Do Indigenous people in Taiwan experience discrimination?

I find it changing as well. maybe not perfectly, as the change is giving advantages to groups whilst others begin to resent them. this seems a common situationwhen these things happen. that’s why I feel it might be better to do it like abandoned aid. pay up, in full, right quick. get it straightened out and our grandchildren wont even care if they/we are a different culture.

as it is now, lots on money thrown at them and lots of projects that are literally meaningless. it’s a shame to see.

one thing I do like is that the Han Chinese side of Taiwanese culture seems to be getting far less racist and even more inclusive. I view this as an overall great thing. but jealousy is always just around the next corner.

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Even if you don’t like those people, that is not a very nice thing to say!



haha, edited, that’s an awkward one

ps. I do like them.

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What’s wrong with being Gan?

(I think know what you meant. Just sayin’ though. :wink:)

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My observation is that there has always been a more stereotypical view of the indigenous peoples, even those Han Taiwanese people who value, appreciate, and even aspire to indigenous cultures, who tend to have only positive stereotypes towards the indigenous peoples, they are stereotypes none the less. The issue is definitely with the lack of education and exposure.

Once you get to schools and the work place though, it stops just being stereotypes, and sometimes it’s real discrimination. Since all the holidays are geared towards the dominant Han culture, the indigenous peoples have a hard time attending their traditional festivals. At school, the native languages, including Taigi and Hakka, are given less importance than English classes.

Since the rise of right wing media in the US, more and more Taiwanese youth emulates the American right’s views towards minorities. First, it’s suddenly trendy to be anti-PC. So people are saying all kinds of racist things towards the indigenous peoples. Not that no one said those things before, but for a while through out the mid-90s to the late 2000s, I think when people get criticized for making those comments, they’d retract them, and not accuse the others of being PC-police.

Second, it suddenly became trendy to criticize Taiwan’s version of affirmative action, which gives eligible indigenous peoples extra-points for placement exams, 10% for those who can no longer speak and write their native tongue, and 35% for those who can. There is also a 2% of additional quota reserved for indigenous students. So if a school is looking to recruit 60 students, they need to take 2 extra indigenous students. That additional 2% is separated from normal recruitment, so only indigenous students are competing with one another for that extra quota. For students who have a lot less education resources, and had to overcome language barriers, it doesn’t seem particularly unfair. However, I guess that’s where the equality and equity divide comes to play.

If you go to forums where there are lots of young people, the kinds that are filled with Ko Wen-je supporters, it’d be filled with comments like 一分耕耘,1.35 分收穫, or 援助民,所以要加分啊, or random remarks about boozing, or riding wild boars to school. Things that would have been very jarring to read on the internet back in the late 90s, and definitely would have been deleted by a mod.


My limited experience is that this is a big reason why many students hide their aboriginal background, especially when they are in HS and getting ready to go to college. They don’t want to be the target of the resentment for what is often viewed as unfair. And once in college, they don’t want others to think that they wouldn’t have got in if it wasn’t for the extra points given.

That’s messed up.

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A fascinating thread posted by Andrew Kerslake on the latest Indigenous group in Taiwan to petition for formal recognized status: Pazeh/Pazih people, based in part around Puli in Nantou, have followed the Siraya and Kaxabu to push against ROC settler logic and the politics of (non)recognition. This thread might be the best thing I’ve read all day. Recommended!



The Kaxabu language is closely related to Pazeh, so I can imagine how they would want equal recognition following Kaxabu’s example.

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The group that has pushed the furthest seems to be the Siraya with the courts already siding with their petition and siding against current national government nonrecognition.


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We visited a Siraya area a while back, the people didn’t look much different than Han Chinese on the outside , but at least but some of the locals had great knowledge of the local flora and fauna still.

More on the Pazeh/Pazih push for state recognition:



Let’s not kid ourselves here.

Every society has a hierarchy - even those communist or religious ones that claim that there isn’t.

Therefore there’s always going to be discrimination. It is part of the human condition.

So the answer to your question is clearly yes and this is because of us being human. We stereotype or discriminate (whatever is more politically correct.)

Uh, maybe you could bring your claims a little closer to the ground? There are a lot of things happening in Taiwan, and some specifics might help to, you know, flesh out your claims.


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But that doesn’t mean we should accept it. It’s (a) wrong, and (b) often based on ignorance that leads one group to feel superior and the other group inferior.

To give an example, I grew up in the Midwest of the US. People there (not all, of course) truly believe that blacks are intellectually inferior. I actually bought into these lies. Fast forward many years when I attended an engineering school in California. I had a black physics professor who was a jerk but there was no denying his intelligence. And then there was that nerdy black kid who always sat in the front and who would correct the professors when they got an equation wrong. Two random examples out of many that opened my eyes.

In Taiwan, the racism against indigenous people is there and wrong. It should be pointed out as wrong, and people should speak up when, for example, the stereotypes are expressed. The ignorance should be confronted. Certainly, acceptance of the racism because that’s just a part of the human condition is not the right approach.


At the very minimum, each and everyone one of us can learn and understand the issues then discuss them. Public conversations, on scale, are what change this stuff. thankfully it is changing in Taiwan. It has improved hugely. But still not good enough, obviously. Taiwna has a huge class system which extends to sex and race, not just wealth, jobs, habits etc. The push continues. Even if it’s just pointing out simple ignorance based racism like calling a person a drunk aboriginal when someone sees someone with dark skin. This type of racism is fairly rampant and seen on the daily all over the country. That type of stuff can be stamped out by everyday people (society) just by confronting the ignorant and rude and not allowing it it to be socially acceptable.


Accept what? The current hierarchy or how the world works?

The group doesn’t FEEL superior - it IS superior (hence the hierarchy.)

We can’t deny the laws of thermodynamics - why do people insist that can deny the laws of social dynamics?

Stereotyping will always exist :/. Go to Nigeria and see how whites are considered - heck go to South Africa these days!

Since we are sharing personal stories - as a kid my family and I were discriminated in Africa…to the point where people like us were getting killed left and right.

My mother’s culture? She never taught it to us. No point as it’s such a weak culture anyway - more practical to teach the dominant culture. This is the way of things.

I can understand your frustration and through your personal story can somewhat see the personal dilemma


We must work with the laws of nature and attempt to take things from a broader and more objective perspective.

There will always be a hierarchy and thus a superior group.

In taiwan the Han Chinese are arguably the superior group. The fact that they choose to even acknowledge the aboriginals is a step that needs to be rewarded and appreciated….

…not ridiculed for being “not enough” - again an opinion coming from the former suburban middle class Westerner who’s biggest cultural shock was having a mailman come by daily who happened to be black.

For the sake of discussion:

Why and why not good enough?

Why should any group in power acknowledge those with a heck of a lot less?

Is it to give them the illusion that they matter? Is it to put them in a social context that those in power want?

“Look at us we are so morally superior - we tolerate this little minority group - now behave!”

What if a certain minority DOESNT want to be acknowledged or put in the spotlight? Do we drag that minority out into it anyway? Or do we genuinely tolerate its differences and accept it for what or who it is?

On a bigger scale - Japan for example doesn’t care for ethnic mixing. Should we shame Japan until they accept our worldview orrrrr should we practice what we preach and actually accept/tolerate their worldview?

In the simplest way I can phrase it, based on respect for one another and ethics.

If you refine your question I can refine my answer. But basically there is still a lot of racism in Taiwan. On all sides. There are still inequalities. And there is still corruption. All of which would be best if improved.

  • in the direction of ethics. Ethics being based on non discrimination of at least basic things like skin tone, gender etc. And the lessening of corruption

Why do you say they are superior? Let’s say I sneak up on my neighbor in the middle of the night and burn his house down. Now he and his family have nothing while I have shelter and a greatly superior position in real terms. Does that make me and my family superior?

You’re conflating a hard science with social science. That’s not a valid comparison.

All kinds of objectively bad things will always exist.

Nothing says we must do anything. There are many arguments for treating people equally, however.

Not really. Acknowledging someone is about the minimal amount of respect you can afford them. Many benefits come from mutual respect among people.


The hierarchy is an artificial social construct (as opposed to a scientific law) that is almost always proved to be wrong so we shouldn’t accept the resulting discrimination.

Here’s an example of what I mean.