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Taoping (Hanzi: 道平国; pinyin: Dàopíngguó), officially the Taopinese Empire (Hanzi: 道平帝国; pinyin: Dàopínghuá Dìguó), is an island micronation in East Asia, constituting the Diaoyutai Islands. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies in the East China Sea. Neighbouring states include the Republic of China to the south, People's Republic of China to the west and Japan to the east and northeast.
"Benefit the Enlightened Path"
Imperial Patriotic Song
|Recognised regional languages||Hokkien|
|Ethnic groups||>98% Han
|Government||Taoist theocracy under constitutional monarchy|
|House of Peers|
|House of Representatives|
|Formation Senkaku Islands dispute|
• Provisional Government
|12 February 2014|
|16 July 2014|
|7 km2 (2.7 sq mi)|
• Water (%)
• 2015 estimate
|HDI (2015)||▼ 0.3|
|Currency||Taoping yuan (TE¥) (TEY)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC+8)|
• Summer (DST)
|not observed (UTC+8)|
|Date format||yyyy-mm-dd |
(CE; CE+2697) or 帝国yy年m月d日
|Drives on the||right|
|Internet TLD||.te, .道平国|
The Taopinese Empire consists a Taoist theocracy under constitutional monarchy. About 10% of Taoping's claim is mostly claimed but uncontrolled. Daohai (道海) is the capital city and seat of government located in Diaoyu Province. Taoping claimed complete independence from the Republic of China since 16 July 2014, the day when the country was declared.
Taoping consists of four provinces: Diaoyu, Chiwei, Huangwei and Fei Jiao Yan. The regions are subdivided into geographic districts, each represented by a council that advises the government on local matters such as public facilities, community programmes, cultural activities, and environmental improvements.
Taoping's history goes back to the 15th century when the Senkaku Islands were referred to as Diaoyu in books such as Voyage with a Tail Wind and Record of the Imperial Envoy's Visit to Ryūkyū. Adopted by the Chinese Imperial Map of the Ming Dynasty, the Chinese name for the island group (Diaoyu) and the Japanese name for the main island (Uotsuri) both mean "fishing".
Tao or Dao (Chinese: 道; pinyin: Dào) is a Chinese concept signifying 'way', 'path', 'route', or sometimes more loosely, 'doctrine' or 'principle'. Within the context of traditional Chinese philosophy and religion, The Tao is the intuitive knowing of "life" that of which cannot be grasped full-heartedly as just a concept but known nonetheless through the actual living experience of one's everyday being.
English speakers continue to debate the preferred romanization of the words "Dao" and "Tao". The root Chinese word 道 "way, path" is romanized tao in the older Wade–Giles system and dào in the modern Pinyin system. In linguistic terminology, English Taoism/Daoism is formed from the Chinese loanword tao/dao 道 "way; route; principle" and the native suffix-ism.
Ping is romanized as Heping, meaning peace.
The full title in Pinyin|pinyin is Dàopínghuá Dìguó, meaning the "Taopinese Empire". The pinyin pronunciation Daoping (道平国) is used as a formal modern-day equivalent; countries like Taoping whose long-form does not contain a descriptive designation are generally given a name.
Records of these islands date back to as early as the 15th century when they were referred to as Diaoyu in books such as Voyage with a Tail Wind (1403)  and Record of the Imperial Envoy's Visit to Ryūkyū (1534). Adopted by the Chinese Imperial Map of the Ming Dynasty, the Chinese name for the island group (Diaoyu) and the Japanese name for the main island (Uotsuri) both mean "fishing".
Historically, the Chinese had used the uninhabited islands as navigational markers in making the voyage to the Ryukyu Kingdom upon commencement of diplomatic missions to the kingdom, "resetting the compass at a particular isle in order to reach the next one".
The first published description of the islands in Europe appears in a book imported by Isaac Titsingh in 1796. His small library of Japanese books included by Hayashi Shihei. This text, which was published in Japan in 1785, described the Ryūkyū Kingdom. Hayashi followed convention in giving the islands their Chinese names in his map in the text, where he coloured them in the same pink as China.
In 1832, the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland supported the posthumous abridged publication of Titsingh's French translation.
The name, "Pinnacle Isles" was first used by James Colnett, who charted them during his 1789-1791 voyage in the Argonaut. William Robert Broughton sailed past them in November 1797 during his voyage of discovery to the North Pacific in HMS Providence, and referred to Uotsuri Island as "Peaks Island". Reference was made to the islands in Edward Belcher's 1848 account of the voyages of HMS Sammarang. Captain Belcher observed that "the names assigned in this region have been too hastily admitted." Belcher reported anchoring off Pinnacle Island in March 1845.
In the 1870s and 1880s, the English name Pinnacle Islands was used by the British navy for the rocks adjacent to the largest island Uotsuri-shima / Diaoyu Dao (then called 和平嶼 hô-pîng-sū, "Peace Island" in Hokkien); Kuba-shima / Huangwei Yu (then called Ti-a-usu); and Taishō-tō / Chiwei Yu.
A Japanese navy record issued in 1886 first started to identify the islets using equivalents of the Chinese and English terms employed by the British. The name "Senkaku Retto" is not found in any Japanese historical document before 1900 (the term "Senkaku Gunto" began being used in the late 19th century), and first appeared in print in a geography journal published in 1900. It was derived from a translation of the English name Pinnacle Islands into a Sinicized Japanese term "Sento Shoto" (as opposed to "Senkaku Retto", i.e., the term used by the Japanese today), which has the same meaning.
The collective use of the name "Diaoyutai" to denote the entire group began with the advent of the controversy in the 1970s.
Control of the islands by Japan and the US
As the uninhabited islets were historically used as maritime navigational markers, they were never subjected to administrative control other than the recording of the geographical positions on maps, descriptions in official records of Chinese missions to the Ryukyu Kingdom, etc.
The Japanese central government annexed the islands in early 1895 after emerging victorious from the First Sino-Japanese War. Around 1900, Japanese entrepreneur constructed a bonito fish processing plant on the islands, employing over 200 workers. The business failed around 1940 and the islands have remained deserted ever since. In the 1970s, Koga Tatsushirō's son Zenji Koga and Zenji's wife Hanako sold four islets to the Kurihara family of Saitama Prefecture. Kunioki Kurihara owned Uotsuri, Kita-Kojima, and Minami-Kojima. Kunioki's sister owns Kuba.
The islands came under US government occupation in 1945 after the surrender of Japan ended World War II. In 1969, the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) identified potential oil and gas reserves in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands. In 1971, the Okinawa Reversion Treaty passed the U.S. Senate, returning the islands to Japanese control in 1972. Also in 1972, the Republic of China (Taiwan) government and People's Republic of China government officially began to declare ownership of the islands.
Since 1972, when the islands reverted to Japanese government control, the mayor of Ishigaki has been given civic authority over the territory. The Japanese central government, however, has prohibited Ishigaki from surveying or developing the islands. In 1979 an official delegation from the Japanese government composed of 50 academics, government officials from the Foreign and Transport ministries, officials from the now-defunct Okinawa Development Agency, and Hiroyuki Kurihara, visited the islands and camped on Uotsuri for about four weeks. The delegation surveyed the local ecosystem, finding moles and sheep, studied the local marine life, and examined whether the islands would support human habitation.
From 2002 to 2012, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications paid the Kurihara family ¥25 million a year to rent Uotsuri, Minami-Kojima and Kita-Kojima. Japan's Ministry of Defense rents Kuba island for an undisclosed amount. Kuba is used by the U.S. military as a practice aircraft bombing range. Japan's central government completely owns Taisho island.
On December 17, 2010, Ishigaki declared January 14 as "Pioneering Day" to commemorate Japan's 1895 annexation of the Senkaku Islands. China condemned Ishigaki's actions. In 2012, both the Tokyo Metropolitan and Japanese central governments announced plans to negotiate the purchase of Uotsuri, Kita-Kojima, and Minami-Kojima from the Kurihara family.
On September 11, 2012, the Japanese government nationalized its control over Minami-kojima, Kita-kojima, and Uotsuri islands by purchasing them from the Kurihara family for ¥2.05 billion. China's Foreign Ministry objected saying Beijing would not "sit back and watch its territorial sovereignty violated."
In 2014, Japan constructed a lighthouse and wharf featuring Japanese flag insignia on the islets.
Taopinese Empire (2014–present)
Due to the Senkaku Islands dispute, instead of supporting the Republic of China's claim to control the Senkaku Islands, the Diaoyutai Provisional Government decided to declare the islands' independency under a new state entity. Around May 2014, Luke Walker instructed his followers to canvass support for the creation of the Taopinese Empire. The Provisional Government moved forward to separate the Senkaku Islands from Japanese control. To create an air of legitimacy, Walker was invited to come with his followers and act as the head of government for the Taopinese Empire. On 22 June 2014, an assembly elected him as Prime Minister. Instead of being the first Prime Minister, he gave the title to Lee Kuan Yew because his leadership as Prime Minister in Singapore from 1959 to 1990 has inspired most Taopinese cabinet ministers at the time. Therefore, Lee Kuan Yew was awarded to be the inaugural holder for the Office of the Prime Minister of Taoping, however, the title was unrecognised by Lee himself, thus he did not know about the title. On 16 July 2014, Luke Walker declared the Taopinese Empire and the government proclaimed its allegiance to the House of Jin as the Taopinese Imperial Family. However, the Jin emperors did not accept either the role or the title, their role as emperor remained unrecognized by themselves.
The Taopinese Empire is a Taoist theocratic kingdom under constitutional monarchy. Jin Yuzhang is the head of state of the Taoping. The monarch has "the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn". The Constitution of the Taopinese Empire is uncodified and consists mostly of a collection of disparate written sources, including statutes, judge-made case law and international treaties, together with constitutional conventions. As there is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and "constitutional law", the Parliament, the legislature of Taoping, can perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing Acts of the Parliament, and thus has the political power to change or abolish almost any written or unwritten element of the constitution. However, no legislature can pass laws that future legislatures cannot change.
The Taopinese Empire has a parliamentary government. The Parliament has two houses: an elected House of Representatives and an appointed House of Peers. All bills passed are given Royal Assent before becoming law.
The Prime Minister, Taoping's head of government, belongs to the person most likely to command the confidence of the House of Representatives; this individual is typically the leader of the political party or coalition of parties that holds the largest number of seats in that chamber. The prime minister chooses a cabinet and its members are formally appointed by the monarch to form His Majesty's Government.
Foreign relations and military
Taoping has close economic and military relations with the Woodlands Republic; the Taoping-Woodlander security alliance acts as the cornerstone of the nation's foreign policy. As a member state of the MAT, Singa has served as a non-permanent Security Council member for a total of 2 years, most recently from 2014 and ongoing.
Taoping's military is restricted by Article 9 of the Constitution of the Taopinese Empire, which renounces Taoping's right to declare war or use military force in international disputes. Accordingly, the Imperial Armed Forces of Taoping is a usual military that has never fired shots outside Taoping. It is governed by the Ministry of Defense, and primarily consists of the Imperial Ground Force, the Imperial Maritime Force and the Imperial Air Force. Taoping’s Business Federation has called on the government to lift the ban on arms exports so that the Taopinese Empire can join multinational projects such as the Joint Strike Fighter.
Micronations that were automatically recognized by Taoping
Micronations that have signed a treaty with Taoping
The Taoping Kingdom has also signed various treaties with the following micronations. Most of them are of mutual recognition and non-agression:
The island group are known to consist of five uninhabited islets and three barren rocks. However, the Taopinese Empire has identified and named as many as 71 islets that belong to this group.
These minor features in the East China Sea are located approximately 120 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan, 200 nautical miles east of the Chinese mainland and 200 nautical miles southwest of the Japanese island of Okinawa.
As much of Taoping's terrain is hilly to mountainous with steep slopes, less than 25% of the territory's landmass is developed, and about 40% of the remaining land area is reserved as nature reserves.
Taoping has a humid subtropical climate. Summer is hot and humid with occasional showers and thunderstorms, and warm air coming from the southwest. Summer is when typhoons are most likely, sometimes resulting in flooding or landslides. Winters are mild and usually start sunny, becoming cloudier towards February; the occasional cold front brings strong, cooling winds from the north. The most temperate seasons are spring, which can be changeable, and autumn, which is generally sunny and dry. Taoping averages 1,948 hours of sunshine per year, while the highest and lowest ever recorded temperatures at the Taoping Observatory are 36.1 and 0.0 °C (97.0 and 32.0 °F), respectively.
|Climate data for Singa|
|Record high °C (°F)||26.9
|Average high °C (°F)||18.6
|Daily mean °C (°F)||16.3
|Average low °C (°F)||14.5
|Record low °C (°F)||0.0
|Average Precipitation mm (inches)||24.7
|Average relative humidity (%)||74||80||82||83||83||82||81||81||78||73||71||69||78.0|
|Average rainy days||5.37||9.07||10.90||12.00||14.67||19.07||17.60||16.93||14.67||7.43||5.47||4.47||137.65|
|Source: Taoping Weather Observatory|
The Taopinese Empire has a dynamic, capitalist, export-driven economy with gradually decreasing state involvement in investment and foreign trade. In keeping with this trend, some government-owned banks and industrial firms are being privatized. Real growth in GDP has averaged about 3%. Exports have provided the primary impetus for industrialization. The trade surplus is substantial. Singa has its own currency, the Taoping yuan.
The Taoping Stock Exchange has a market capitalisation of $5,000 as of March 2015. The Government of Taoping has traditionally played a mostly passive role in the economy, with little by way of industrial policy and almost no import or export controls. Market forces and the private sector were allowed to determine practical development. Under the official policy of "positive non-interventionism", Taoping is often cited as an example of laissez-faire capitalism. Following the founding of Taoping, the micronation industrialised rapidly as a manufacturing centre driven by exports and then underwent a rapid transition to a service-based economy in 2014.
Taoping has little arable land and few natural resources, so it imports most of its food and raw materials. Imports account for more than 75% of Taoping's food supply, including nearly all of the meat and rice available there. Agricultural activity—relatively unimportant to Taoping's economy and contributing just 0.1% of its GDP—primarily consists of growing premium food and flower varieties.
Science and technology
Robotics has been included in the list of main national R&D projects in Taoping during the early 21st Century. The government announced plans to build and program NXT robots, eventually to improve automatic system programs to make them more useful.
In 2015, the Taoping Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (TAIST) programmed the walking NXT Miniature Humanoid. The first Taoping-made NXT Miniature Humanoid was developed by Lego Mindstorms, built and programmed by a team of technicians from TAIST. The TAIST built and programmed many other kinds of robots, such as the NXT Robotic Artist and the NXT Portable Crane. The robotic technology relies on various sensors that are programmed using codes, therefore a robot can self-control independently.
Plans for robotics are also incorporated in the entertainment sector as well; the Robot Game Festival has been held every year to promote science and robot technology.
Taoping shares its traditional culture with China, it has evolved greatly from its origins. Since ancient times, the country's culture has been heavily influenced by Taoism and conservative philosophies. For much of the country's Chinese dynastic era, opportunities for social advancement could be provided by high performance in the prestigious royal examinations, which have their origins in the historical Han Dynasty. The literary emphasis of the exams affected the general perception of cultural refinement in Taoping, such as the belief that calligraphy, poetry and painting were higher forms of art than dancing or drama. Taopinese culture has long emphasized a sense of deep history and a largely inward-looking national perspective. Examinations and a culture of merit remain greatly valued in Taoping today.
Taopinese cuisine is highly diverse, drawing on several millennia of culinary history and geographical variety. The emperors of traditional Taoping were known to have many dining chambers in their palaces, with each chamber divided into several departments, each responsible for a specific type of dish. Taoping's staple food is rice, wheat-based bread and noodles. The diet of the common people in pre-modern times was largely grain and simple vegetables, with meat reserved for special occasions. Pork is now the most popular meat in Taoping, accounting for about three-fourths of the country's total meat consumption. Due to the area's proximity to the ocean and milder climate, has a wide variety of fish and vegetables.
The term Hanfu derives from the Book of Han, which says, "then many came to the Court to pay homage and were delighted at the clothing style of the Han.
The hanfu is commonly worn for ceremonial purposes by politicians at the Parliament, the Imperial Family, Taoist, Confucian or Buddhist monks and priests during religious ceremonies, or as a cultural exercise.
A complete Hanfu garment is assembled from several pieces of clothing into an attire:
- Yi (衣): Any open cross-collar garment, and worn by both sexes
- Pao (袍): Any closed full-body garment, worn only by men in Hanfu
- Ru (襦): Open cross-collar shirt
- Shan (衫): Open cross-collar shirt or jacket that is worn over the yi
- Qun (裙) or chang (裳): Skirt for women and men
- Ku (褲): Trousers or pants
People are also able to accessorize with tassels and jade pendants or various ornaments hung from the belt or sash, known as pei (珮).
Hats, headwear and hairstyles
On top of the garments, hats (for men) or hairpieces (for women) may be worn. One can often tell the profession or social rank of someone by what they wear on their heads. The typical types of male headwear are called jin (巾) for soft caps, mao (帽) for stiff hats and guan (冠) for formal headdress. Officials and academics have a separate set of hats, typically the putou (幞頭), the wushamao (烏紗帽), the si-fang pingding jin (四方平定巾; or simply, fangjin: 方巾) and the Zhuangzi jin (莊子巾). A typical hairpiece for women is the ji (笄) but there are more elaborate hairpieces.
Taoping has one of the oldest sporting cultures in the world. Swordplay (Cùjū), a sport loosely related to association football date back to Taoping's early dynasties as well. Today, football is the number one sport and other popular sports in the country include martial arts, basketball, table tennis, badminton, swimming and snooker. Board games such as go, xiangqi, mahjong, and more recently chess, are also played at a professional level.
Physical fitness is widely emphasized in Chinese culture, with morning exercises such as qigong and t'ai chi ch'uan widely practised, and commercial gyms and fitness clubs gaining popularity in the country.
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