The True History of Taiwan 

By Dr. Sim Kiantek 
July 18, 2000


What China Said in Its White Paper 1993

     Taiwan was known as Yizhou (barbarian’s island) or Liuqiu (Okinawa) in antiquities. Many historical records and annals documented the development of Taiwan by the Chinese people in earlier periods. References to this effect were to be found in ancient Chinese book written more than 1,700 years ago and several others written in later times. Since early seventeenth century the Chinese people began to step up the development of Taiwan. The numbers topped one hundred thousand at the end of the century. By 1893 their population exceeded 2.54 million. That was a 25-fold increase in 200 years. 

     They brought in a more advanced mode of production and settled the whole length and breadth of Taiwan. Thanks to the determined efforts and hard toil of the pioneers, the development of the island as a whole greatly accelerated. This was the historical fact of how Taiwan, like other parts of China, came to be opened up and settled by the Chinese people of various nationalities. >From the very beginning the Taiwan society derived from the source of Chinese cultural tradition. This basic fact had not changed even during the half century of Japanese occupation. The history of Taiwan’s development is imbued with the blood, sweat, and ingenuity of the Chinese people. 

What Is The Truth 

     1. Taiwanese are of Taiwan origin, not Chinese.
More than 10,000 years ago, the ancestors of modern Taiwanese were found in Taiwan which at that time was all mountain, so the Taiwanese ancestors are called mountain people. In the glacial epoch, some of the ancestors were driven south by the cold weather via seabed (it was dry at that time) to the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

     About 7,000~8,000 years ago, the weather was warm again, the sea was full of water, with ocean currents flowing from South-East Asia to Japan via Taiwan. Some of the ancestors were drifted back to Taiwan, their homeland. Of course, many of them might carry the blood from South-East Asia due to hybrid. These ancestors were called Plain People because the majority of them lived in the plain areas after arriving in Taiwan.

     In 1624, the Dutch invaded Taiwan, according to Dutch records, there were about 100,000 Taiwanese surrendered. In 1661, Koxinga took place of the Dutch, about 130,000~200,000 Taiwanese surrendered. Among them, there were 12,727 household units, about 40,000~60,000 Taiwanese were forced to be converted into the Han (the Chinese). These aboriginal were the first ones who were forced to give up their Taiwanese nationalities. In 1683, Ching, the Manchus, replaced Koxinga. In 1730, a report made by a general of Ching that surrendered Taiwanese were at least 600,000. 

     In 1756, the annual report came out with 660,147 men and women surrendered, they were aboriginal. In 1782 the population that surrendered was up to 912,900 and then 2.54 million in 1893. This 2.54 million was mentioned in the 1993 Chinese White Paper which treated them as Chinese. This was totally wrong, they were of Taiwanese origin. They grew as time went by. Their population was 6 million in 1943, and 21.5 million in 2000, among them, some are the offspring of Dutch or Chinese hybrid. 

     The pure Chinese came in 1949~1954 period, when Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan with 0.94 million Chinese refugees, among them, only 0.21 million were female. Therefore, even if all female Chinese refugees married with male refugees, they could only create 0.42 million pure Chinese couples producing pure Chinese offspring, the rest 0.52 million had to look for Taiwanese to marry, thus Taiwanese blood occupied more than half the so-called Chinese. The population of Taiwan in 2000 is about 23 million, the pure Chinese are not more than 5%, about 95% of Taiwan’s population today carries aboriginal blood. Some have 100% aboriginal blood, some have 10%, mostly have more than 50%. 

     2. The land of Taiwan was developed by Taiwanese not by Chinese.According to Ching regulation, Chinese were not allowed to come to Taiwan freely. When they came to Taiwan, they were not permitted to trespass the reserved areas, because, Ching reserved almost all of Taiwan for the aboriginal. According to the government statistics, the total free area was only 71,150 hectares, which was less than 2 % of the area of Taiwan.

     Further, the Chinese were not able to resist the diseases in Taiwan, 9 out of 10 died, according to government records. Under such condition, Chinese dared not stay in the rural area. If they did not stay in the country side, who would cultivate the land? Only Taiwanese! 

     3. What were the Chinese in Taiwan during the Ching Era?
The majority Chinese in Taiwan were rascals, being single through out their lives, according to the government files. Most of them hide themselves in the urban area, lived on committing crimes. When they passed away, nobody dared to bury them. 

     The Chinese who came to Taiwan to “cultivate” actually were to deprive not to cultivate. They got the pieces of land by application. Through personal relations with the government officials or by bribe, they got the permit to cultivate the land in the appointed areas, usually hundreds or thousands hectares, a hectare is about 2.4 acres. It took at least 5 man/year to clear a hectare, and took one man to do the farming year around. If the Chinese got a thousand-hectare permit, they had to invite at least 1,000 tenants to rent, cultivate and do the farming. The profit for these Chinese guys after paying taxes was US$300~400 per hectare per year. As said before, the Chinese were not disease resisting, so most of the tenants were Taiwanese. Therefore, the true picture was, Taiwanese cultivated and Chinese got the profit which could be amounted to US$300,000~400,000 per year per person if the Chinese got the thousand-hectare permit. 

     4. The reason why Taiwanese are documented as Chinese.
Since 1624, Taiwan has being ruled by foreign regimes, such as, the Dutch, Koxinga, Ching, Japan, the Republic of China. All of the regimes were trying to convert Taiwanese into their nationals. Ching was successful, so the influence passed down to this day. When Ching occupied Taiwan in 1683, it adopted a policy called “To Convert The Wild Barbarians into The Civilized Barbarians” and then “To Convert The Civilized Barbarians into The Han (the Chinese).” The contents of the policy included discriminative practices such as higher taxes, longer free community services, unfair judicial judgements, for those resisting the conversion. No Taiwanese could live without being converted into Chinese. In 1683, the Ching still documented most Taiwanese as Wild Barbarians; in 1756, the status of the Taiwanese was changed to Civilized Barbarians; in 1777, all became Chinese. These historical records also evidenced the process of the compulsory conversion of Taiwanese into Chinese.

     Since 1777, Taiwanese were documented as Chinese throughout the period of the Ching occupation. In 1895 when Japanese came, they tried to convert Taiwanese into Japanese but failed. In 1945, the Republic of China took advantage of the achievements of Ching policy, documented Taiwanese as Chinese with no resist. So even today, the poor Taiwanese would rather call themselves Chinese instead of aboriginal, since the term "aboriginal" implies wild or civilized barbarians. 



Dr. Sim Kiantek formerly was an Associate Professor of National Taipei University.
Fax:08-753-6335 Address:21 Alley 67 Lane 165, Kong Hsing Road, Pingtung Taiwan

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