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Kinmen County
Flag of Kinmen County
Coat of arms of Kinmen County
Coat of arms
Country  Taiwan
Seat Jincheng
Largest city Jincheng
Boroughs 0 cities, 6 (3 urban, 3 rural) townships
 • County Magistrate Chen Fu-hai (independent)
 • County Deputy Magistrate Lin De-gong (林德恭)
 • Total 153.1 km2 (59.1 sq mi)
Area rank 20 of 22
Population (December 2014)
 • Total 127,723
 • Rank 20 of 22
 • Density 830/km2 (2,200/sq mi)
Time zone CST (UTC+8)
Bird Hoopoe
Flower Four-season orchid
Tree Cotton tree
Traditional Chinese 金門
Simplified Chinese 金门
Postal Quemoy
Kinmen County
Traditional Chinese 金門縣
Simplified Chinese 金门县

Kinmen or Quemoy (; see also "Names" section below) is a small archipelago of several islands of Taiwan including Great Kinmen, Lesser Kinmen, and some islets. Administratively, it is Kinmen County (Chinese: 金門縣; pinyin: Jīnmén Xiàn) of the streamlined Fujian Province, Taiwan. The county is also claimed by the People's Republic of China (PRC) as part of its own Fujian Province's Quanzhou Prefecture. It is geographically very near Xiamen, no more than 2 kilometres (1.2 mi). Some islands of other counties, such as Wuqiu, were transferred to the jurisdiction of Kinmen County by the ROC government following its defeat in the Chinese Civil War and retreat to Taiwan. Matsu is the other set of islands on the Fujian coast controlled by the Republic of China.


  • Names 1
  • History 2
    • Qing Dynasty 2.1
    • Republic of China 2.2
      • Mainland China 2.2.1
      • Taiwan 2.2.2
  • Culture 3
  • Economy 4
    • Tourism 4.1
    • Industry 4.2
    • Imported goods 4.3
  • Politics 5
  • Townships 6
  • Education 7
  • Infrastructure 8
    • Electricity 8.1
    • Submarine telecommunication cable 8.2
    • Water supply 8.3
  • Tourist attractions 9
    • Museums 9.1
    • Nature 9.2
    • Historical buildings 9.3
    • Religious buildings 9.4
  • Transportation 10
    • Air 10.1
    • Water 10.2
  • Gallery 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links and further reading 14


Jiangong Islet, with a Koxinga monument, in Kinmen Harbor

Kinmen was first named Jīnmén (金門; lit, "golden gate") in Chinese 1387 when the Hongwu Emperor of China's Ming dynasty appointed a military officer to administer the island and protect it from wokou (pirate) attacks.[1] The name is pronounced Jīnmén in the official Mandarin Chinese and Kim-mûi in the native Zhangzhou dialect of Hokkien Minnan. The various names used in English for the islands derive from the Chinese counterparts.

Quemoy is the name for the island in English and in many European languages and the island's name in postal romanization.[2] It likely began as a Portuguese transcription of the Minnan (Hokkien) Zhangzhou dialect pronunciation of the name, Kim-mûi which also means Golden Gate.[3] This form of the islands' name was used almost exclusively in English until the late 20th century and is still used widely in current English-language contexts that involve historical coverage. For example, current works that deal with the First and Second Taiwan Strait Crises (the Quemoy Incident[4]) when the islands received prominent worldwide news coverage as "Quemoy" still use this form. In addition, the former National Kinmen Institute of Technology was renamed National Quemoy University in 2010. Kinmen scholar Wei Jian-feng advocates the use of "Quemoy" to better connect the island to "international society or achieve more recognition in the world".[3]

Kinmen is a more recent transcription based on the general rules of the postal romanization system. With some exceptions, this form is used in most current English-language contexts on Kinmen and in Taiwan as a whole. Entities such as the county government,[5] the islands' airport,[6] and the national park[7] use this spelling.

Chin-men is the Wade–Giles romanization form of the island's name and appears on some maps using that as their standard.[8]

Jinmen is the Hanyu Pinyin form of the island's name used especially in sources from the People's Republic of China.[9] The Kinmen County Government and ROC central government have adopted Hanyu Pinyin as their standard romanization, such as for names of townships within Kinmen County, but this does not apply to the name of Kinmen itself.[10]


The slogan "Three Principles of the People unite China", written in traditional Chinese, the official language of the Republic of China, located in Dadan Island of Kinmen, directly facing Mainland China.

Qing Dynasty

The Prince of Lu, a member of the Southern Ming Dynasty, resisted the invading Manchu Qing Dynasty forces. In 1651, he fled to Kinmen, which the Qing dynasty took in 1663.[11]

Republic of China

Mainland China

Although Taiwan and Penghu had been ceded to Japan in 1895 via the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Kinmen was not included in the cession. After the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912, Kinmen became part of Fukien Province, ROC. Japan did however occupy Kinmen during the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945. Later in 1949, it was claimed by both the ROC and PRC.


The People's Liberation Army extensively shelled the island during the First and Second Taiwan Strait Crises in 1954-1955 and 1958 respectively, which 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.

Kinmen was originally a military reserve, which eventually lead to the tragedy of 1987 Lieyu massacre.[12] The island was returned to the civilian government in the mid-1990s, after which travel to and from it was allowed. Direct travel between mainland China and Kinmen re-opened in January 2001 under the mini Three Links, and there has been extensive tourism development on the island in anticipation of mainland tourists.[13] Direct travel was suspended in 2003 as a result of the SARS outbreak, but has since resumed.

Many Taiwanese businesspeople use the link through Kinmen to enter the Chinese mainland, seeing it as cheaper and easier than entering through Hong Kong. However, this changed following the 2005 Pan-Blue visits to mainland China and the 2008 presidential and legislative victories of the KMT, that allowed easier Cross-Strait relations. Kinmen has experienced a considerable economic boom as businesspeople relocate to the island for easier access to the vast markets of the PRC.

On 30 June 2014, Dadan Island and Erdan Island were handed over from the military to civilians, represented by Kinmen County Government.[14] Since 1 January 2015, tourists from Mainland China could directly apply the Exit and Entry Permit upon arrival in Kinmen. This privilege also applies to Penghu and Matsu Islands as means to boost tourism in the outlying islands of Taiwan.[15]


Bomb shells fired by People's Liberation Army to Kinmen
A shisa (wind-lion god) carving in Kinmen

The people of Kinmen see themselves as Jīnmén rén (Kinmenese), Mínnán rén (

  • Kinmen travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Kinmen County Government Official Website
  • Complete list of the villages in each township
  • Maps of Kinmen
  • Kinmen Island: China without the Communism?
  • Satellite image of Greater Kinmen and Lesser Kinmen by Google Maps
  • Michael Szonyi, Cold War Island: Quemoy on the Front Line, Cambridge University Press (August 11, 2008), hardcover, 328 pages, ISBN 0521898137 ISBN 978-0521898133; trade paperback, 328 pages, ISBN 0521726409, ISBN 978-0521726405
  • "Once a Redoubt Against China, Taiwan’s Outpost Evolves" feature article by Edward Wong and Xiyun Fukada in The New York Times September 16, 2011

External links and further reading

  1. ^ Jian-Feng Wei. "An Examination of Cultural Identity of Residents of Quemoy (Kinmen)". Intercultural Communication Studies. XV:1. 2006. p. 134. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Quemoy", Merriam Webster
    "Quemoy", Larousse. (French)
  3. ^ a b Jian-Feng Wei. "'Quemoy' or 'Kinmen'?: A Translation Strategy for Communication". Intercultural Communication Studies. XVIII: 2. 2009. p. 176. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Trista di Genova. "Study explores the 'Kinmen Identity'". China Post. 11 July 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  5. ^ Kinmen County Government official website. Retrieved 20 January 2012. (English)
  6. ^ Kinmen Airport official website. Retrieved 20 January 2012. (English)
  7. ^ Kinmen National Park official website. Retrieved 20 January 2012. (English)
  8. ^ For example, National Geographic Maps.
  9. ^ For example, "Xiamen-Jinmen trial voyage successful" at the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China official website. Retrieved 20 January 2012. (English)
  10. ^ "Hanyu Pinyin to be standard system in 2009", Taipei Times, Sep 18, 2008.
  11. ^
  12. ^ 管仁健 《國軍屠殺越南難民的三七事件》你不知道的台灣 2008-03-07
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Jian-Feng Wei. "An Examination of Cultural Identity of Residents of Quemoy (Kinmen)". Intercultural Communication Studies. XV:1. 2006. p. 136–137. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  17. ^ "Wind Lion God" at the Kinmen National Park website. 6 June 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  18. ^
  19. ^
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  21. ^
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See also


People coming from Mainland China can also visit Kinmen using ferry via Fujian from Xiamen at Xiamen International Cruise Terminal or Wutong Port or from Quanzhou arriving at Shuitou Pier in Jincheng Township.[39]


Kinmen is served by the Kinmen Airport, a domestic airport located at Jinhu Township, connecting Kinmen with Penghu and Taiwan Island.



Maoshan Pagoda, Wentai Pagoda.

Religious buildings

Gulongtou Zhenwei Residence, Jhaishan Tunnel, Juguang Tower, Kinmen Folk Culture Village, Kinmen Military Headquarters of Qing Dynasty, Mashan Broadcasting and Observation Station, Mofan Street.

Historical buildings

Gugang Lake, Jiangong Islet, Jincheng Seaside Park, Kinmen National Park.


August 23 Artillery Battle Museum, Guningtou War Museum, Hujingtou Battle Museum, Yu Da Wei Xian Sheng Memorial Museum.


Tourist-related affairs in Kinmen are governed by Transportation and Tourism Bureau of Kinmen County Government. Major tourist attractions in Kinmen are:

Tourist attractions

An undersea 16.7 km water pipeline will be built to carry water from the Shanmei Reservoir in Jinjiang city to coastal area of Kinmen. The pipeline is expected to deliver a maximum amount of 30,000 tonnes of water each day to Kinmen. A further 300 meter of water pipe will be constructed to a water treatment plant.[38]

In early September 2013, the Chinese Mainland government agreed to supply Kinmen with water from Jinjiang City in Fujian due to the ongoing water shortage problem in Kinmen. Kinmen draws more than 8,000 tonnes of groundwater everyday and water from its reservoir is barely enough to support the residence during dry season. The shortage problem will heavily hit the local economy by 2016 if no mitigation plan is enacted.

For decades, Kinmen has been facing difficulties in water supply to its residence due to its shallow lakes, lack of rainfall and geographical constraints which makes building reservoirs and dams unfeasible. Therefore, Kinmen often overuse its groundwater, causing rising tidal flood and soil salinity.

The current daily water demand for Kinmen is 50,000 tonnes, which are used for households, industries and agriculture sectors. One tonne of water produced for Kinmen costs about NT$50–60 and may surge to NT$70 during summer. In extreme drought condition, water shipment from Taiwan Island may cost as much as NT$200 per tonne. Because Kinmen residents pay only NT$10 for each tonne water they use, the cost of water supply has become a heavy burden for the county government.[37]

Water supply

The telecommunication system consists of two cables, one is a 11 km long cable that runs from Kinmen's Lake Tzu and Xiamen's Mount Guanyin, and the other is a 9.7 km long cable that runs from Kinmen's Guningtou and Xiamen's Dadeng Island. The system is a non-repeater system with a bilateral transmission capacity of 90 Gbit/s, in which it might be expanded in the future if demand arises.[36]

In August 2012, Kinmen and Xiamen established the first submarine telecommunication cable between the two sides. On Taiwan side, the infrastructure was constructed by Chunghwa Telecom, while on Mainland China's side was done by China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. The project was initially launched in 1996 and took 16 years to build.[36]

Submarine telecommunication cable

The Kinmen Power Company was founded in 1967 and gradually built five power plants in the county and in charge of providing power resources to all residents in Kinmen. It used to rely on light diesel oil which created high cost burden to its management. Since 1992, the ROC central government approved the power company to authorize Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) for five-year management. All of the power development projects were invested by Taipower and helped the region economic development. In July 1997, Kinmen Power Company was officially incorporated to Taipower. In 1999, the diesel-fired Tashan Power Plant was built to supply electricity to Kinmen grid. The other smaller power plants were subsequently discontinued to reduce cost.[35]



The Kinmen County Government have invested millions in education in Kinmen, with an average of NT$20,000 per student. Schools in the county also accept the growing number of Taiwanese students whose parents are doing business in Fujian.[33] The county government has been striving to encourage universities in Taiwan Island and Mainland China to set up branches in the county, as well as to attract Chinese mainland students to study in Kinmen.[34]

In August 2010, National Quemoy University was established from the predecessor National Kinmen Institute of Technology and Kinmen Division of National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences established in 1997.[31] It is located in Jinning Township. The islands also have a satellite campuses of Ming Chuan University and National University of Kaohsiung. Secondary educational institutions include National Kinmen Senior High School and National Kinmen Agricultural and Industrial Vocational Senior High School. In total, there are 24 junior high schools, elementary schools and kindergartens.[32]


Jincheng and Jinsha are the largest of the six townships. Altogether, there are 37 Kinmen villages, three of which – all in Zhèn (鎮) – are -villages (里); the rest are Cūn-villages (村).

All those townships on Greater Kinmen Island start their names with Jin (i.e., Kin, lit. "gold"). Lieyu Township encompasses the entire Lesser Kinmen Island, and is the closest to Xiamen. Wuqiu Township comprises Greater Qiu Islet (大坵) and Lesser Qiu Islet (小坵).

Name Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Wade–Giles Hokkien Pe̍h-ōe-jī English meaning
Urban townships
Jincheng Township 金城鎮 Jīnchéng Zhèn Chin¹-ch'eng² Chen⁴ Kim-siâⁿ Tìn Golden City
Jinhu Township 金湖鎮 Jīnhú Zhèn Chin¹-hu² Chen⁴ Kim-ô· Tìn Golden Lake
Jinsha Township 金沙鎮 Jīnshā Zhèn Chin¹-sha¹ Chen⁴ Kim-soaⁿ Tìn Golden Sand
Rural townships
Jinning Township 金寧鄉 Jīnníng Xiāng Chin¹-ning² Hsiang¹ Kim-lêng Hiong Golden Tranquility
Lieyu Township 烈嶼鄉 Lièyǔ Xiāng Lie⁴-yü³ Hsiang¹ Lia̍t-sū Hiong Heroic Islets
Wuqiu Township 烏坵鄉 Wūqiū Xiāng Wu¹-ch'iu¹ Hsiang¹ O·-kiu Hiong Black Mound

Kinmen County is divided into 3 urban townships and 3 rural townships. Jincheng Township is the county seat which houses Kinmen County Government and Kinmen County Council. The township also houses the headquarter office of Fujian Provincial Government. Kinmen County has the least number of rural townships among other counties in Taiwan.

Subdivision of Kinmen County into townships
Jincheng Township, the county seat of Kinmen


On 29 November 2014 however, independent candidate Chen Fu-hai won the county magistrate election and took office as the Magistrate of Kinmen County on 25 December 2014, the first independent candidate to win the office. He replaced Magistrate Lee Wo-shih of the Kuomintang.[29] The 2014 Kinmen County magistrate election consisted of 10 candidates, the highest number of nominated candidates in the electoral history of Taiwan.[30]

The Democratic Progressive Party has a minor presence on the island and typically does not present candidates to stand in local elections, although it does hold a single seat in Kinmen County Council from both of the 2009 and 2014 local elections. However, the party occasionally lends support to liberal or center-left candidates.

The island consistently votes for the Kuomintang (KMT). Until the early 1990s, proponents of Taiwan independence argued that they would consider handing Kinmen over to the PRC in any negotiated settlement. Residents of the island have broadly opposed such measures, fearing the consequences of the PRC government's policies on their standard of living and political freedom.

Kuomintang Kinmen headquarters office in Jincheng Township.


Kinmen often import more goods from Mainland China than Taiwan Island because of lower costs due to the proximity of the county to the mainland despite lower quality. During the campaign for the 2014 county magistrate, all of the magistrate candidates spent their money on campaign materials produced in mainland provinces, such as Guangdong, Zhejiang and Fujian instead of from Taiwan Island.[28]

Imported goods

Kinmen also produces its unique Kinmen knife, in which the raw material used to produce it is taken from the remaining of shells fired by the People's Liberation Army in 1958-1978. The knife was made as gift to the visiting Head of Taiwan Affairs Office Zhang Zhijun to Kinmen on 23–24 May 2015 to symbolize mutual peace between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and to bury the hatchet left from Chinese Civil War.[26][27]

Kinmen is famous for the production of Kaoliang liquor, which takes up about 75% of Taiwan's market share, in which it is a strong economic backbone of the county. Traditional industries are also being kept and improved, ranging from agriculture, fishery and livestock. It has a good fishery industry also due to its nature being surrounded by unpolluted sea.


By 2016, two infrastructure projects are expected to boost tourism and meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions visitors to the islands. One includes a yet-to-be-named five-star resort spearheaded by Xiamen property developer, Wu Youhua, president of Xiamen Huatian Group, the first time a Chinese interest has been allowed to invest in the Taiwan hotel sector.[25]

The year 2014 recorded the highest number of passengers traveling by ferry between Kinmen and Fujian ports for as many as 1.5 million people.[23] Starting 1 January 2015, Chinese mainland tourists will no longer be required to apply for Exit and Entry Permit in advance for visits to Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu Islands. Instead, they can apply for it upon arrival at a cost of NT$600.[24]

Because of its military importance, development on the island was extremely limited. Only by 2003, Kinmen opened up itself to tourists from Fujian in Mainland China.[22] It is now however a popular weekend tourist destination for Taiwanese and is known for its quiet villages, old-style architecture and beaches. Large parts of Kinmen form the Kinmen National Park which highlights military fortifications and structures, historical dwellings and natural scenery.

The Juguang Tower ("Brightness of Ju"), a famous landmark in Kinmen.


Kinmen's economy is mainly based on tourism and services due to its proximity to mainland China.[18][19] A 5.4 km (3.4 mi) bridge connecting Kinmen Island (Greater Kinmen) and Lieyu is planned to be completed by June 2016, estimated to cost NT$7.5 billion (US$250 million).[20] It is expected to increase local tourism; the bridge's 1.4 km (0.87 mi) main body will have the largest span in the world when completed.[21]


Like the Ryukyus, Kinmen is known for shisa (wind-lion god) figures (風獅爺).[17]

Kinmen is notable for a number of cultural products. Due to the extensive shelling by the People's Liberation Army, Kinmen is famous for its artillery shell knives. Local artisans would collect the vast amounts of exploded ordnance and make high-quality knives which are still sought after by chefs and connoisseurs. Kinmen is also home of the regionally famous Kinmen Kaoliang liquor, a spirit ranging between 38 and 63 percent alcohol, which is highly appreciated by the Taiwanese. Other local culinary specialties include Kinmen noodles (金門麵線), gongtang (貢糖) and beef jerky (牛肉乾).

Many of the county's inhabitants speak Hokkien. Since Kinmen is historically part of Fujian, most residents will say they speak "Kinmenese", as opposed to "Taiwanese" as it is commonly called in Taiwan, though the two dialects are mutually intelligible. The residents of Wuchiu Township speak Pu-Xian Min, as opposed to Hokkien for the rest of Kinmen.

[4] as well.Kinmenese politics These concerns play a strong role in [4] independence from China would lead to the severing of ties with jure Many worried that Taiwanese [4] To Kinmenese, however, these developments were viewed with concern and there was a feeling that "Taiwan didn't identify with Kinmen".[4] and efforts in de-Sinicization grew in strength on Taiwan.Taiwan independence movement In the 1980s, as the militarization decreased and martial law was ended on Taiwan, the [4]

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