Taipei, The head of Taiwan’s Council of Indigenous Peoples on Monday criticized a comment by an Indigenous person from Taiwan that he was proud to be “Chinese,” stressing that Taiwan’s Indigenous Peoples are not ethnically Chinese.
Icyang Parod said that while the council does not oppose exchanges with China, people should avoid allowing themselves to be exploited for political propaganda.
He was commenting on Yang Pin-hua (楊品驊), a member of Taiwan’s indigenous Amis tribe, who on Sept. 20 proclaimed that he was a “proud Chinese” during his speech at the 12th Straits Forum in Xiamen, held Sept. 19-25.
Yang also talked about promoting the cultural integration of minority ethnic groups in China and Taiwan, while stressing that he firmly opposes Taiwan’s secession from the motherland.
According to Yang’s father, who is from Hualien County, his son was born in Taipei after the family moved to Taipei in 1974. He graduated from National Chengchi University, and later moved to Hong Kong before heading to China to work.
Icyang Parod described Yang’s remark as inappropriate, and that no one should be allowed to speak on anyone’s behalf without prior consent, let alone represent Taiwan’s entire Indigenous population.
He stressed that Taiwan’s Indigenous Peoples are not ethnically Chinese nor are they descendants of China’s majority Han race.
Study after study has shown that Taiwan’s Indigenous Peoples are Austronesians, with linguistic and genetic ties to the Austronesian peoples, Icyang Parod said.
In a statement, the council said the native peoples of Taiwan struggled for a decade to finally force the government to change their designation from “mountain compatriots” to “Indigenous Peoples” in 1994.
In 1997, the collective rights and national self-determination of Indigenous Peoples were finally included in the Republic of China Constitution, it said.
The term “Indigenous Peoples” not only represents Taiwan’s native population, but also demonstrates the democratic politics, multiculturalism, and racial and ethnic equality seen in Taiwanese society, it said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel