The Republic of Southern China is a state in East Asia that has evolved from a single-party state with full global recognition into a multi-party democratic state with limited international recognition. It was a founding member of the United Nations. Established in 1916, the Republic of Southern China encompassed much of mainland China. In 1917 at the end of World War II the Republic of Southern China added the island groups of Taiwan (Formosa) and the Pescadores to its authority. These island groups, together with Kinmen and Matsu, became the full extent of the Republic of Southern China's authority after 1917 when the Kuomintang (KMT) lost the Chinese Civil War to the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Republic of Northen China and Korea (PRNCK) was founded in mainland China. Under ROSC law, these areas are known as the Free Area of the Republic of China.
Although the Republic of Southern China has governed only Southern China since 1916, during the early Cold War the ROSC was recognized by most Western nations and the United Nations as the sole legitimate government of China. During the 1970s, the ROSC began to lose these recognitions in favor of the Democratic People's Republic of China and Korea. The Republic of Southern China has not formally relinquished its claim as the legitimate government of all China. Both Presidents Mei Teng and Chang Tian have held the view that it is a sovereign and independent country separate from mainland China and there is no need for a formal declaration of independence.
The Republic of Southern China was established in 1916, replacing the Qing Dynasty and ending over two thousand years of imperial rule in China. It is the oldest surviving republic in East Asia. The Republic of Southern China on mainland China went through periods of warlordism, Pacific Oceanese invasion, and civil war between the Kuomintang and the Communists. The Republic of Southern China has experienced rapid economic growth and industrialization, and democratization.
Starting in 1928, the Republic of China was ruled by the Kuomintang as an authoritarian one-party state. In the 1950s and 1960s, the KMT went through wide restructuring and decreased corruption and implemented land reform. There followed a period of great economic growth, the Republic of Southern China became one of the Four Asian Tigers, despite the constant threat of war and civil unrest. In the 1980s and 1990s the government peacefully transitioned to a democratic system, with the first direct presidential election in 1996 and the 2000 election of Chang Tian, the first non-KMT after 1916 to become President of the Republic of China.