T'ai-pei, (台北, pinyin: Táibĕi, old Japanese: Taihoku; population 2,600,543 in 2000), is the provisional capital of the Republic of China on Taiwan. It also was the capital of Taiwan Province until the 1960s when that was moved to Chung-hsing-hsin-ts'un. Administratively in Chinese, "Taipei" can refer to Taipei City, which is a special municipality administered directly under the central government; or Taipei County, which is administered as part of Taiwan Province. This article will focus on the City.
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Founded in the 18th century, Taipei began development only after 1885, when it replaced Tainan as the capital of the Chinese province of Taiwan. Much of the architecture of Taipei dates from the period of Japanese rule including the Presidential Palace which was the former mansion of the Japanese governor and which faces Tokyo.
The current mayor of Taipei is the Kuomintang's Ma Ying-jeou. The office of mayor of Taipei is seen as a stepping stone to higher office, both the
current and previous Presidents of the Republic of China Chen Shui-bian and Lee Teng-hui were former mayors. Until 1994, the mayor of Taipei was an appointed position, but since then it has been elected.
Taipei city has a higher proportion of Mainlanders than as average in Taiwan. This and the fact that the city is highly dependent on commerce and finance which would be disrupted in case of conflict with the People's Republic of China means that the city is somewhat more favorable to Chinese reunification than other areas of Taiwan. Indeed, it was the fact that Chen Shui-bian was able to win the mayorship in 1994, despite this tendency that made him the obvious DPP candidate for President in 2000.