guomindang — the KMT, Sun Yat-sen’s and later on Chiang Kai-shek’s posse who helped overthrow the Qing Dynasty and more or less ruled China as a republic until the Communists gave them the boot.

But what is seldom spoken of is the fact that the Mao-led Chinese communists never fully won their civil war. The Nationalist government that they rose up against fled to Taiwan, leaving the Kinmen islands as the final frontline, where they bunkered down and have yet to be rooted out.

This is why the Taiwan issue burns PR China so bad: it’s probably the People’s Republic’s biggest failure.

Technically speaking, the Chinese Civil War never ended. Officially, at least, the Communists are still at war with the Nationalists. The frontline is still Kinmen, where I should be for the next two months.


Filed under: History, Kinmen, Taiwan

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3688 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: Papa Bay, Hawaii

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  • becida June 26, 2017, 1:10 pm

    You got me curious…what does it cost to rent a place over there for a month?

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    • VagabondJourney June 26, 2017, 8:57 pm

      We pay $199.

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      • becida June 27, 2017, 9:34 am

        Thank you! It’s these little things that keep my dreams up.

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