chapter  15
17 Pages

Taiwan’s (extra)ordinary migrations


The uniqueness of Taiwanese migration It would be very surprising indeed if Taiwan, with its totally unique political situation, its remarkable economic growth trajectory and role in the global economy and its unique social and cultural history, did not also have extraordinary migrations. For a start, during almost all of its past 400 years of history, Taiwan has been dominated by immigrant outsiders – and not just by one group, but four! First it was the Dutch in the seventeenth century, then the settlers from mainland China in successive waves, mostly from Fujian Province, during the late Ming and Ching dynasties in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, then the Japanese colonials in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and finally the two million Chinese (mostly Republican KMT) mainlanders in the mid-twentieth century (Lin 2012). Moreover, especially in the past 120 years, the emigration of the Taiwanese to Japan, North America, Southeast Asia, Australasia and now to mainland China as well, has been almost equally remarkable. According to the US Census Bureau there are more than 100,000 US citizens of Taiwanese descent, and according to the 2010 China (PRC) Census there are over 170,000 Taiwanese nationals resident in mainland China.