About Taiwan

Ilha Formosa (“beautiful island”)

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoiKcbiVRh0

Taiwan is located in the West Pacific between Japan and the Philippines. Its jurisdiction extends to the archipelagos of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, as well as numerous other islets. The total area of Taiwan proper and its outlying islands is around 36,197 km2.

At about the size of the Netherlands, but with a population of some 23 million, Taiwan is more populous than three-quarters of the world’s nations. Taiwan proper has more than its share of natural splendor. Mountain ranges with many peaks reaching over 3,000 m — including East Asia’s highest, Jade Mountain (Yushan)—and forested foothills occupy more than half of its area. The island also features volcanic mountains, tablelands, coastal plains and basins. For more detail information, please visit Taiwan official website


Land area 36,197 km2
Length of Taiwan 395 km
Width of Taiwan 144 km
Population 23.57 million (2017)
Ethnicity Over 95 percent Han Chinese (including Holo, Hakka and other groups that originated in mainland China), 2 percent indigenous peoples, 2 percent new immigrants primarily from mainland China and Southeast Asia.
Government Multiparty democracy
Capital Taipei City
National Currency New Taiwan dollar
Languages Mandarin (Chinese), Holo (Taiwanese), Hakka, Austronesian languages
Major Religions Buddhism, Taoism, I-Kuan Tao, Chinese Folk Religions, Christianity, Islam

Map of Taiwan

Taiwan Indigenous Peoples

Sixteen indigenous peoples have been officially recognized by Taiwan’s government: Amis (Pangcah), Atayal, Paiwan, Bunun, Puyuma, Rukai, Tsou, Saisiyat, Yami (Tao), Thao, Kavalan, Truku, Sakizaya, Seediq, Kla’alua and Kanakanavu. Additionally, some ten nations of the plains indigenous peoples (such as Siraya, and Makatao) are obtaining recognition for their lost indigenous status since the work of Transitional Justice initiated by President Tsai Ing-wen.

Unlike the later migrants who came from southeastern China, Taiwan indigenous peoples belong to the larger Austronesian grouping of peoples who have spread across all of the Pacific Ocean, to Southeast Asia and across the Indian Ocean to Madagascar. According to official records, the indigenous population of Taiwan is close to 550,000, constituting 2.23 per cent of the island’s total population.

Over past centuries, like other indigenous populations around the world, Taiwan indigenous peoples have faced the disruption to their populations, territories, cultures, languages and traditional values. Since the early seventeenth century, foreign colonizers, including the Netherlands, Spain, the family of Zheng Chenggong, the Manchu Empire, Japan and the Chinese Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo, have subjugated and oppressed Taiwan’s indigenous peoples.

In 2000, Taiwan Rapid economic development in Taiwan during the 1970s and 1980s brought political and social changes to Taiwan as a whole and to its indigenous peoples.

The victory of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) in the 2000 presidential election was an historical milestone in Taiwan’s democratic consolidation, as it was the first peaceful transfer of power between political parties in Taiwan’s history. The “Indigenous Identity Act” and the “Indigenous Basic Law” were respectively passed in 2001 and 2005. And, more recently on the first Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 1 August 2016, President Tsai apologized to Taiwan’s indigenous peoples on behalf of the state (see official apology statement). Most notable measures taken following Tsai’s apology are the establishment of an Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee and the restoration of indigenous status for the Plains Indigenous peoples. The Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee is working on the issues of land matters, culture, language, history and reconciliation.


The missions of the Committee is as followed:

  1. Collect, process, and disclose accurate historical information regarding violations against indigenous peoples and deprivation of indigenous rights caused throughout history by alien regimes or immigrants.
  2. Draw up plans for administrative, legislative, or other measures to provide restitution, reparations, or compensation for violations against indigenous peoples and deprivation of indigenous rights.
  3. Conduct a comprehensive review to identify laws and policies that cause discrimination against indigenous peoples or violate the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law, and put forward amendment recommendations.
  4. Actively implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the various relevant international human rights conventions.
  5. Collect, process, and discuss information and views regarding indigenous historical justice and transitional justice.



Indigenous Peoples Council https://www.apc.gov.tw/portal/index.html?lang=en_US
Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee http://indigenous-justice.president.gov.tw/EN

Geographic Distribution of Indigenous Peoples

Education in Taiwan

The education system in Taiwan spans nursery schools through university. Public education has been compulsory from primary school through junior high school since 1968. The 9 years compulsory education includes 6 years of elementary and 3 years of junior high. Senior secondary education consists of three years of schooling and includes “general senior secondary schools,” “skill-based senior secondary schools,” “comprehensive senior secondary schools,” and “specialized senior secondary schools. In 2001 roughly 16% of the central government budget was spent on education.

There are over 100 institutions of higher education in Taiwan. Roughly 2/3 of the over 100,000 students taking the national university entrance exams are accepted to a higher educational institution. Higher education in Taiwan is similar to the American higher education system. Since the 1990s many trade schools and junior colleges have been “promoted” to university status, which can account for the high university entrance rates. Nonetheless, a high score is desired as an admission criterion to the socially or economically prestigious institutions.

New Southbound Policy

The New Southbound Policy is an initiative of the government of Taiwan under President Tsai Ing-wen to enhance cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and 18 countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia, New Zealand and Australia. The New Southbound Policy has been adopted in order to identify a new direction and a new driving force for a new stage of Taiwan’s economic development, to redefine Taiwan’s important role in Asia’s development, and to create future value. At the same time, via this policy, our government hopes to start up wide-ranging negotiation and dialogue with the nations of ASEAN and South Asia as well as New Zealand and Australia, with an eye to establishing close cooperation and together achieving regional development and prosperity.

Because human talent is the key to New Southbound Policy success, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has formulated a New Southbound Talent Development Program (2017-2020) based on that policy’s overall guidelines and the New Southbound Policy Promotion Plan. Using a dual strategy to develop talent for both the short and long term, the MOE’s development program will help Taiwan’s colleges and universities pursue substantive educational exchanges in ASEAN and South Asian countries while increasing bilateral interaction and participation in academic alliances. These initiatives will help realize the government’s vision for mutually beneficial cooperation that will cultivate talent and spur regional economic development.Educational efforts under the New Southbound Policy will be people-oriented, and encourage two-way exchanges and resource sharing.

In addition to optimizing existing policies and initiatives, the MOE has adopted three main strategies:

  1. Provide high-quality educational opportunities in Taiwan and facilitate two-way cooperation to cultivate professional talent,
  2. Expand bilateral talent exchanges,
  3. Expand bilateral cooperative educational platforms.



New South Bound Policy:
Executive Yuan http://nspp.mofa.gov.tw/nsppe/news.php?post=112894&unit=376
Ministry of Foreign Affairs http://english.ey.gov.tw/News_Hot_Topic.aspx?n=67224DA6FB48B050&sms=51088E44A6F236AA

More Information

The local host team of WINHEC provides some useful link below:

  1. Taiwan – The Heart of Asia (very useful travel information)
  2. 12 Days in Taiwan Travel Guide – Itinerary to Explore the Entire Island
  3. 13 Things to Know Before Visiting Taiwan
  4. 15 reasons why Taiwan should be your next adventure – The Telegraph
  5. World Travel Guide
  6. Lonely Planet
  7. The Rough Guide to Taiwan
  8. ISSUU – Travel in Taiwan
  9. CNN Travel
  10. BBC Travel
  11. Everything Everywhere – Travel to Taiwan
  12. Taiwan Travel Tips to Know Before You Go • The Invisible Tourist
  13. Karena and Kasey’s Kitchen Diplomacy – Season 2, Episode 5