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?

Reflections on the 2022 Taiwan Local Elections: Demise of Taiwan Identity Politics?

Written by Chia-hung Tsai. From the perspective of identity politics, the 2022 local election results are puzzling. Tsai Ing-wen remains popular, partly because the DPP government successfully contains the Covid-19 pandemic in general while maintaining economic growth. China’s military exercises as revenge for the visit of the US speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, seem to drag down Chinese’ image to a lower level. These achievements and events should boost Taiwanese identity and hence favour the DPP candidates. However, the DPP was not credited for the Covid-19 measures, economic growth, and closer relations with the US. Instead, the DPP was criticized for delayed nomination, mismanagement of quarantine policies, and long-standing income inequality. In other words, identity did not play a big part in this election.

How Europe looks at Taiwan – and how Taiwan fails to send out a clear message

Written by Gunter Schubert. The Taiwanese people and their political representatives must decide if they want to forge a national consensus on their relationship with China and communicate this clearly in Europe and beyond – or if they would rather prefer to adhere to an unclarified stance on their national identity and the concept of ‘unification’, giving in to uncompromising viewpoints and undermining any chances as gaining the lasting support of the countries that cherish democracy and admire their struggle for survival.

Whiteness Intertwines with Taiwaneseness: Taiwanese Heavy Metal Music and its Decolonial Paradox

Written by Mark Hsiang-Yu Feng. It is common to see that many Taiwanese musicians employ Western compositional concepts, theories, and approaches to express Taiwanese identity through music and musical performance. For example, during the 2020 presidential and general election in Taiwan, Legislator Freddy Lim, the vocalist of a renowned Taiwanese metal group called ChthoniC, gave a live concert called Taiwan Victory to congregate voters and solicit votes in front of Taiwan’s Presidential House. Many Taiwanese people showed interest in his performance, as he sang heavy metal songs to gather voters and fight against political infiltration from China. After the concert, The Guardian’s report highlights Lim’s unique career trajectory from a musician to a politician in Taiwan and the creativity of bringing music to the campaign. 

With What Difficulty Indigenous LGBTQ Groups Struggles in Taiwan

Written by Remaljiz Mavaliv. Translated by Yi-Yu Lai. Taiwan is a beautiful country with diverse cultures, the Indigenous peoples of which are often viewed as significant worldwide highlights. Currently, sixteenth Indigenous groups are officially recognised in Taiwan. However, this does not protect them from discrimination and unfair resource distribution. After successive colonial regimes arrived in Taiwan one after another, colonialism and imperialism profoundly influenced the Indigenous population, and the political repercussions have persisted to the present day.  

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.

Shinzo Abe: A True Friend of Taiwan? “Post-”colonial Critique on Taiwan’s National Identity Forming

Written by Ti-han Chang. 11:30 am on the 08th of July in Japan, unexpected news of Shinzo Abe 安倍晉三 being shot during his public speech travelled quickly on the international news media. However, the very fact of this happening has profoundly shaken societies in the East Asian region. For Japan, it appears there is a need to reflect deeper on the homogeneous nature of its internal political structure; for other countries in the region, on their indissociable geopolitical dynamics with their close neighbour over the last few decades.

Ukraine War and Conscripts: Lessons Taiwan Should Not Learn

Written by Shih-Yueh Yang. By preserving the Chinese identity, Taiwan can mitigate its political differences with the Mainland and thus be the sustenance of the whole Chinese people for a free, democratic, and equally prosperous China. With such a great and just cause for the future of the Chinese nation, Taiwan will get its strongest defence, and the danger of wars will also be minimized in the first place.

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