Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion

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Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion
Traditional Chinese 動員戡亂時期臨時條款
Simplified Chinese 动员戡乱时期临时条款

The Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion were a series of constitutional amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of China effective from 1948 to 1991 and amended four times, which established martial law in Taiwan and curtailed civil liberties. The official rationale for the Provisions was the ongoing Chinese Civil War, but with the demise of the Kuomintang single-party system, the Provisions were rescinded.


The current Constitution of the Republic of China was adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of China (ROC) of China in 1947, when China's Nationalist Government was based in Nanjing. Since the conclusion of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1945, China was engulfed in a civil war that pitted the Nationalist Government against the Communist Party of China (CPC). In March 1948, the first National Assembly met in Nanjing, and after some deliberation, decided to invoke Article 174 of the Constitution, "The Procedure for Revising the Constitution".[1] By this authority, on May 10, 1948, the Assembly adopted the first set of Temporary Provisions that was set to expire after three years. In 1949, the Communists expelled the Nationalist Government from mainland China, and Chiang's government set up base in Taipei, Taiwan. In 1954, the National Assembly indefinitely renewed the Temporary Provisions in view of the Kuomintang's plans to recapture the mainland. The Temporary Provisions from then on were amended in accordance with the needs of the President of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek, or his son Chiang Ching Kuo. In 1966, the Temporary Provisions were revised to allow for supplementary elections to the National Assembly from the Taiwan Area. In 1971, the ROC was expelled from the United Nations and replaced with representatives from the People's Republic of China; the Temporary Provisions were amended again the same year.


As history evolved, it became clear that retaking the mainland was more a dream than a real possibility. The National Assembly, on April 22, 1991, resolved to abolish the Temporary Provisions, and on April 30 of the same year, President Lee Teng-hui declared the Period of Communist Rebellion to be terminated as of May 1.[2] The rescinding of the Provisions caused some ambiguity in cross-strait relations and the political status of Taiwan, raising questions such as whether the "Communist rebellion" has "succeeded" and so the PRC government is recognized as legitimate by the ROC, or whether it would be legal now for the CPC to operate in Taiwan.[1]


The Temporary Provisions allowed for the creation of the Taiwan Garrison Command and the National Security Council, both for the purpose of enforcing martial law.[1] The provisions also allowed the President and Vice President of the Republic of China to be exempted from the two-term office limit.[2] Extensive powers given to the president by the Temporary Provisions turned the ROC into a de facto presidential system, where the President also held the post of chairman of the Kuomintang, although the Constitution originally laid out a parliamentary system.[1] Specifically, the provision relating to the president said:[1]

In this Period of Communist Rebellion, for the sake of avoiding the emergent political crisis, and addressing the mammoth economic change, the president is empowered to adopt emergency measures through a resolution of a cabinet meeting of the Executive Yuan. The president's power will not be limited by the regular procedures of Articles 39 and 43 of the constitution.

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  1. ^ a b c d e Feldman, Harvey, ed. (1991). Constitutional Reform and the Future of the Republic of China. Taiwan in the Modern World. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 1, 3–7, 39. ISBN 9780873328807. 
  2. ^ a b "A Pivotal President-- Lee Teng-hui's 12 Years". Taiwan Panorama (Sino). 2000-06-05. 

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