The Long and Unfinished Fight: The Constitutional Court’s Decision on Pingpu Recognition in Taiwan

Written by Wei-Che Tsai; Translated by Yi-Yu Lai. The case of Indigenous status for Siraya people has challenged Indigenous peoples’ composition and boundaries. Currently, around 580,000 Indigenous peoples are legally recognised in Taiwan. It is estimated that the population of the Pingpu peoples will increase the total number of Indigenous peoples to as high as 980,000 if the Act is declared unconstitutional, although this number may be inflated for political purposes by Taiwan’s Indigenous authorities. As a result, the authorities are worried about this judgement.

An Insider or Outsider? Lessons from the Recognition of Mixed-Background Indigenous and the Pingpu Peoples in Taiwan 

Written By Nikal Kabalan’an (Margaret Yun-Pu Tu). Regarding identity formation in Taiwan, the historical context of colonialism plays a crucial role because the arrival of each foreign ruler has resulted in varying degrees of assimilation. Such a theme has inspired numerous Taiwan Studies scholars who have produced a great number of pertinent works, including “Is Taiwan Chinese?” by Melissa Brown,“Becoming Japanese” by Leo Ching, and “Becoming Taiwanese” by Evan Dawley. One of the contestable issues in this field is the Indigenous status and recognition.

Unsettled Transitional Justices: Indigenous Sovereignty and the Limit of Democracy

Written by Yu Liang (Leeve Palrai). The justice revealed in Siraya’s ruling is in response to the national project of Indigenous transitional justice. Specifically, it responds to the promise of President Tsai Ing-Wen in her 2016 presidential apology that Pingpu groups shall be granted the equal rights and status as fellow Indigenous Taiwanese have. Yet, influential as it is, the idea of indigenous transitional justice in Tsai’s account remains unclear: Who should be held accountable for the erasure of Siraya and other Pingpu groups’ identity and status? When and how did it happen in the first place?

Kuomintang Through the Ages

Written by Pradeek Krishna. The Kuomintang Party (KMT), established in 1912, ruled China from 1927 until 1948 before moving to Taiwan. The origins of the Kuomintang could be traced back to the decline of the Qing Empire. However, the party that held the mantle of the Chinese Revolution and ushered China into an era without Imperial rule had been forced to retreat outside of China. In recent years, the KMT failed to win the presidency in the 2016 and 2020 elections in Taiwan, raising questions over its legitimacy and relevance in a younger world.

Visualizing Transnational Christianity in Cold War Taiwan: Traces and Possibilities 

Written by Joseph W. Ho. Visual cultures – distilled in materials as granular as individual photographs or as broad as cross-cultural ways of seeing war and peace – mediated relationships between image-makers, subjects, and audiences. In the process, people and images constructed modern imaginations of the present while looking toward uncertain futures existing between nations and Christian groups as well as local and international histories.  

Tibetan Diaspora in Taiwan: Who are They and Why They are Invisible (1)

Written by Dolma Tsering. The government’s official website describes Taiwan as a multicultural society. It further stated that in addition to the dominant Han population, Taiwan is home to aboriginals, Malayo-Polynesian and new immigrants that hailed mainly from China and Southeast Asian countries. The Han population constitutes 95 per cent of the total population, followed by new immigrants that constitute 2.6 per cent and the indigenous population with 2.5 per cent. However, what is missing in this description, in particular and generally in the discourse of immigrants and ethnic diversity in Taiwan, is the Tibetan diaspora.

Whiteness and Protestant Christianity in Taiwan 

Written by Yin-An Chen. The connection between Whiteness and Protestant Christianity does not simply result from its relation to Western missionaries but is consolidated by the power of Western Christianity in its theological language, ideology, and hierarchy. In other words, what Whiteness maintains in Protestant Christianity is not about whether white European and American people established Protestant churches—it is about who can talk about God and explain the doctrine. It is about the power of speech and authority instead of skin colour. Whiteness, in this sense, is a method of securing the power of speech and authority. 

Taiwanese Mountains and Plains Indigenous Peoples: Facing Different Trials, Yet the Same Fate

Written by Chen I-Chen. Is Indigeneity a self-evident category? Or is “Indigenous” defined differently by the policies and politics of each nation-state? On June 28, 2022, a constitutional review of the Supreme Court’s debate on the Indigenous Status of the “Plains” peoples (the “Pingpu,” 平埔族群) shed light on the discussion surrounding Taiwan’s national recognition of Indigenous status. The “Plains” peoples, headed by the Siraya, had fought for more than three decades to have their Indigenous status recognised under the category of the “lowland” Indigenous peoples (平地原住民)”. As a crucial result of the long struggle for the Plains peoples’ legal status, the final judgement will be declared no later than this late November.

The Transformation of Taiwan-Japan Relations from a Historical Perspective

Written by Li-Hsuan Cheng. On July 8th 2022, Abe Shinzo, the longest serving prime minister in postwar Japan, was assassinated while campaigning for an LDP candidate in the coming election for  Upper House. While this tragic incident shocked countries worldwide, few societies like Taiwan showed such strong and wide remorse. Even in Japan, where Mr Abe had enjoyed unprecedentedly high and long support, like most leaders of democratic countries, he could not escape scandals and policy failures that eventually damaged his public support. However, despite some criticisms of Abe’s attitude toward war responsibilities in Taiwan, the mainstream society largely held a very favourable view toward him. One obvious reason is the significant progress in the Japan-Taiwan relation during his terms as prime minister.

Post War Flux: Analysing the Fluctuation of Relationships Between Taiwan-Japan in the Post-war Period

Written by Wei-Hsiu Huang. In addition, more complicated multilateral relations are involved in this issue. They are the relations between Japan and the People’s Republic of China, cross-Strait relations, and the Japan-US Alliance. As for the Japan-US Alliance, Japan is obligated to abide by the Japan-US Security Treaty, and the US insisted on a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait relations. To make it clear in the discussion, I will divide the developing process into three periods: the first period from the post-war period to the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Japan and China, the second from the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Japan and China to the democratisation of Taiwan, and the third one from the 1990s to the present. This essay will proceed with an overview and analysis of the complex relationship between Japan and Taiwan in the post-war period.

A new research agenda for late Qing and Japanese colonial Taiwan’s history: Perspectives from East Asian history and World History

Written by Wen-Kai Lin. With the development of Taiwan’s democratisation in the late 1980s, Taiwan historians have been able to transcend the Chinese nationalist historiography of the past Kuomintang government and carry out historical research with Taiwan’s multi-ethnic groups as the equal subjects of historical interpretation. However, many researchers only focus on Taiwan itself, which inevitably ignores Taiwan’s relationship with East Asian history and world history and narrows the broader temporal and spatial significance of Taiwan research. This article attempts to take the exchange of East Asian knowledge of Taiwan’s modern governance from the late Qing Dynasty to the Japanese colonial period as a new research agenda to reveal that the research on Taiwan history is often not only Taiwan history but also a complex manifestation of wider East Asian history and world history.

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