Taiwan is a xenophobic country. Change my mind

NBA basketball player Quincy Davis is being considered a “foreigner” despite being a Taiwanese citizen… I would bet that if he were of Han Chinese descent this wouldn’t have even been called into question.

If you don’t look like what’s considered a normal Taiwanese, you will always be a “foreigner” it doesn’t matter if you learn perfect Mandarin and Taiwanese. It doesn’t even matter if you were born here or took up Taiwanese citizenship and renounced you old one!

It doesn’t matter if you grew up here and Taiwan is all you know. You will always be considered a foreigner.

I also had a friend tell me that the Taiwanese crew on a flight to Taiwan asked for his ID and Taiwan passport mid flight because they thought it could be “fraudulent.” The xenophobia never stops at gaining nationality in Taiwan.

If you’re living here on an ARC you are fair game with banks discriminating and having the choice to not even serve you (see the Koko thread). Landlords being free to not rent to you even if you’re a permanent resident on the count of being a “foreigner” etc…

This coupled with countless other issues…


People call my daughter a foreigner, and struggle to accept that she’s Taiwanese. I’ve even had people say that “she’s not a real Taiwanese”. Born in Taiwan, Taiwanese nationality, ethnically half Taiwanese, but still not good enough, so I do agree that Taiwan is a xenophobic country.

The problem is that many Taiwanese people think “not being Taiwanese” is a compliment.


Welcome to most countries! Immigrant-countries are the exception. Not the rule. Most are ethnostates and the others are multicultural with ‘home cultures’ like China and India.

Often these countries are not subject to large numbers of immigration and for them, immigration as a concept is a relatively new phenomenon.

Taiwanese for the most part are not xenophobic, but just simply ignorant of the issues and in a culture where you don’t question the boss… for many, it’s easier to say no than question the boss in terms of self preservation.

For this ignorant type of thinking, as it often exists to varying degrees across all ethnostates, it’s not coming from a place of fear, but often what I like to call ‘intuitive thinking’. I touch my hand on the stove, I burn myself. I don’t do it again. I have a high rate of default with foreigners? I don’t lend again to foreigners. The kind of sensitivity training we get in immigrant countries doesn’t exist here. It’s still prejudiced, and truly xenophobic people do exist in most countries.

There is a difference between a phobe and an ignorant person.

The phobe, whether it’s a xenophobe or a homophobe is not willing to listen or change their mind.

The ignorant usually are happy to listen and learn.

So no. Taiwan is not xenophobic, it’s ignorant. Does it come from a place of malice? Usually no.

And there are going to be real questions as to what it means to be Taiwanese.


Is this really xenophobia? Are they expressing an actual fear of her?

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I’d say Taiwan is mostly an ignorant country, not xenophobic.


Maybe xenophobic is the wrong word. I’m not sure what the right word is


Ah, that’s the word


For many westerners from countries where you are no longer a foreigner once you have citizenship and ethnicity is not a consideration, the Taiwanese tendency to label anyone with the slightest difference as ‘foreign’ is challenging to navigate.

On a positive note, I think Taiwan is further along in changing this mindset than any other society in East Asia.


I appreciate your response, sadly attributing our hardships as foreigners that want to integrate here to ignorance paints TW in a very bad light…
they dont hate or fear us… they are just stupid :frowning:



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I agree. Actual interaction I had in China:

Me: I am Chinese.

Them: No you’re a foreigner.

Me: I am actually a Chinese citizen.

Them: What does citizenship even mean? That is man-made. Do you have Chinese blood flowing in your veins?

Me: Yes.

Them: Well, ok. But you also have foreign blood flowing in your veins, so you’re not Chinese!



That’s so stupid it’s almost funny.


It’s not stupidity either, it’s remarkably hard to put one’s self into another person’s shoes. That’s why we have sensitivity training. You’re in a country where your neighbour, classmate, coworker, etc… can reasonably expect that they have the same experiences.

Then they meet you, and are similarly unaware that you have different experiences.




Ass backwards.


This is a genuine question as to what it means to be a country’s national.

For many, ‘blood’ is very important. I think the concept of ‘blood’ is so unbelievably cringeworthy because it scientifically doesn’t exist and doesn’t change between nationalities… But there are people who do believe in a concept of national purity. For others, even being 1/16th black makes you black. It’s a question as old as time. I’m sure Mario Balotelli experiences the same thing.

At the same time, subconciously, we all have an idea of what it means to be a country’s national even if we have never fully defined it. Very few will look at an Asian person and exclaim they are Italian either. Similarly, Italians in the US, Canada and Australia faced similar forms of discrimination and weren’t even considered ‘white’ initially.

For some, culture is important. You might at least be expected to integrate into society.

For some, the paper is important. This remains the exception as noted above.

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Then the whole world is backwards.



All of East Asia is xenophobic. Whether you live in Korea, Japan, Taiwan or China, and even if you learn their language and culture (even if you adhere more to their culture than the average native), you will always be considered an outsider if you’re not pure blood. Actually, there are varying degrees and Japan and Korea are much worse when it comes to this. My ex-fiancee in Korea was threatened with disownment if she married me.


At government/law levels is very xenophobic. Normal people interaction is fine.