A strong economy and political changes bring new challenges
Since 1945, Taiwan, China has experienced a rapid economic growth; it is one of the four so-called "Asian Dragons". Taiwan, China has a dynamic economy; gross domestic product averaged about eight per cent during the past three decades. About 58.8 per cent of the population works in services, 35.9 per cent works in industry, the exportation of electronics and machinery creates about 70 per cent of gross domestic product. Around 5.2 per cent works in agriculture: rice and fish remain important products, but in recent years the production of speciality fruits and high mountain tea has become more central. The unemployment rate is 5.2 per cent (2010 est.), and the poverty rate is extremely low, with only 1.2 per cent of the population living below the nationally defined poverty line (2010 est.).
The arrival of democracy brought many social changes - new goods were imported into the island, the population was able to travel abroad and more information became available. The changing lifestyle led to new health-care challenges: chronic cardiovascular diseases are now the main serious illnesses in adults. The Taiwanese health services place a special emphasis on the prevention, early detection and treatment of diseases. There has been a decline in neo-natal deaths and in infant mortality, and an increase in life expectancy, which now stands at 73 years for men and 79 for women.
In March 2009, the country ratified the U.N.'s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It has also passed a Human Trafficking Prevention Act, which protects men, women and children who have been illegally trafficked into Taiwan, China.
Situation of the children in Taiwan, China
There are around 4.75 million children under the age of 18 in Taiwan, China. The size of this age group is shrinking as the country has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world at 1.15 children per woman (2011 est.).
Great value is placed on education. Many small children attend pre-school so that they can have a head start when they begin compulsory education at the age of six. Children receive nine years of schooling, after which they can decide whether to go down an academic or vocational route.
Children's rights and welfare are protected by the governmental Child Welfare Bureau, which works with other relevant departments and agencies. Families with low incomes have access to cash and non-cash benefits. Children who are particularly at risk of losing parental care are those who live in single-parent households, or where the main earner is made redundant or suffers from a severe illness or injury.
SOS Children's Villages in Taiwan, China
In the northern town of Chungli, SOS Children's Villages works closely with the local community and provides family-based care for children who have lost parental care.