Return to Taiwan Aboriginal Rights Webpage

"No Miracles Here"- An Introduction to the Politics and Rights of the Aboriginal Peoples of Taiwan. This paper by Mark Munsterhjelm was originally written for an undergraduate Aboriginal politics course. It covers up to just before the recent elections in March 2000.

The 350,000 Aboriginal people of
Taiwan are little known in the West [2].   They constitute about 1.7% of Taiwan’s 22 million population. This paper is a short introduction to Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples. whom are subject to similar social  and economic conditions as Canada First Nations including poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation, settlers invasion, and social breakdown.  Some statistics suggest a grim picture:

- A 1998 report showed that general mortality rates were 550 per 100,000 however the Aboriginal rates was 1123 per 100,000. " In Aboriginal areas, there is only one doctor for every 2,000 or 3,000 people, compared with one for every 800 people outside such areas." [3]

-Life expectancy statistics from 1986 show a life expectancy at birth of 57 for Mountain Aborigines compared to the national average of 72 and incomes 40% of the National average. [4]

This essay attempts to outline some issues about Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples in regards to international and domestic politics, as well as provide a historical background for the reader.
Taiwan’s Aboriginal Peoples have been subject to colonisation processes beginning 376 years ago. The remaining Taiwan First Nations are: Ami, Atayal, Bunun, Paiwan, Puyuma, Saisiat, Sediq, Taroko, Thao, Tsou, Yami. Some elements of the Plains Aboriginal peoples remain but they as distinctive cultures and societies have virtually disappeared.

Background Historical Sketch

Over the last four centuries of colonialism Taiwan has passed through a series of foreign hands:

Before 1624 - Taiwan was mostly occupied and controlled by it’s Aboriginal peoples. A few thousand Chinese settlers lived here beyond Beijing’s control as well as a few pirate havens particularly on the North coast near present day Keelung.

1624 to 1662- the Dutch occupied areas of the western part of the island. Large scale Chinese immigration began in this period.
Attempts by the Spanish to colonise the north of the island began in 1626 and ended when they were defeated by the Dutch in 1642.
Taiwan was the Dutch East Indies Company’s second most profitable factory after Japan [5]. It’s exports included deer products and sugar as well as serving as a transhipment point for Chinese porcelain exports. This commercial exploitation of over 1.8 million deer for export during the Dutch occupation when combined with expanding Chinese agricultural settlement led to a serious depletion of deer herds so that the lowland Aborigines were deprived of a principal food source.[6]

1662 to 1683 - The Dutch were defeated by the Ming Dynasty Loyalist Koxinga (Jeng Cheng Gung). This regime marked the beginning of Chinese governance of the Island.

1683 to 1895 The Ching (Manchu) Dynasty treated Taiwan as a frontier area and exercised only nominal control over much of the Chinese settled areas. Their system of rule was generally considered to very corrupt and this period was punctuated by frequent rebellions. The Ching "divide and rule" colonial policies included the use of subjugated Aboriginal tribes in the suppression of Han Chinese uprisings particularly during the late 1600s and 1700s. Extensive settlement resulted in an expansion from about 100,000 to nearly 3 million Chinese during this period. [7,8]

1895 to 1945- Taiwan was ceded to Japan by the Treaty of Shimonoseki that ended  the Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese occupation, which began in 1895, was a period of rapid change as Taiwan was integrated into Japanese capitalism. It immediately began a systematic conquest of the remaining independent First Nations. In 1905 Taiwan became a profitable colony or as the  English writer Owen Rutter wrote about the Japanese "They made Formosa pay". [9]


Later occupied Aboriginal lands were subject to hydroelectric development which provided cheap electricity to power Taiwan industrialisation. The Sun Moon Lake powerproject on the lands of the Thao Nation provided over 140 megawatts which doubled the Islands electricity output and allowed the development of aluminium, chemical, and other energy intensive industries beginning in the mid 1930s that helped feed the Japanese war machine. [10]

1945 to Present - Taiwan was given to Chiang Kai Shek’s Kuomingtang (KMT) government for their cooperation against Japan in World War II by Allies at the Cairo Conference in 1943. The KMT occupation began in late 1945. On February 28, 1947 Taiwanese discontent burst into open rebellion which spread from Taipei all over the Island. In the repression that followed the KMT armies massacred 10,000 to 30,000 Taiwanese. The number of Aborigines killed in this and the subsequent "White Terror" is still not known due government policies which keep much of the documents secret. Martial law was declared which didn’t end until 1987.

Taiwan’s Lack of Recognition and Taiwan’s First Nations:
International Geopolitical context
International politics have had very broad and unique implications to Taiwan’s Aboriginal Peoples. Their situations are complicated and obscured by the pariah status of the
Taiwan due to the unresolved nature of the Chinese Civil War. Though the military situation has generally amounted to little more than posturing, save a few artillery exchanges, with occasional sabre-rattling for over the 50 years, diplomatic skirmishing is constant. With the ROC attempting to use whatever means possible to achieve international relationships "diplomatic and otherwise". [11] Toward this end Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples have served as one channel for backdoor relations a fact undoubtedly not lost on Beijing. This is sort of squabbling is common with Beijing attempting to block any venue such as the WTO and World Health Organisation. For example at international sporting events Taiwanese athletes compete under the silly name "Chinese Taipei" even if they are Aboriginal.

An example of Aboriginals as backdoor diplomatic tool is the Taiwan Canada Aboriginal Cultural Festival held in the spring of 1999.   This festival was opened with an address by the premier of Taiwan Vincent Siew which gives an indication of the importance attached to it by the Taiwan government. In an interview regarding this festival I conducted with Mark McDowell of the Canadian trade office in Taipei he said that the idea that Taiwan’s Aboriginal Peoples were diplomatic tools for the Taiwan government was hard to deny. [This opinion was personal and not in an official capacity.]

International forums as has been used effectively by Canada’s First Nations. For example the March 1999 condemnations of Canadian government policies for it’s pursuit of extinguishment of Native title and other things related to the International Covenant of Political and Social Rights, discriminatory provisions of the Indian Act by were brought before the UN by Canadian Aboriginal Women such as Sandra Lovelace etc. all exert moral (though not legal) pressure on the Canadian government and have sometimes led to progressive changes. However the People’s Republic of China has interfered on several occasions sometimes successfully blocking Taiwan First Nations attempts to participate in various international fora. This continued interference lead delegates at an June 1999 International Aboriginal Rights conference in Taipei to adopt the following resolution;
"That all the participants of the International Symposium on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples give support and solidarity to the Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan to attend those forums and conferences which are attended by the world family of Indigenous Peoples, to discuss those matters regarding Indigenous Peoples and their communities and;
Furthermore we call upon those in authority to give support during this United Nations decade of the Indigenous Peoples, to ensure Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan join with the family of the worlds of Indigenous Peoples as they gather at the United Nations and other International Fora." [12]

Access to more international forums would allow Taiwan First Nations some much needed leverage against the national government. So the Taiwan government makes use of First Nations as "Pragmatic Diplomacy" tools and isn’t subject to the international pressures that might improve the aboriginal Peoples ability to affect the Taiwan government and Taiwan society’s views. Taiwan Aboriginal Peoples are thus limited in their ability to influence international opinion and are denied venues to affect their destinies.

Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples have been buffeted by the machinations of outside powers for the greater part of four centuries.  Today’s they are caught in the often troubled relations to between Washington , Taipei, and Beijing. A situation that further adds to their difficulties and marginalisation.

The origins of Taiwan’s Aboriginal Peoples are a contentious and politically charged issue due to the Taiwan’s Independence issue. If they are from what is now PRC territory this is used as part of the "One China" rhetoric. If they are Malay-Polynesian or Ainu Aboriginal people from
Japan then this plays well for the Independence movement. This controversy is similar in some regards in tone to the ongoing Pennewick man debate in the USA.
This is also useful in the marginalisation of Indigenous Rights because of "the we all came from elsewhere" logic is useful for rationalising conquest and resulting settler dominance. Taiwan’s Rukai First Nation says that their ancestors descended from the hundred step snake (species: Agkistrodon acutus). This in the author’s opinion is the most valid since it makes clear that the Rukai are from this land and have reverence for it. Given the massive environmental damage inflicted on
Taiwan by colonisation the same cannot concern cannot be attributed to the newcomers collectively.

Land and Economic Development
Taiwan is an island of about 36,000 square kilometres and has 21.5 million people making it the second most densely populated country in the world after Bangladesh. Land rights are therefore a very contentious issue. Prior to colonisation Taiwan Aboriginal peoples lived through hunting and shifting agriculture.

During the Chinese colonial period, the subjugated First Nations had a system of land rights, known as secondary rents, under the Ching Dynasty. This was to maintain their loyalty so they could be used militarily against the frequently rebellious Taiwanese Han settlers and against the still independent First Nations. However this system of land rights was not that effective and many
Aboriginals lost whatever title they had through debt, or fraud.

Taiwan was a marginal colonial frontier area in Ching policies and was to be maintained at minimal cost [13]Also the containment policies was a security measure to prevent Ming loyalists from using the rugged mountains as bases from which to launch rebellions against the Ching Dynasty which was considered a foreign government by many Han Chinese settlers.

Ching policies changed from containment to invasion in the mid 1800’s as populations pressures increased, and Western military actions against Eastern TFN challenged Chinese sovereignty claims over the whole of Taiwan. The Treaty of Tienjin (1858) which concluded the Second Opium War forced open some of Taiwan’s harbours to western traders anxious to purchase camphor, a lucrative export to the industrialising West. Camphor was used in a host of medicinal products as well celluloid, and explosives production. The trees from which it came grew abundantly on the lands of the mountain First Nations. These exports of camphor were ironically in part to pay for improvements to Taiwan’s defences against Western aggression. Aboriginal resistance against these incursions was vigorous and resulted the deaths of over 500 Chinese soldiers in 1886 and 400 in 1887 [14]. For example one engagement in this period saw Aboriginals in a night attack wipe out 180 Chinese soldiers save one servant boy who hid in some grass. As consequence of such determined resistance camphor exports plummeted fell from 1.23 million pounds in 1881 to 399 pounds in 1885[15] not recovering to these levels until some 5 years later.

Under Japanese occupation the Western Plains First Nations lost the limited land rights that had existed under the Ching Dynasty. The Eastern First Nations were subject to systematic invasion, and later of limited settlement. However the often tenuous nature of Japanese control combined with frequent nature of Aboriginal uprisings limited settlement considerably. Under the Japanese the subjugated mountain First Nations had land usage rights but not ownership.
In 1899 the Japanese colonial government made camphor a monopoly. The proceeds from the camphor trade would account for over 10 percent of colonial revenues in the early infrastructure development period of 1895 to 1905.[16]

Japanese Aboriginal policy was an improvised as they went along depending on the levels of Aboriginal resistance. In the north where resistance by the Taroko, Sediq, and Atayal Nations was strong, the Japanese used military expeditions and enforced blockades in attempts to restrict these First Nations’ access to gunpowder and firearms. Eventually a noose strategy was developed in which a "guardline" was systematically advanced through military means often related to camphor production demands. This guardline consisted of outposts at close regular intervals that were protected by electric fences, mines, barbed wire etc and connected by telephone. Movement across it was strictly controlled, "the sentinals have full permission to use their rifles whenever their challenge is disregarded. The line was advanced into the native territory whenever an opportunity arose, and then the inhabitant who had been ‘suppressed’ were then ‘tamed’…"[17]  The last major uprising was by the Sediq Nation in 1930. The Japanese retaliation included the massacre of over 900 Sediq which included the use of poison gas, aerial bombing, artillery, and Aboriginal auxillaries from other tribes.

Subjugated tribes were subject to assimilation efforts including education in Japanese language and various other forced assimilation measures as well they were used in fighting the still independent Nations. Outside settlement was limited due in part to frequent Aboriginal uprisings despite of government incentives that began in the 1920s. Mass re-locations were an important part of the Japanese government pacification strategies. These involved forced relocation of remote villages to more controllable areas.   Beginning in 1920 and lasting 15 years these eventually affected over half of the mountain dwelling Aboriginal people and caused considerable social upheaval and fragmentation among those involved. [18] After WWII the KMT government continued the Japanese policies of forced resettlement of remote villages to more controllable areas. The social upheaval caused has parallels with the forced re-locations of Canadian Aboriginal peoples by the government as described in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.[19]

Upon gaining control of Taiwan in 1945 the KMT government "claimed" the forests and mountains thus making the Aborigines’ traditional way of life prohibited.[20] So woodcutting and hunting became forms of burglary in the government’s eyes. In short, many Aborigines’ traditional ways became illegal.

Furthermore under KMT occupation the First Nations lost much of their remaining lands to Chinese settlement, fraudulent or intentionally complex land registration procedures. As well the destruction of much of the old growth forests during the frenetic logging of the 1950s to 1970s seriously degraded much of their lands. For example Taiwan’s once plentiful deer were hunted to near extinction by the end of the 1960s.

Today the government officially states that over 240,000 hectares or some 240 square kilometers are reserved for ethnic peoples [21]. However title is retained by the government not the Aboriginal peoples. This represents a mere one or two percent of the 17000 or more square kilometers still held by Aboriginal peoples before the Japanese conquest began in 1895 [See map above historical view] Even on these remaining lands illegal occupation is widespread, and most areas of economic worth have been developed. [22]

The "Pingchuanhui" is a small but politically influential anti-aboriginal organisation representing the interests of Han Chinese landowners in the mountainous areas of Taiwan. It was formed in the 1980s in reaction to rising local Taiwan Aboriginal political power to protect their often illegal occupation of Aboriginal lands. It’s rhetoric includes describing Taiwan’s Aboriginals as the offspring of " ‘black dwarf’ or ‘bird-devil savage’ slave labourers" brought here by the Dutch and Spanish.[23]

Taiwan First Nation lands have been heavily exploited for hydroelectricity production, marble, cement, and tourism. For example Taiwan’s three of the top tourist attractions are Alishan Mountain on the lands of the Tsou Nation, the Taroko Gorge on the lands of the Taroko Nation, and Sun Moon Lake on lands of the Thao Nation. The Sun Moon Lake Hydropower Project supplied much of the electricity for Taiwan’s rapid industrialisation during the 1930 to 1960s. Today Aboriginal cultures are put on display at so-called Cultural parks.

Figure 2. (TFNCoke.jpeg)  Aboriginal peoples go better with Coke. Note the roller coaster and Maya style temple in this exotic mishmash of a promotion voucher for the Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village in Nantou County. [24]

Industrialisation and colonisation have resulted in extensive environmental degradation and territory loss. The most extreme case being that of the Tao (Yami) Nation who have 200,000 often leaky barrels of nuclear waste contaminating their homeland of Lanyu Island which the 1997 Taiwan Human Rights Association Annual Report terms "environmental colonialism".  [25]

The government still lays claim to all public lands in one way or another. Aboriginal farmers often work government allocated lands, a factor that weakens them since they are then dependent on government goodwill. The government holds control over large areas of former aboriginal territory.  This land is supposed held in trust however the small amount of territory held by aboriginal Peoples indicates the contrary.  Increasing pressure for vacation areas for the urban population and demands for greater gravel production etc. will place further demands on their traditional lands.  An example of this is the construction of 12 new Gulf courses along the East Coast as part of a "development" plan along with the construction of four lane highway all done without aboriginal input into the decision processes but such is the KMT way with regards to Taiwan’s Aboriginal Peoples.

Another telling example of the political economy of aboriginal land rights is the case of Asia cement continued occupation of Taroko Nation lands near Hualien.  Today 27 years after this began these lands are still being destroyed for Asia Cement gain.  In contrast when Aborigines held protests over land rights in 1991, 1993 and 1994, two of the protest organisers, Reverend Mayau Kumu and Mr. Iciang Parod, both members of the Amis tribe, were each sentenced to a year in prison in 1995.  The well connected corporations can steal land with impunity but Aboriginal Peoples assertion of their land rights is repressed.

An quick glance at some financial figures suggests why Asia Cement’s long term illegal occupation of Taroko First Nation lands is completely ignored in the mass media. Asia Cements’ "tycoon" owner is listed #188 with assets of $US2.6 billion on the Forbes list of top 500 richest men [27] "At the end of 1998, Far Eastern's 94 companies, including six listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, generated sales of $4.6 billion and a $131 million profit" The business media understandably glamorises him as shown by the following:
"In implementing U.S.-style management techniques, Douglas Hsu is strengthening his empire and his claim to be a visionary among Taiwan's second-generation tycoons"
continues the article at the Asia website.[27]
In contrast the Taroko people are a small Tribe of 5000 with minimal influence in Taiwan’s political economy. The outcome is hardly surprising.

Much like their origins Taiwan Aboriginal identity is a politically charged issue. Prior to the 1990’s they were legally referred to as " mountain compatriots", and they were forced to use Chinese names and other forced assimilation policies. However successful pressuring, in the 1980s and 1990s, by Aboriginal groups lead to changes that allowed them use their own Aboriginal names in legal and government administrative matters.

The First Nations are divided somewhat arbitrarily into 9 tribes which lump together various groups under one heading. The Sediq, Taroko, and Atayal Nations are officially classified as the Atayal tribe while the Thao Nation is thrown in with the Tsou Nation.

Chinese and foreign attitudes have traditionally been quite prejudice. The Chinese referred to the subjugated Aborigines as shu fan or "cooked" while the still independent ones were known as sheng fan or "raw" meaning uncivilised barbarians. Foreign missionaries such as the Canadian Presbyterian missionary George Mackay uses the term always uses "savages" to describe independent Aborigines in his 1896 book "From Far Formosa". Until 1984, the Wufong myth was taught as history in elementary schools. This myth holds that during the Ching Dynasty a Chinese official sacrificed his life and stopped the Aborigines from head-hunting. This has resulted in majority prejudice and in psychological harm to Aboriginal school children. [28]

Today their representations in the mass media are largely of highly stereotyped "singing and dancing natives in the mountains", a little wild even.  These conform with and reinforce the majority stereotypes and are used extensively in advertising, and popular music. The Han Chinese are generally very ignorant of Aboriginal Rights. A common response to any general questions about Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples is they can sing and dance very well, they like to drink, or they are lazy. This is prevalent even amongst the so-called educated segments of the population. In part this is a reflection of majority prejudices and also a function of the relative lack of political power of Taiwan’s First Nations.

Political Organisation:
Taiwan might be considered in a similar state to Canada in the late 1960s since it has only recently emerged from systematic state totalitarian repression in 1987. The KMT’s "White Terror" police repression of the late 1940s to 1960s resulted in several TFN individuals being imprisoned or organised for political reasons such as attempting to organise independent organisations (Canada’s First Nations suffered under severe repression of the government’s Indian Act and were effectively under the Indian Act banned from organising legal cases from 1927 to 1951) As a result they lacks any strong autonomous or semiautonomous national level organisations such as the Assembly of First Nations or Grand Council of the Cree in part due to the recent date of  political freedom.

According to Boris Voyer, a Canadian of mixed French and Cree ancestory, who was involved with Taiwan’s Aboriginal rights work during the  early and mid 1990, internal disputes have plagued many Taiwanese aboriginal organisations further limiting their effectiveness.  A good example according to Voyer is the Alliance of Taiwan Aborigines; factions sometimes were more concerned with their internal political positions than with the important external issues facing them.  This infighting says Voyer led him to give up his participation in this movement.  Though this is only one persons viewpoints it is largely consistent with views expressed elsewhere.

The fractured nature of Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples is due also to external factors include divisions between various, often competing, Christian denominations, alliances to KMT or opposition political parties. Intergenerational divisions between the elders are further strengthened by the fact that younger generations are often unable to speak their native languages while the elders often cannot speak Chinese. The impact of Taiwan’s modern consumer society is powerful as FN youth are often are more familiar with Pokemon and Hollywood movies than with their traditions.

 As well traditional shamans and religious activities are fading due to the conversion of over 70 percent to Christianity of one sort or another. In addition intertribal differences further this process of fragmentation. Churches have taken over much of what were once indigenous functions providing education, health care, social organisation etc. [29]

 Domestic Political Representation:
Under the ROC’s constitution the Aboriginal peoples have 6 seats reserved National Legislature. This leads to a situation in which the larger tribes dominate well the smaller ones are unrepresented, a situation that has lead the Bunan Nation to issue a "Red Paper" for major reforms to the government’s Aboriginal policies.

Currently of the 6 seats, 4 are 4 KMT, 1 DPP, and one an independent. The KMT has been accused of widespread corrupt election practices particularly votebuying where amounts of NT$10,000 (CDN$500) are used to rig the outcomes.[30] It is also a common complaint that promises made to Aboriginals are seldom conveniently forgotten after election time and their policies are largely empty gestures without substance such as land rights. Regarding the March 18, 2000 Presidential election candidates largely , Alice Takewa-tan of the Bunun Tribe said "…They should make some effort to understand Aboriginal Peoples instead of showing their faces during some Aboriginal annual festivals wearing out Aboriginal vests" [31]

Churches have become centers of political activity. In particular, the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan (PCT) has been a harsh critic of government policies and is a central figure in the Aboriginal Rights movement. This has some parallels with Latin American "Liberation Theology" in which Roman Catholic clergy have been important in the struggle for the rights of Aboriginal peoples and the poor. The PCT has been a staunch advocate of Taiwan’s independence something which didn’t endear it with the martial law period KMT regime. [32]

The Council of Aboriginal Affairs was started in 1996. It is a cabinet level organisation with several Aboriginals on it. However it is subject to to political and legal regulation that make it relatively toothless and more for political show than for Aboriginal Rights. According to several activists I have talked to it is common as a PR exercise for the government by opposition such as Peter Huang of the Taiwan Human Rights Association and Yvonne Lin of the Aboriginal Cultural Promotion Association also considers it a government tool.

One of the CAA’s major functions seems to be "pragmatic diplomacy" related overseas exchanges such the visit of the CAA leadership to a 1999 AFN Business conference in Vancouver and choreographing cultural festivals such as the aforementioned Taiwan-Canada Aboriginal Cultural Festival. The bad quality of the government’s earthquake relief efforts in Aboriginal areas following the September 21, 1999 earthquake has caused considerable anger and led to several protests over alleged discrimination. He De Fe founded the Taiwan Aboriginal Rights Association in 1984 and is noted singer whose songs are often sharp political and social commentaries. He commented on the hypocrisy of the CAA and other governmental institutions:
"Now we have all those township mayors, representatives on both local and central levels, and a Council of Aboriginal Affairs at the Cabinet level that are Aborigines. But what we have is
more compromises, more cover-ups…Aboriginal officials can spend NT$30,000 dining with their indigenous guests from foreign countries, but are reluctant to buy hoses for mountainside
Aborigines. Do you think the fate of the Aborigines has changed?"[33]

Taiwan’s First Nations have began to remerge politically over the last years. No longer independent and self sufficient, they are now small marginalised factions in the political economy of the modern Nation State known as
Taiwan. As evidenced by the use of their music in 1998 and 2000 KMT election commercials, or as the long time political and human rights campaigner, Linda Arrigo describes how Taiwan’s independence movement views them in some respects "poster children for independence". Their marginalised position reflected in the frequent use of the familiar stereotyped images for commercial purposes with "singing and dancing" natives in traditional dress smiling happily while dancing or a warrior dramatically bounding through the forest and then answering his cellular phone in a Mitsubishi Truck commercial. "Shut up and be ethnic" seems an appropriate phrase for their situation.

The Aboriginal Peoples of Taiwan face an uncertain future. Taiwan’s accession process to the WTO has opened Taiwan’s previously protected agricultural sector to foreign competition. This has caused considerable hardship for Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples with many small Aboriginal farms going bankrupt. [34] Furthermore the importation of labour from the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and recently agreed to, Vietnam has brought 286,805 labourers into direct competition with the 195,000 Aboriginal people of working age.[35] The effect of this is to drive down working conditions and salaries for Taiwan’s Aboriginal people.

The March 2000 election of President Chen Shui-bien will not major shift in the policies of trade liberalisation that adversely impacted disproportionately Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples. The President’s proposals were dismissed by Isak Afu, an Aboriginal Rights activist, as an entry in a fiction "composition contest" without substance or details. [36]

"While exploration, conquest, pacification, and at times
segregation, containment, or relocation had formerly alternated with one another, now subjugation, patronization, and intolerance have been clothed in the forms of political co-optation, economic domination, forced or induced cultural assimilation, social prejudice, and welfare tokenism under the prevailing standards of integrationist orientation"[37]

1) Pg. 36, Knapp, Ronald G. China’s
Island Frontier: Studies in the Historical Geography of Taiwan. University of Hawaii Press 1980. Reprinted by SMC Publishing 1995.

2)1996 US State Department’s Report on Human Rights, Taiwan Section.
3)  China News newspaper,
July 13, 1998.
4) Hsu,
Matsu. Culture Self, and Adaption: the Psychological Anthropology of Two Malayo-Polynesian Groups in Taiwan. The Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, [Taiwan], 1991.

5) Pg. 14. Hsu, Wen-Hsiang. Edited by Ronald G. Knapp. "China’s Island Frontier: Studies in the Historical Geography of Taiwan." (The University Press of Hawaii, 1980. Reprinted by SMC Publishing Inc., 1995)
6) Pg. 14, Hsu, Wen-hsiang, 1980.
Citing Nakamura Takashi "
Taiwan ni okeru shikagawa to snon Inppon yushutsu ni tsuite" [Deerskins in Taiwan and their export to Japan], "Yamato bunka"33 (1953) pg. 101-132.
7) pg. 23. Knapp, Ronald G. Knapp. China’s
Island Frontier: Studies in the Historical Geography of Taiwan. University of Hawaii Press 1980. Reprinted by SMC Publishing 1995.
8) Japanese Census of 1904, pg. 199. Takekoshi, Yosaburo. Japanese Rule in
Formosa. Translated by George Braithwaite. Longmans, Green and Co., 1907. Reprinted by SMC Publishing Inc. 1996
9) pg. 161. Rutter, Owen. Through
Formosa: an Account of Japan’s Island Colony. T Fisher Unwin Ltd., 1923. Reprinted by SMC Publishing 1995, 1990.
10)  "The Schemes of Production: Taiwan’s development 1895 to 1945. (Rainbow Sign Publishing Company, 1997)
Taipei Taiwan. Pg. 258.] This historical context of Taiwan’s industrialisation first as a Japanese colony and then as a recipient of massive American aid during the 1950s and 1960s is often ignored in much analysis of Taiwan’s economic history.
11)  This quote comes from an
October 16, 1999 interview by Vice President Lien Chan on CNN. It is a reiteration of ROC government policy.
12)  Dated
June 21, 1999, International Aboriginal Rights Conference in Taipei, see Taiwan Aboriginal Rights Webpage].
13)  pg. 5.Shepherd, John Robert. Statecraft and Political Economy on the
Taiwan Frontier 1600-1800. SMC Publishing, 1995.
14)  pg. 252. Davidson, James W. The
Island of Formosa: Past and Present. Macmillan and Company and Kelly and Walsh Ltd., 1903. Reprinted by SMC Publishing 1992.
15)  Ibid., pg. 442.
16)  Pg. 53 & 55. Ka, Chih-Ming. Japanese Colonialism in
Taiwan: Land Tenure, Development, and Dependency 1895-1945. Westview Press, 1995, Reprinted by SMC Publishing Inc., 1996
17)  Pg. 123, Rutter, 1923
18)  Pg. 25, Hsu,
Matsu. 1991.
19)  see report of Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (vol. 1 sec. 1 to 1.2)
20)  pg. 107, Hsu,
Matsu. 1991.
21)  Ministry of the Interior, ROC government webpage. URLLLl
22) "Report Of
Alliance Of Taiwan Aborigines Presentation To The United Nations Working Group On Indigenous Populations" by Alliance of Taiwan Aborigines. July 13, 1993. Posted at the Fourth World Documentation project at:

23)  pg. 8, Martin Williams. "Pingchuanhui-The Face of Taiwanese Racism". July 22, 1999, Taipei Times newspaper.
24)  This is a voucher booklet I collected during the summer of 1999. It was included numerous discounts to various amusement parks and other tourist attraction.
25)   Greenpeace. "Taiwan Power Company Misrepresents Radioactivity of Nuclear Waste to be sent to
North Korea." May 15, 1997 press release. This report details some of the high level waste such as ion exchangers that are misleadingly described as low level waste by the Taiwan Government’s Taipower electricity utility.
26)  List from Forbes magazine reprinted at:

27)  Cheng, Allan T. "Far Eastern goes West " from Asia Inc. webpage ,dated August 1999,]
28)  pg. 68, Hsu,
Matsu. 1991.
29)  The figure of 70% is commonly thrown about in various publications. See pg. 22, Hsu,
Matsu, 1991, for reference purposes.
30)  Igung Shiban (Tien Chun-Chou). "Our Experience of the Incursion of Cement Companies onto the Land of the Taroko People,
Hwalien, Taiwan"  This is a report to the United Nations
 Working Group on Indigenous Populations dated
July 25, 1997. It is available at http:\\\taiwanfns\tfn\mainpg.htm
Chu, Monique. Pg. 4 "Aborigines shoot down candidates’ proposals"],  March 7, 2000. Taipei Times newspaper.
33) Yu Sen Lun "Quake politics reveals Aboriginal discontent".
November 8, 1999. Taipei Times newspaper
34) Presybyterian Church of Taiwan’s Occasional Bulletin, March, April 1999 Volume XVI, No.2.
35) The statistics come from the following sources.
Lou, Stephanie. "Jobless Rate high among Aborigines",
September 2, 1999, Taipei Times newspaper.
Yu Sen-lun. "Vietnamese labor coming to
Taiwan", November 2, 1999, Taipei Times newspaper
Chu, Monique."Aborigines shoot down candidates’ proposals" pg. 4, Taipei Times Newspaper, March 7, 2000.
37) Cheng-Feng Shih of
Tamkang University. "Legal Status of the Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan". This paper was presented at the June, 1999, International Aboriginal Rights Conference in Taipei. See:
Davidson, James W. The
Island of Formosa: Past and Present. Macmillan and Company and Kelly and Walsh Ltd., 1903. Reprinted by SMC Publishing 1992.

Hsu, Matsu. Culture Self, and Adaption: the Psychological Anthropology of Two Malayo-Polynesian Groups in Taiwan. The Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, [Taiwan], 1991.

Ka, Chih-Ming. Japanese Colonialism in Taiwan: Land Tenure, Development, and Dependency 1895-1945. Westview Press, 1995, Reprinted by SMC Publishing Inc., 1996

Knapp, Ronald G. Knapp. China’s Island Frontier: Studies in the Historical Geography of Taiwan. University of Hawaii Press 1980.
Reprinted by SMC Publishing 1995.

Mackay, L. George. "From Far Formosa". (Oliphant Anderson
and Ferrier {Edinburgh and London}, 1896, Reprinted by SMC Publishing Inc. 1998 and 1991)

Rutter, Owen. Through Formosa: an Account of Japan’s Island Colony. T Fisher Unwin Ltd., 1923. Reprinted by SMC Publishing 1995, 1990.

Shepherd, John Robert. Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier 1600-1800. SMC Publishing, 1995.

Takekoshi, Yosaburo. Japanese Rule in Formosa. Translated by George Braithwaite. Longmans, Green and Co., 1907. Reprinted by SMC Publishing Inc. 1996.

"The Schemes of Production: Taiwan’s development 1895 to 1945." .Rainbow Sign Publishing Company, 1997. Taipei Taiwan.

Afo, Isak. "Exploitative mythologies used to destroy Aborigines' sense of self."
January 6, 2000, Taipei Times newspaper

Hu, Lawrence. Exodus: the Aboriginal people's movement. October 31, 1999. Taipei Times newspaper.

Williams, Martin. "Pingchuanhui-The Face of Taiwanese Racism". July 22, 1999, Taipei Times newspaper

Yu Sen-lun. "Indigenous tribe handed back patch of traditional lands". November 17, 1999. Taipei Times newspaper.

Yu Sen Lun "Quake politics reveals Aboriginal discontent". November 8, 1999. Taipei Times newspaper

Formosa Aboriginal News Magazine. This program airs every Saturday for one hour the Taiwan Government’s Public Television Service. See:

Human Resources:
Conversations and e-mail correspondence with:
-Martin Williams of the
University of Technology in Syndey Australia.
-Peter Ng, President of the
Taiwan Human Rights Association.
- Yvonne Lin of the Aboriginal Cultural Promotion Association
- Boris Voyer, Aboriginal Rights Activist.
- Mark McDowell, Canadian Trade Office in
Taipei, he has co-ordinated several Aboriginal cultural exchanges.

Internet Sources:
Cheng-Feng Shih of
Tamkang University. "Legal Status of the Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan". This paper was presented at the June, 1999, International Aboriginal Rights Conference in Taipei. See:


"Report Of Alliance Of Taiwan Aborigines Presentation To The United Nations Working Group On Indigenous Populations" by Alliance of Taiwan Aborigines. Posted at the Fourth World Documentation project at:

 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples see:

"Save Orchid Island- Voice of Yami". By the Reverend Shiyman Feaien, a speech for the Third No-nukes Asia Forum, 1995. It was translated by Katharine Harwood.. Currently posted at:

"Taipei Resolutions on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples". From the International Conference on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, June 18–20, 1999. From

"Taiwan-400 Years of History and Outlook". An abridgement of texts written by Dr. Kiyoshi Ito, translated and edited by Walter Chen. The last two chapters have been added by the editor. From
Access Date:
August 9, 1999

"Taiwan Languages" from Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor. Copyright © 1996, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc. From

Return to Taiwan Aboriginal Rights Webpage