Siraya activists in Tainan yesterday criticized the government after the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) sent a letter that requested that the Tainan County Government not register Siraya as Aborigines.
The Siraya are a Pingpu — or “plains” — Aboriginal tribe that lived in Tainan County and parts of Chiayi and Kaohsiung counties. Some academics argue that the Makatao Pingpu of Pingtung County are a branch of the Siraya tribe.
The Siraya gradually “disappeared” because of marriage to Han migrants, but some Siraya descendants rediscovered their ethnic identity through unique local religious rituals and historic household registrations from the Japanese colonial period, which recorded each person’s ethnicity.
To help the Siraya re-establish their tribal identity, the Tainan County Government created a Siraya Aboriginal Affairs Committee last year and allowed Siraya in the county to apply to have their Aboriginal status restored at a county level.
“From January to April, more than 10,000 people filed applications based on household registrations from the Japanese colonial period,” Siraya Cultural Association chairwoman Wan Shu-chuan (萬淑娟) said.
However, the Siraya restoration campaign suffered a major setback when the MOI notified the county government on Monday that only those who belong to the 14 officially recognized Aboriginal tribes may be registered as Aborigines, Wan said.
“Before, besides checking the boxes for the 14 officially recognized tribes, you could also check the ‘other’ box when you made a household registration as an Aborigine,” she said. “But that is no longer the case as the MOI has canceled the ‘other’ box.”
Tuan Hung-kun (段洪坤), convener of the Tainan County Alliance of Siraya Communities, called the MOI a “brutal” government body that “intentionally disregards ethnic diversity.”
“We Siraya are here and we are Aborigines. It’s a simple fact,” said Wan Cheng-hsiung, another member of the Siraya Cultural Association.
The MOI issued a press release yesterday afternoon that said any issue related to Aboriginal status was under the jurisdiction of the ministry and the Council of Indigenous Peoples.
“Local governments and household registration offices should not register anyone as an Aborigine without approval from central government,” it said.
The Siraya activists will stage a protest outside the Executive Yuan today.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
PIVOTAL ROLE: Taiwan’s importance in the global chip supply chain can be bolstered by domestic equipment manufacturing, President Tsai Ing-wen said Efforts must be made to better secure Taiwan’s place in the global supply chain by localizing production of equipment and facilities used by the semiconductor industry, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. Tsai discussed the issue during a meeting with representatives from the Taiwan Electronic Equipment Industry Association at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Product shortages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — particularly of automotive chips — highlighted the pivotal role of Taiwan in the global supply chain, she said. Tsai thanked the association for cooperating with the government on the shared goal of localizing production of important semiconductor industry equipment.
‘NEW YEAR GIFT’: While the MAC called the song propaganda, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that it addressed the homesickness of ‘Taiwanese compatriots’ A pro-unification pop song aired on Chinese television earlier this month would only further sour Taiwanese sentiment toward China, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said on Wednesday. The music video for We Sing the Same Song (我們同唱一首歌), which aired on China Central Television, features Chinese artists performing alongside Taiwanese singers Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰), Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) and Chen Li-nong (陳立農). The lyrics were reportedly written by Taiwanese lyricist Vincent Fang (方文山), known for his collaborations with Jay Chou (周杰倫), to music composed by a Chinese musician. Sung in Chinese and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), the song is about three Taiwanese siblings who
SEPARATE CASE? A woman tested positive when she went with her daughter to be tested, because her daughter had taken the same bus to school as a steakhouse worker The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 10 local COVID-19 cases, six of whom had visited a steakhouse in Taoyuan where an infection cluster has been reported. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that of the 10 local infections, one case — No. 17,928 — is a Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport disease prevention staffer who works in the area where inbound travelers collect their saliva for a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and sometimes at the fever screening station. The staffer had tested negative in a PCR test on Jan. 9 and