TAIWAN

Taiwan is an island nation north of Philippine, southwest of Japan and southeast of China. The main island is about 395 km long and 144 km wide (~36,000 sq-km), with her highest peak reaching 3,950 m. 73.6% of the island are mountains.


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TAIWANESE

Taiwan has a population of 23 millions, only about 10% of which are descendents of Chinese immigrants after World War II, the other 90% are descendents of Austroneasian-speaking mountains and plains aborigines. Plains (Pingpu) aborigines are mixtures of Austronesian (southeast-Asian oceanian) and Daic (east-Asian mainlander) peoples who came to this island more than 10,000 years ago and 2,000~6,000 years ago respectively.

Dutch and Spaniard were the first two of a series of Taiwan’s foreign rulers starting from 1624, followed successively by Fujianese, Manchurian, Japanese and Han Chinese. The Fujianese (culturally Han, ethnically Daic) and Manchurian (Altaic people who rose from Manchuria , now the northeast part of China, to conquer China in 1644, Taiwan 1683, Mongolia 1697, Tibet 1720 and East Turkistan 1756, more than doubling the area of traditional China) transformed the Austronesian speaking Taiwanese into Fujianese and Hakka speaking peoples. After World War II, the Chinese military refugee government changed the language again to Mandarin. After decades of Sinicization through education, most today’s Taiwanese are not aware of their true origin, and wrongly identify themselves as the descendents of Chinese “Yellow Emperor”.

400 years ago, Taiwanese and Han-Chinese are two totally different races with virtually no influence from each other, safely separated by the Taiwan Strait. The plains aborigines did not perish, but were Sinicized.

Pingpu tribe men and women, the very few Taiwanese who still retain their true identity, wear ancestral costume in a nightly worship. But this particular tribe was almost wiped out by a severe flood on Aug. 8, 2009, with about 500 people buried alive by sliding mud when a mountain collapsed.