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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 27th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The population in Taiwan is approximately 23.4 million, spread unevenly across a total land area of about 36,000 km2; it is the seventeenth most densely populated country in the world with a population density of about 650 inhabitants per square kilometer.

The original population of the island of Taiwan and its associated islands, i.e. not including Kinmen and the Matsu Islands, consisted of Taiwanese aborigines, speaking Austronesian languages and sharing mitochondrial DNA contribution with island peoples of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Immigration of Han Chinese to the Penghu islands started as early as the 13th century, while settlement of the main island occurred from the 16th century, stimulated by the import of workers from Fujian by the Dutch in the 17th century. According to governmental statistics, over 95% of the Republic of China’s population is now made up of Han Chinese, while 2.3% are Taiwanese aborigines. Half the population are followers of one or a mixture of 25 recognized religions. Around 93% of the religious population are followers of a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, while a minority 4.5% are followers of Christianity.

During the 20th century the population of Taiwan rose more than sevenfold, from about 3 million in 1905 to more than 22 million by 2001. This high growth was caused by a combination of factors, very high fertility rates up to the 1960s, and low mortality rates, and a surge in population as the Chinese Civil War ended, and the Kuomintang (KMT) forces retreated, bringing an influx of 1.2 to 2 million soldiers and civilians to Taiwan in 1948–1949.

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Above was a long way of explaining that mainland Han Chinese have colonized the Taiwan Island and brutally eliminated the Indigenous Peoples. The remaining Indigenous Peoples of the island live in the mountains in rather small communities that include also 30 townships.
Taking the population of Taiwan as 23 million with about 2.3% of them Indigenous this gives
as a raw number 530,000 Indigenous People that are not uniform culturally or language wise –
so the Taiwanese government was struggling with the idea of defining how many different groupings there are. These are figures for 2016.

In effect already on August 1, 1994, the term “SHANBAO” or Mountain People was dropped from
the Taiwan Constitution in favor of “INDIGENOUS PEOPLE” – a stepto correct the fact that they were not allowed self government.

Then, following the establishment of UNDRIP – the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, IPBR – the Individual Peoples Bill of Rights, on August 1, 2016 – at the 22nd anniversary of the 1994 first step – that was a recognition of the rights of the individual, President Ms. Tsai Ing-wen, “on behalf of the government” expressed the deepest “apology for 400 years of pain and Mistreatment” they have endured. This was a recognition of the peoplehood and soon thereafter it became known in December 12, 2016, that Taiwan recognizes 16 PEOPLES – a decision with implications in the use of natural resources and the distribution of funds thereof – according to traditional customs, and ecological

It also said – “Indigenous peoples” and since December that number of cultural and linguistic
entities is 16 – recognizing thus 16 Peoples with their rights to self government and the right to decide by themselves who belongs to their PEOPLE (Nation?).

THIS IS THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES BASIC LAW OF TAIWAN. These Indigenous Peoples have a guaranteed 9 seats in the TAIWAN legislature and appoint the 30 mayors of the townships mentioned earlier.

It is this recognition of minorities, that in our opinion will allow for backing of Taiwan
in its difficult position versus China.

Globally, there are 5000 languages when talking about he Indigenous as per Prof. Elsa Stamatopoulou who was part of the UN office that promoted the subject in the UN treadmill.

She also mentioned that the subject was brought up already in the League of Nations in 1923.

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