An amazing transformation happened in Taiwan during the nineteen years between the two Billy Graham crusades there (January, 1956, and October, 1975). Where narrow, squatter-hut-lined streets once ran, wide, now tree-lined avenues with high-rise office and apartment buildings fan out from the modern international airport. The pedicab and bicycle have long since been replaced by a staggering—some might say “suicidal”—fleet of taxis and motorcycles. The burgeoning population of the city of Taipei is over two million, while the total population of the island grew from just over ten million in 1956 to more than sixteen million in 1975. This population is two-thirds that of Canada and four times that of Norway. But Taiwan has only 14,300 square miles to Norway’s 125,000 and Canada’s 3,852,000.
In accord with the Cairo Declaration signed by Roosevelt, Churchill, and Chiang Kai-shek in 1943, Taiwan was restored to Chinese sovereignty on October 25, 1945. Thus ended fifty years of colonial rule by Japan. It was after 1949, when the mainland of China fell to the Communists and the Nationalist government retreated to Taiwan, that the groundwork was laid for Taiwan’s miraculous transformation. Then, under the enlightened leadership of the provincial governor, Chen Cheng, a very successful land-to-tiller program was inaugurated. This program has since become a model for other Third World countries. Today, 88 per cent of Taiwan’s arable land belongs to the farmers, who till their own fields. Production for the rice farmer is now 65 per cent above what his father got per hectare thirty years ago. Other agricultural products that Taiwan has successfully developed include sugar cane, bananas, pineapples, asparagus, and mushrooms. In 1974 ...1
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