Taiwan’s Executive Yuan today approved a draft bill to abolish the Mongolian & Tibetan Affairs Commission (MTAC), a ministry-level agency responsible for Mongolian and Tibetan affairs by the end of this year. Much of its portfolio has already been transferred to the foreign ministry and the Mainland Affairs Council, leaving it as a primarily cultural promotion agency. Its current staff and portfolio will be absorbed by the Mainland Affairs Council and the Ministry of Culture. The commission maintains the Mongolian and Tibetan Cultural Center in Taipei. Continue reading “Government to abolish Mongolian & Tibetan affairs commission”
Despite President Tsai Ing-wen’s apology to the indigenous peoples in August last year, indigenous rights still have a long way to go in Taiwan. In February this year, the Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) started drafting regulations on defining traditional indigenous territories. These territories expand from current indigenous reserved territories, and are meant to include territories occupied by tribes before foreign invasions.
As most of Taiwan’s current population resides on the western side of the island, the current discussion is only on the 16 government-recognized tribes, who mostly reside on the eastern part of the island and in the Central Mountain Range. Surveys conducted by the CIP during 2002-2007 suggested that traditional indigenous territories are about 180 hectares, or ~50% of Taiwan. The draft CIP created this year, however, only included 80 hectares, as it excluded private properties and land owned by the government and its agencies, most of which were obtained through force and deceit in the last century. Continue reading “Indigenous territories in Taiwan”
On behalf of the Government of Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen today issued a formal apology to the country’s indigenous peoples in a ceremony at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Taiwan is home to about 550,000 indigenous peoples (~2.3% of Taiwan’s population), who research suggests started living on the island about 8,000 years before the Sino-Tibetan Han migration began in the 17th century. They are Austronesian peoples. Much like indigenous peoples in other parts of the world, these native peoples became victims of forced land acquisition, mass murder (some may say genocide), forced cultural assimilation and acculturation, and culture, language, and identity lost when different colonizing powers and populations started arriving on the island. Today, they face economic and social barriers, including a high unemployment rate and substandard education. Continue reading “Taiwan President apologizes to indigenous peoples”
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hauge, the Netherlands today ruled in favor of the Philippines in its case again China over its territorial claims in South China Sea. The tribunal found “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.” The nine-dash line is what the PRC uses to mark its territories and accounts for about 90% of South China Sea.
Circulating a bit on social media, this map on Reddit gives you an idea of how ludicrous Taiwan’s situation is. Admittedly part of the problem comes from Taiwan (holding on to certain claims, refusing to let go of “China”), but the international environment (giving up claims might anger PRC) certainly isn’t helping.
I particularly like one of the comments on the thread:
“You don’t claim our lands? How dare you!”