Quemoy

Quemoy (kĭmoiˈ) [key], Chin. Chinmen, Kinmen, or Jinmen, Taiwanese island group (1990 pop. 81,479), Taiwan Strait, just off Fujian prov., China, and c.150 mi (240 km) W of Taiwan. The group consists of the islands of Kinmen and Liehyu (or Little Kinmen) and 12 islets in the mouth of Xiamen Bay. The town of Kinmen, on Kinmen island, is the chief population center. Farming is the main occupation; about half the land is under cultivation. Crops include sweet potatoes, peanuts, sorghum, barley, wheat, soybeans, vegetables, and rice. Fishing and especially tourism are also important; many sites on Kinmen and Lieyu are preserved in Kinmen National Park. Kinmen island has extensive fortifications, but the government began removing minefields and demilitarizing the island in 2006.

After the Communist victory on mainland China (1949), Quemoy and Matsu remained Nationalist outposts. For many years the islands were subjected to periodic bombardment from the Communist mainland. An incident in 1958 led to the deployment of the U.S. 7th Fleet, but an escalation of hostilities was avoided. The islands are no longer an important point of contention, and Taiwan reduced the military forces stationed there after 1990. Civilian rule was restored in 1993, and restrictions on travel to Quemoy were ended in 1994. Direct travel to and trade with the mainland has been permitted since Jan., 2001, and Kinmen island is now popular with Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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