Taiwanese people

Taiwanese people () are a nation and ethnic group native to Taiwan who share a common Taiwanese culture, ancestry and speak the Taiwanese language, including Formosan languages and Taiwanese Mandarin as a mother tongue. Taiwanese people may also refer to individuals who either claim or are imputed cultural identity focused on Taiwan or areas under the control of the government of Taiwan since 1945, including Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu islands (see Taiwan Area). At least three competing (occasionally overlapping) paradigms are used to identify someone as a Taiwanese person: a nationalist criteria, self-identification (including the concept of “New Taiwanese”) criteria, and socio-cultural criteria. These standards are fluid, and result from evolving social and political issues. The complexity resulting from competing and evolving standards is compounded by a larger dispute regarding Taiwan’s identity, the political status of Taiwan, and its potential de jure Taiwan independence or political integration with China. According to government figures, over 95% of Taiwan’s population of 23.4 million consists of Han Chinese, while 2% are Austronesian Taiwanese aborigines. The category of Han Chinese consists of the three main groups: Hoklo (Hokkien), Hakka, and mainland Chinese. However, acculturation, intermarriage and assimilation have resulted in some degree of mixing of the Han and Taiwanese Aborigine blood lines. Although the concept of the “four great ethnic groups” was alleged to be the deliberate attempt by the Hoklo-dominated Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to defuse Chinese Taiwanese people tensions, this conception has become a dominant frame of reference for dealing with Taiwanese ethnic and national issues. Despite the wide use of the “four great ethnic groups” in public discourse as essentialized identities, the relationships between the peoples of Taiwan have been in a constant state of convergence and negotiation for centuries. The continuing process of cross-ethnic mixing with ethnicities from within and outside Taiwan, combined with the disappearance of ethnic barriers due to a shared socio-political experience, has led to the emergence of “Taiwanese” as a larger ethnic group, except on the island of Kinmen whose populace consider themselves as Kinmenese or Chinese, and as well as inhabitant of Matsu Islands whereby they also consider themselves as Chinese.