The government yesterday approved a proposal to recognize Pingpu Aborigines as indigenous peoples, by amending the Status Act For Indigenous Peoples (原住民身分法) to restore their identity, and linguistic and cultural rights, in accordance with a policy of transitional justice advanced by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
The decision to create a new community, known as Pingpu Indigenous People, was announced yesterday by the Executive Yuan following a meeting on policies and status laws regarding Pingpu communities, with deliberations by government officials, academics and representatives of Pingpu communities.
Some Pingpu leaders welcomed the news, hailing it as a “historic decision” for the government to finally recognize Pingpu communities as Taiwanese indigenous peoples, adding that it would open a new era for justice and equality for all the major ethnic and cultural groups in Taiwan.
Photo courtesy of the Tainan City Government
“We are very happy that the Executive Yuan pushed forward on this policy. It is time for Pingpu communities to regain their indigenous status, which they had possessed in the past. On behalf of the Pingpu Siraya community in Tainan City, I want to thank the central government for respecting the right to self-identity and for the recognition of their indigenous status,” Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) said. “This is the first time we have had a positive response from the government on this issue, after decades of struggling and campaigning.”
“However, there is more work to do to promote the cultural identities and traditions of Pingpu communities to restore and protect their rights the same as those of other recognized indigenous peoples,” he added.
Other Pingpu campaigners said that there are still protracted negotiations and hard bargaining to be done with the Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) in the years to come, as the proposal requires an itemized examination of the Indigenous Peoples Basic Act (原住民族基本法) on affected rights and applications of Pingpu communities, after the process of amending the Status Act For Indigenous Peoples (原住民身分法).
There has been opposition to the recognition of some Pingpu communities as indigenous peoples to limit their privileges and rights, and government subsidies given to 16 of the recognized Aboriginal groups, activists said.
Pingpu Papora youth campaigner Aidu Mali from central Taiwan said her youth organization has been deliberately excluded from meetings between the Executive Yuan and the CIP over the past year.
“The proposal to create another category as ‘Pingpu Indigenous People’ was not what we fought for. It only gives us a superficial title and we fear that the CIP will work hard to stall on granting any indigenous rights. In the end, we could be denied our rights and excluded from the system again,” she said.
Ketagalan community Pingpu rights campaigner Chen Kimman (陳金萬) said that although he welcomed the development, he also warned that CIP officials, in their own self-interest, had chosen not to grant indigenous status to Pingpu communities, but had deliberately drawn out the process with legal amendments and protracted negotiations, which could drag on for many years and could be impeded by politicians and special-interest groups.
‘CROCODILE TEARS’: The Taiwan Statebuilding Party said the Kaohsiung mayor was only apologizing after a poll revealed that 45% of the city’s residents favored a recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) at a city council session yesterday apologized for taking three months off last year to campaign for January’s presidential election. Han said that he was now prioritizing municipal affairs and was focused primarily on preventing the spread of COVID-19. He was “doing two days’ work each day” to make up for time lost, he said. Han on May 5 attended a city council session for the first time in 201 days, giving a report on pandemic response measures. At yesterday’s session, Han said the Kaohsiung City Government would be injecting NT$50 million (US$1.67 million) into the
Taipei City Councilor Wu Pei-yi (吳沛憶) on Saturday urged the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs to designate the Japanese colonial-era Showa Building (昭和樓) a cultural heritage site to protect it from being demolished. Wu made the remarks after the department on Tuesday last week visited the building to evaluate it for preservation, a standard procedure before a public building that is more than 50 years old is razed. The Showa Building, on Zhongxiao E Road Sec 2, was a rare kind of office building when it was constructed in 1942, Wu said. The three-story building was built with reinforced concrete and has European-style
A proposal by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) to permanently ban sitting in Taipei Railway Station’s main hall has received a mixed reaction online, with some social media users vowing to launch a sit-in at the station. Gatherings at the hall have been prohibited since Feb. 29 in accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s policy of reducing crowd sizes in public places. A Facebook user organizing the sit-in said that the hall is a public space and there is no legitimate reason to ban sitting on the floor. He said he suspected that the proposal was made due to business considerations and
Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service provider iQiyi cannot register as a provider in Taiwan after the Mainland Affairs Council declared it to be an illegal service, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Both iQiyi and WeTV were deemed to be illegal Chinese OTT operators in an interdepartmental meeting on Friday last week, officials said, adding that this prohibits them from marketing their services in Taiwan or seeking subscribers. The government plans to block a local server that iQiyi has been using to transmit content to domestic audiences, which would disrupt its content transmission. OTT Entertainment Ltd, which is enlisted by iQiyi to