1987, a critical year for the development of public relations in Taiwan.
Before 1987, Taiwan had been under the control of martial law from May 1949. Martial law was implemented by the government of the Republic of China (ROC). Starting in 1945, an 8-year civil war between two parties in Mainland China erupted – the ROC- and the Chinese communist government, the People's Republic of China (PRC). Losing the war, the ROC government was forcely expelled by the Chinese Communists from Mainland China. Therefore, the ROC government retreated to Taiwan after the Japanese surrendered and ended its 50-year regime in Taiwan in the same year. In order to prevent the communism from the Mainland China permeating through Taiwan in the turbulent season, the ROC government promulgated the “Order of Martial Law”, including the restriction of unlawful assembly, association, procession, petition and the regulation of newspaper, magazine and book publication. Back then, the entire media landscape was restricted and censored.
Even restricted by the martial law, some educated Taiwanese never stopped revolting and advocating for democracy. In 1987, realizing democracy would bring progress to society, President Chiang Ching-kuo lifted the 38-year martial law, which was followed by the liberalization and democratization of Taiwan. The emergence of local enterprises and media provided a great opportunity for the growth of a public relations industry. Mr. CC Koong, who was an experienced journalist, realized the need for businesses to communicate with the media and the public in the rapid economic growth period. In 1987, he founded the first native public relations agency, Elite PR Group. Shortly after it was established, Elite published “The Public Relations Handbook”, which paved the long way for the development of the public relations industry in Taiwan.
“The Public Relations Handbook” was published in 1988, which is the first Mandarin-written public relations book that is applicable to Taiwanese customs. This book collected cases studies in Mainland China, and the authors included professors, public relations agency managers, corporate public relations department managers, entrepreneurs and journalists, laying out basic do’s and dont’s for future public relations practitioners.