Posts Tagged Taiwan
Ah, the 2010 census (okay that video was a year old). But I think it’s interesting to hear the various oppositions to the “Taiwanese” ethnicity. Among the most common arguments is that aborigines aside, the people who call themselves “Taiwanese” are really just Han Chinese immigrants. Therefore, they shouldn’t be confusing people. But what is Han Chinese? China’s history is wracked with mythical depictions such as the “perfect” successions of each dynasty, and the Han people being descendants of the Yellow Emperor. At one point, the Qing dynasty considered everyone in their territory to be One could argue that the so-called “Han-Chinese” ethnicity is already extremely mixed biologically speaking, and such designations are subjective.
So what is ethnicity? Genealogy? Culture? Truth to be told, there’s not as much of genetic diversity amongst humans compared to others species. Judging by physical features and genetics is only one part of categorizations. Thus, it would be more culture that would distinguish us. Yet Taiwan still preserves what would be considered authentic “Chinese” culture by many. But there are other countries that are heavily influenced like China. Japan, Korea, and Vietnam all borrowed from the Chinese, yet remain very distinct. Taiwan may have retained some of that culture, but it’s also developing a newer one.
Another thing to take in mind is exposure to culture. While race is heavily linked with ethnicity, they are not the same. An American born Chinese will most likely know less about Chinese culture than an European whose lived in China their whole life Other overseas Chinese may have no problems recognizing themselves as Han Chinese as a designation. That is fine. But they’re not necessarily culturally Chinese, and that makes a difference.
Ultimately, it should be the person who should define their identity.
This summer, I have been living in Singapore, a country that is somewhat similar to Taiwan; It shouldn’t be too surprising as Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea were known as the four asian tigers, four areas where economic growth boomed after World War II. Like Taiwan, Singapore has a majority Chinese population, is fairly advanced, clean, and ahead of its Southeast Asian neighbors. Singapore’s diversity got me thinking; If Singaporeans consider themselves Singaporeans first, and acknowledge their ethnic backgrounds second, it shouldn’t be wrong for Taiwanese to do the same. Ever since 1949, There have been tensions between China, and “breakaway province” Taiwan, or more specifically, between the Kuomintang and Chinese Communist Party. In the 2000’s, Taiwan government entered an isolation period with China due to the new DDP party. 2008 marked a turning point for the Kuomintang. As times changed, the KMT and CCP found they had the mutual goal of reunifying China. It was simply that they disagreed on who would control.
Well, what about the Taiwanese people? Yes, you could argue that they have roots in China, so therefore, the people are a part of China and Chinese culture. I’m sure many Taiwanese acknowledge that they have Chinese roots. Does that mean that they consider themselves Chinese citizens? Taiwan is an island of rich cultural background, with the portugese, dutch, Chinese, and Japanese influence. While I am all for better relations between Taiwan and China, it seems inherently wrong for either KMT or CCP to claim Taiwan as a part of China when there’s more to its history than simple Chinese influence. However, in the end, whether Taiwan gets reunified or not, it is most important that the people do not think in terms of ethnicity, but as people of a country.