- There are 16 officially recognized indigenous tribes in Taiwan.
- The nation is home to over 510,000 new immigrants, most of whom hail from China and Southeast Asia.
While Taiwan may be described as a predominantly Han Chinese
society, with more than 95 percent of the population claiming
Han ancestry, its heritage is actually much more complex. The
successive waves of Chinese immigrants that began arriving in the
17th century belonged to a variety of subgroups with mutually
unintelligible languages and different customs. Today in Taiwan,
however, distinctions between them have become blurred as
a result of extensive intermarriage and the universal use of
Mandarin. Taiwan has been a melting pot not only of diverse Han
subgroups, but also of indigenous Malayo-Polynesian peoples and
immigrants from all over the world. Recent years, for example,
have seen an influx of new arrivals from China and Southeast
Asia, mostly through marriage. Currently, the number of new
immigrants is over 510,000.
Youngsters enjoy a chair swing ride at Taipei Children’s Amusement Park. (Chin Hung-hao)
There is growing appreciation in Taiwan for the cultural
legacies of the 16 officially recognized Austronesian-speaking
tribes, which constitute a little more than 2 percent of the
population. Public and private organizations are making efforts
to revitalize their languages and cultures, as illustrated by the
launch of Taiwan Indigenous Television and the passage of the
Indigenous Peoples Basic Act.
This convergence and interplay of currents of humanity
in Taiwan have helped transform it into an open-hearted,
forward-looking society that has incorporated diverse elements
of civilization from around the world in a distinctive and