- There are 16 officially recognized indigenous tribes in Taiwan.
- The nation is home to over 530,000 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 is a multicultural
society comprising diverse Han subgroups,
as well as 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 530,000.
A woman takes a selfie with her son in Taipei City’s Dahu Park. (Chen Mei-ling)
There is growing appreciation in Taiwan for the cultural
legacies of the 16 officially recognized Austronesianspeaking
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
This convergence and interplay of currents of humanity
in Taiwan have helped transform it into an openhearted,
forward-looking society that has incorporated
diverse elements of civilization from around the world
in a distinctive and harmonious manner.