President of the Republic of China

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The President of the Republic of China (traditional Chinese: 中華民國總統; simplified Chinese: 中华民国总统; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó Zǒngtǒng) is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China (commonly known as Taiwan since the 1970s). The Republic of China was founded on January 1, 1912, to govern all of China. As a consequence of the World War II and the Chinese Civil War, however, the ROC lost control of mainland China to the Chinese communist People's Republic of China (PRC) while gaining and maintaining control of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other islands. The People's Republic of China (PRC) has repeatedly attempted to claim Taiwan as its own territory and refuses to recognize its government and president. In response, this claim is rejected by the government of the Republic of China, which views itself as an independent sovereign country and equally refuses to recognize the existence of the mainland People's Republic of China (PRC).

The existing office was created in 1948 under the 1947 Constitution of the Republic of China and is informally referred to as the "President of Taiwan" (traditional Chinese: 臺灣總統; simplified Chinese: 台湾总統).

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History

When the Republic of China was founded in 1912, Sun Yat-sen was elected as the first "provisional president" (臨時大總統) by the provisional Senate, ending thousands of years of imperial rule in China. Sun Yat-sen soon resigned from the office in favor of Yuan Shikai, who formally assumed the office of "President" (大總統, literally "Great President", in contrast with the omission of 'great' in the current title) in 1913. The 1913 Constitution called for a strong presidential system with notable checks on the president by the National Assembly. However, Yuan soon began to assert dictatorial power, ignoring the National Assembly and later abolishing it altogether. In 1915, Yuan proclaimed himself Emperor of China in a largely unpopular move and was forced to retract his declaration shortly before his death in 1916.

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