Kinmen, (Traditional Chinese: 金門, Simplified Chinese: 金门, Hanyu Pinyin: Jīnmén, Tongyong Pinyin: Jinmén, Wades-Giles: Chin-men, POJ: Kim-mn̂g, also romanized Quemoy from coastal Min nan (in early Spanish romanization); literally "Golden Door" or "Golden Gate"), located at , is a small archipelago of several islands administered by the Republic of China (ROC) government: Greater Kinmen (大金門), Lesser Kinmen (小金門), and some islets. Administratively, it is Kinmen County of Fujian Province, Republic of China. The county is claimed as part of Fujian's Quanzhou Prefecture by the People's Republic of China. Some islands of other counties, such as Wuciou, were transferred to the jurisdiction of Kinmen County by the ROC government following its retreat to Taiwan. Matsu is the other set of islands on the Fujian coast controlled by the ROC.
Many of the county's inhabitants speak the the Southern Min language (Hokkien). Due to their previous political isolation, 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. It is geographically very near Xiamen, no more than 2 kilometers.
The island was the site of extensive shelling between PRC and ROC forces during the first and Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, being also 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. However, the island was returned to the civilian government in the mid-1990s, and travel to and from Taiwan was allowed.
Direct travel between mainland China and Kinmen was opened in 2002, and there has been extensive tourism development on the island in anticipation of mainland tourists. Direct travel was suspended in 2003 as a result of the SARS outbreak, but has since resumed. Many Taiwanese businesspeople use this link to enter the Chinese Mainland as it is seen as cheaper and easier than entering through Hong Kong, however, this changed following the 2005 Pan-Blue visits to mainland China and the presidential and legislative victories of the KMT, that allowed easier Cross-Strait relations. The island has thus experienced an economic boom as businesspeople relocate to the island for easier access to the vast markets of the People's Republic of China.
Kinmen County is subdivided into six townships:
|Name||Hanzi||Hanyu Pinyin||Wade-Giles||Tongyong Pinyin||English meaning|
|Chincheng Township||金城鎮||Jīnchéng||Chin-ch'eng||Jīnchéng||Golden City|
|Jinsha Township||金沙鎮||Jīnshā||Chin-sha||Jinsha||Golden Sand|
|Jinhu Township||金湖鎮||Jīnhú||Chin-hu||Jinhú||Golden Lake|
|Jinning Township||金寧鄉||Jīnníng||Chin-ning||Jinníng||Golden Tranquility|
|Lieyu Township||烈嶼鄉||Lièyǔ||Lie-yü||Lièyǔ||Heroic Islets|
|Wuchiu Township||烏坵鄉||Wūqiū||Wu-ch'iu||Wuciou||Black Mound|
All those townships on Greater Kinmen Island start their names with Jin ("gold"). Lieyu Township encompasses the entire Lesser Kinmen Island, and is the closest to Xiamen. Wuciou Township comprises Greater Ciou Islet (大坵) and Lesser Ciou Islet (小坵).
Jincheng and Jinsha are the largest of the six townships. Altogether, there are 37 Kinmen villages, three of which – all in Jhen (鎮, Zhen) – are Li-villages (里); the rest are Cun-villages (村).