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  • The Making of Ethnic Movements in Taiwan

The Making of Ethnic Movements in Taiwan

Origins and Impacts

Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao


English , 2019/04 Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, CUHK

Tags: Ethnic Movements, Taiwan

215 x 140 mm , 24pp ISBN : 978-962-441-241-3

  • US$2.50


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Beginning in the 1980s, the ethnic landscape of Taiwan began to change. Democratization drastically altered the long-existing situation of “minority rule” by political elites exiled from mainland China to a situation of “majority rule”, whereby local Taiwanese were finally able to enjoy legitimate political rights and civil liberties. The definition of ethnicity was also reconceptualized. The three sociologically and anthropologically defined “ethnic minorities” were then recreated, i.e., the indigenous Austronesian peoples, the Hakka, and the new immigrants from Southeast Asia.

The period also saw the rise of ethnic movements. On the one hand, the indigenous peoples and the Hakka organized their own respective ethnic movements to demand that the government protect their ethnic rights and upgrade their position in mainstream society. On the other, Taiwan’s local civil society organizations, such as concerned non-profit organizations (NPOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) assisted and protected two other new minority groups, namely, marriage and labour immigrants from Southeast Asia. Accordingly, different forms of political pressure and various policy impacts have been observed over the years: while the self-mobilized ethnic advocacy movements of the indigenous peoples and the Hakka were created to force the government to make policy changes, the service NPOs/NGOs were established to help marriage and labour immigrants mostly operate under existing government policies and regulations.

The Taiwan experience, as judged by the ethnic movements of the indigenous peoples and the Hakka, has proven that only when minority groups mobilize themselves are they able to eventually push the state into making necessary concessions and policy changes.

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