Quemoy, Kinmen, or Chinmen (金門, pinyin: Jīnmén, POJ: Kim-mn̂g) (pop. 43,000) is a small archipelago of several islands administered by the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan: Greater Quemoy (大金門), Lesser Quemoy (小金門), and some islets. Administratively, it is in the Kinmen County of Fujian Province. The county is claimed as part of Fujian's Quanzhou Prefecture by the People's Republic of China. Matsu is the other set of islands on the Fujian coast controlled by the ROC.
Many of the inhabitants speak the Southern Min language. Quemoy is geographically very near Xiamen.
"Quemoy"/"Kim-mn̂g", meaning "Golden Door" or "Golden Gate", is in the Min language; "Kinmen" an archaic Mandarin Romanization. (The modern Mandarin transcription is "Chin-men" (Wade-Giles) or "Jinmen" (Pinyin).)
The island was the site of extensive shelling between PRC and ROC forces in the 1950s and 1960s and was a major issue in the 1960 United States Presidential Election between Kennedy and Nixon. In the 1950s, the United States threatened to use nuclear weapons against the PRC, if it attacked the island. See Quemoy Battles.
The island was a military preserve until the mid-1990s when it was returned to civilian government and travel to and from Taiwan was allowed. Because of its military situation, development on Quemoy was extremely limited and it is now a popular weekend tourist destination for Taiwanese and is known for its quiet villages and beaches. Direct travel between the Mainland China and Quemoy was opened in 2002, and there has been extensive tourism development on the island in anticipation of Mainland tourists. However, direct travel was suspended in 2003 as a result of the SARS outbreak.
The island consistently votes for the pan-blue coalition. Until the early 1990s, proponents of Taiwan independence argued that they would consider handing Quemoy to the PRC in any negotiated settlement. This did not sit well with residents, and the Democratic Progressive Party has sharply backed away from that position to the extent that it added Quemoy and the other small islands to its party flag which contains a map of Taiwan.
Kinmen County is subdivided into six townships:
|Hanzi ||Tongyong ||Wade-Giles ||Hanyu Pinyin ||English meanings |
|金城鎮 ||Jincheng ||Chin-ch'eng ||Jīnchéng ||Golden City |
|金沙鎮 ||Jinsha ||Chin-sha ||Jīnshā ||Golden Sand |
|金湖鎮 ||Jinhu ||Chin-hu ||Jīnhú ||Golden Lake |
|金寧鄉 ||Jinning ||Chin-ning ||Jīnníng ||Golden Tranquility |
|烈嶼鄉 ||Lieyu ||Lie-yü ||Lièyǔ ||Heroic Islets |
|烏坵鄉 ||Wuciou ||Wu-ch'iu ||Wūqiū ||Black Mound |
All those townships on Greater Quemoy Island start their names with Jin ("gold"). Lieyu Township encompasses the entire Lesser Quemoy Island, and is closest to Xiamen. Wuciou Township is comprised of Greater Ciou Islet (大坵) and Lesser Ciou Islet (小坵).
Jincheng and Jinsha are the largest of the six counties. Altogether, there are 37 Quemoy villages, Three of which -- all in Jhen (鎮, Zhen) -- are Li-village (里), the rest are Cun-villages (村).
See also: Political divisions of the Republic of China
- Government website (http://www.kinmen.gov.tw/) | (English) (http://www.kinmen.gov.tw/eng/eng.htm)
- Complete list of the villages in each township (http://content.edu.tw/local/jinmn/jinhu/talisman/ch4/table407.htm)
- maps (http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/taiwan/quemoy.htm)