ROC's 2001 Aborigine Status Act

The legal embrace of indigenous Taiwanese

By William Wetherall

First posted 15 February 2007
Last updated 1 March 2007


Forthcoming


Nationality, territory, and aborigine status

Here I will present the 2000 Nationality Law of the Republic of China (ROC), in both Chinese and English, and with commentary on key words. First, though, let's look look at what ROC's Constitution says about nationality,

Related articles

The following articles also examine nationality and ethnic status in ROC and PRC today.

The Republic of China as a state: The vicissitudes of recognition politics

Race in ROC's constitutions: China's rise and fall as an ethnic nation

ROC's 13 ethnic nations: Taiwanizing Sinified-Japanized aborigines

ROC's 2000 Nationality Law: Membership in a stateless nation

Race in PRC's constitutions: Principles of ethnic equality and autonomy

PRC's 56 ethnic subnations: The racialist revolution against racism

PRC's 1980 Nationality Law: A single nationality multiethnic state

What's in a name

Until 25 October 1971, for over twenty years after its government fled to Taiwan province from the mainland of China in 1949, the Republic of China (ROC) held China's seat on the United Nations. Even after countries like the United States and Japan switched their recognition to the People's Republic of China (PRC), ROC's maps continued to show Nanking (PY Nanjing, southern capital) as its actual capital. Taipei, the capital of Taiwan province, was merely its temporary capital.

Sun Yat-sen (Sun Wen, 1866-1925) overthrew the Qing Dynasty in 1911 and established the Republic of China, with its capital in Nanking, from 1912, which is taken as the first year of the ROC republican calendar. The north, however, remained a bastion of vestigial Qing power that continued to operate a government out of Peking.

In 1928, Sun's successor Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) sent an expedition north that seized control of Peking (Peiching, Beijing, northern capital). Though tempted to move his capital north, he kept it in Nanking and renamed the northern city Peip'ing (pacified/peaceful north).

In 1949, when the communist army occupied Peip'ing, Mao Tsu-tung (Mao Zedong) changed its name back to Beijing and declared the city the capital of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Until the 1980s, however, maps published in Taiwan continued to refer to the northern city as Peip'ing, and a few diehard ROC nationalists still refuse to call it Beijing.

Territorial imperatives

China Yearbook 1963-64 (Taipei: China Publishing Company, 1964), appearing fifteen years after the ROC government took refuge on Taiwan, features two foldout maps in the back. One is called "The Republic of China" and shows all of the mainland provinces, and Mongolia and Tibet, as part of ROC. "Taipei" on Taiwan is identified as the temporary capital. Nanking in Kiangsu (Jiangsu) province is shown to be the actual capital.

The second foldout map is called "Taiwan". It shows the main island of Taiwan and adjacent islands, including Penghu Lieh Tao (Pescadores Islands). Both had been part Japan between 1895 and 1945. They became Taiwan province when Japan forfeited them, de facto in 1945 and de jure in 1952, to ROC as the state that effectively controlled them after Japan's forces on Taiwan surrendered to ROC on 25 October 1945.

The "Taiwan" map also shows, in prominent boxes in the upper left corner, Kinmen Tao [Kinmen island] and Matsu Lieh Tao [Matsu islands]. Both are shown to be parts of Fukien [PY Fujian] province, but they were then, and remain today, under ROC control.

Kinmen, Matsu, and Penghu

In 1972 the United State, Japan, and a number of other states that until then had viewed ROC as "China" switched their recognition to PRC, and in doing so accepted PRC's view that Taiwan was one of its provinces. Fifteen years later, ROC lifted its nearly four-decade state of martial law and began to work toward an improvement of cross-strait relations.

ROC, determined to act like a state regardless of whether recognized as such by other states, now focused on consolidating itself as a sovereign entity. It eventually turned to constitutional reform as a way to clarify the territory it intended to govern and protect as an independent, totally self-governing body.

The 1994 3rd revision of the constitution included this paragraph as part of article article 9.

The State shall accord to the aborigines in the free area legal protection of their status and the right to political participation. It shall also provide assistance and encouragement for their education, cultural preservation, social welfare and business undertakings. The same protection and assistance shall be given to the people of Kinmen and Matsu areas.

The 1999 5th revision modified the last sentence in the above paragraph to clarify even further what ROC considered part of its dominion.

The State shall protect and assist the people of Penghu in addition to the people of Kinmen and Matsu.

The reference to "aborigines" is significant because it marks the start of more government attention to the needs of native tribes in the first year of the the United Nations Decade of the World's Indigenous People (1994-2003), following intense activism and publicity during the Year of Indigenous People (1993). The increased attention culminated in the 2002 Aborigine Status Act and related legislation and programs.

@ @
2001 ROC Aborigine Status Law
With commentary on terminology

Japanese text

The Japanese text is from XXX.

English translation

The English translation is from YYY.

The [bracketed] titles are mine.

Œ´Z–¯g•ª–@
Aborigine Status Law
[ Indigenous peoples status law ]
’†‰Ø–¯š ‹ã\”NˆêŒŽ\Žµ“úã`“ (90) ‰Øã`ˆê‹`Žš‘æ 9000009310 åj—ß
§’èŒö•z‘S•¶ 13 žŠG
•ÀŽ©‹ã\”NˆêŒŽˆê“ú‹NŽ{s

Presidential decree Hua-tsung-yi-tzu No. 9000009310
Promulgated 17 January 2001 (ROC 90)
Effective retroactively from 1 January 2001 (ROC 90)
(—§–@–Ú“I)
[ Purpose of law ]
‘æˆêžŠ
ˆ×”F’茴Z–¯g•ªC•ÛáŒ´Z–¯žÜ‰vC“Á§’è–{–@B

–{–@–¢‹K’èŽÒC“K—p‘´‘¼–@—¥‹K’èB
Section 1
Said act is promulgated for the recognition of the indigenous peoples status and protection of indigenous peoples rights.

Unless herein provided, the relevant existing laws shall govern.
(Œ´Z–¯g•ª”V”F’è)
[ Recognition of indigenous peoples status ]
‘æ“ñžŠ
–{–@ŠâiŒ´Z–¯C•ïŠ‡ŽR’nŒ´Z–¯‹y•½’nŒ´Z–¯C‘´g•ª”V”F’èCœ–{–@[ling4 Œû—Í]—L‹K’èŠOCˆË‰º—ñ‹K’èF

     ˆêAŽR’nŒ´Z–¯FäiàsŒõ•œ‘OŒ´ÐÝŽR’ns­™½ˆæ內CŠŽ[ŒË]Œû’²[¸]•ë“o‹L‘´–{lˆ½’¼ŒnŒŒe‘¸e›¢›¢‰—Œ´Z–¯ŽÒB
     “ñA•½’nŒ´Z–¯FäiàsŒõ•œ‘OŒ´ÐÝ•½’ns­™½ˆæ內CŠŽ[ŒË]Œû’²[¸]•ë“o‹L‘´–{lˆ½’¼ŒnŒŒe‘¸e›¢›¢‰—Œ´Z–¯C•À\¿[ŒË]ÐŠÝ’n[‹½]i’ÁAŽsA™½jŒöŠ“o‹Lˆ×•½’nŒ´Z–¯—LˆÄŽÒB
Section 2
The term "indigenous people" herein includes native indigenous peoples of the mountain and plain-land regions. Status recognition, unless otherwise herein provided, is as provided in the following:

     1. Mountain indigenous peoples: permanent residents of the mountain administrative zone before the recovery of Taiwan, moreover census registration records show individual or an immediate kin of individual is of indigenous peoples descent.
     2. Plain-land indigenous peoples: permanent residents of the plain-land administrative zone before the recovery of Taiwan, moreover census registration records show individual or an immediate kin of individual is of indigenous peoples descent. Individual is registered as a plain-land indigenous peoples in the village (town, city, district) administration office.
(g•ª”VŽæ“¾F¥ˆ÷萌W)
[ Acquisition of status: Marital relationship ]
‘æŽOžŠ
Œ´Z–¯äo”ñŒ´Z–¯Œ‹¥Cœ‘æ‹ãžŠ[ling4 Œû—Í]—L‹K’èŠOCŒ´Z–¯g•ª•s‘rŽ¸C”ñŒ´Z–¯•sŽæ“¾Œ´Z–¯g•ªB
Section 3
Unless otherwise provided in Section 9, indigenous peoples who marries a non-indigenous individual does not forfeit indigenous peoples status. However, the non-indigenous peoples do not acquire the indigenous peoples status.
(g•ª”VŽæ“¾F¥¶Žq—)
[ Acquisition of status: Children born in wedlock ]
‘æŽlžŠ
Œ´Z–¯äoŒ´Z–¯Œ‹¥Š¶Žq—CŽæ“¾Œ´Z–¯g•ªB

Œ´Z–¯äo”ñŒ´Z–¯Œ‹¥Š¶Žq—Cœn‹ïŒ´Z–¯g•ª”V•ƒˆ½•ê”V©ˆ½Œ´Z–¯™B“–¼ŽšŽÒCŽæ“¾Œ´Z–¯g•ªB

‘O€•ƒ•ê—£¥Cˆ½—Lˆê•ûŽ€–SŽÒC›”‰—–¢¬”NŽq—”VžÜ—˜‹`–±C—R‹ï—LŒ´Z–¯g•ª”V•ƒˆ½•êsŽgˆ½•‰^ŽÒC‘´–³Œ´Z–¯g•ª”VŽq—Žæ“¾Œ´Z–¯g•ªB
Section 4
Children of intermarriages between indigenous peoples and non-indigenous peoples shall acquire the indigenous peoples status.

Children of intermarriages between indigenous peoples and non-indigenous peoples taking the surname of the indigenous father or mother, or using the indigenous peoples traditional name shall be granted indigenous peoples status.

When rights and obligations of minor children in the event of the divorce of parents or demise of a parent from the foregoing intermarriages are to be placed under the execution or responsibility of the indigenous parents, the children who do not possess the indigenous peoples status shall acquire the indigenous peoples status.
(g•ª”VŽæ“¾‘rŽ¸F¾—{萌W)
[ Acquisition and loss of status: Adoptive relationships ]
‘æŒÜžŠ
Œ´Z–¯ˆ×”ñŒ´Z–¯¾—{ŽÒCœ‘æ‹ãžŠ[ling4 Œû—Í]—L‹K’èŠOC‘´Œ´Z–¯g•ª•s‘rŽ¸B

–¢ŸÞŽµ[Î]”V”ñŒ´Z–¯ˆ×”NŸÞŽl\[Î]ŠŽ–³Žq—”VŒ´Z–¯•ƒ•ê¾—{ŽÒC“¾Žæ“¾Œ´Z–¯g•ªB

–{–@Ž{s‘OC–¢ŸÞŽµ[Î]”V”ñŒ´Z–¯ˆ×Œ´Z–¯•ƒ•ê¾—{ŽÒC•sŽó‘O€—{•ƒ•ê{”NŸÞŽl\[Î]ŠŽ–³Žq—‹K’è”VŒÀ§B

‘O“ñ€”V¾—{萌WIŽ~ŽžCŠY—{Žq—”VŒ´Z–¯g•ª‘rŽ¸B
Section 5
Unless otherwise provided in Section 9, the adoption of an indigenous child by non-indigenous parents shall not cause the child to forfeit indigenous peoples status.

Non-indigenous peoples minor under the age of seven adopted by childless indigenous parents over the age of 40 shall acquire the indigenous peoples status.

Prior to the enactment of said act, the adoption of non-indigenous peoples minor under the age of seven by childless indigenous parents is not subject to the foregoing age and childless status limitations.

Upon the dissolution of the relationship stated in the foregoing two paragraphs shall cause the adopted child to forfeit indigenous peoples status.
(g•ª”VŽæ“¾F”ñ¥¶Žq—)
[ Acquisition of status: Children born out of wedlock ]
‘æ˜ZžŠ
Œ´Z–¯—Žq”V”ñ¥¶Žq—CŽæ“¾Œ´Z–¯g•ªB

‘O€”ñ¥¶Žq—ãS”ñŒ´Z–¯¶•ƒ”F—̎ҁC‘rŽ¸Œ´Z–¯g•ªB’A–ñ’èœn•ê©ˆ½Œ´Z–¯™B“–¼ŽšŽÒC‘´Œ´Z–¯g•ª•s‘rŽ¸B

”ñŒ´Z–¯—Žq”V”ñ¥¶Žq—CãSŒ´Z–¯¶•ƒ”F—́CŠŽœn•ƒ©ˆ½Œ´Z–¯™B“–¼ŽšŽÒCŽæ“¾Œ´Z–¯g•ªB
Section 6
Children who were born out of wedlock by indigenous peoples shall acquire the indigenous peoples status.

A child born out of wedlock, as stated in the foregoing paragraph, claimed by the non-indigenous father shall forfeit aborigine status; however if a prior agreement provided child should take the mother's surname or have an indigenous peoples traditional name, child shall not forfeit indigenous peoples status.

The children who were born out of wedlock by a non-indigenous woman and, upon the claim of the indigenous father, took the father's surname or had an indigenous peoples traditional name shall acquire the indigenous peoples status.
(Žq—ÌXœn©ˆ½Žæ“¾Œ´Z–¯™B“–¼Žš)
‘掵žŠ
‘æŽlžŠ‘æ“ñ€‹y‘OžŠ‘æ“ñ€A‘æŽO€Žq—œn‹ïŒ´Z–¯g•ª”V•ƒA•ê”V©ˆ½Œ´Z–¯™B“–¼ŽšC–¢¬”NŽž“¾—R–@’è‘㗝l‹¦‹cˆ½¬”NŒãˆËŒÂlˆÓŠèŽæ“¾ˆ½ÌXC•sŽó–¯–@‘æˆêç—ëŒÜ\‹ãžŠ‹y©–¼žŠ—á‘æˆêžŠ‘æ“ñ€‹K’è”VŒÀ§B

‘O€Žq—ŽkŒãÌXˆ×”ñŒ´Z–¯•ƒˆ½•ê”V©ŽÒC‘rŽ¸Œ´Z–¯g•ªB

‘æˆê€Žq—”VÌXœn©ˆ½Žæ“¾Œ´Z–¯™B“–¼ŽšC–¢¬”NŽž‹y¬”NŒãŠeˆÈˆêŽŸˆ×ŒÀB
Section 7
A child taking the surname of the indigenous parent or having a traditional indigenous peoples name, as provided in Section 4 paragraph 2 and paragraphs 2 and 3 of the foregoing section, may acquire or alter said status through the arrangement of a statutory representative during the period child is a minor, or by option after child has reached legal age. Said right is not subject to the limitations of Section 1059 of the Civil Code and Section 1 paragraph 2 of the Full Name Registration Law.

The child taking the non-indigenous parent's surname shall likewise forfeit his/her indigenous peoples status.

Surname change or acquisition of traditional indigenous peoples name is limited to once during period child is minor and once after child has reached legal age.
(–{–@Ž{s‘O–¢Žæ“¾g•ªŽÒ”V\¿’ö˜)
‘攪žŠ
ˆË–{–@”V‹K’èœä‹ïŒ´Z–¯g•ªŽÒC‰—–{–@Ž{s‘OˆöŒ‹¥A¾—{ˆ½‘´‘¼Œ´ˆö‘rŽ¸ˆ½–¢Žæ“¾Œ´Z–¯g•ªŽÒC“¾žû‹ï‘«Ž‘æš–¾Œ´Z–¯g•ª”V•¶ŒC\¿‰ñ•œˆ½Žæ“¾Œ´Z–¯g•ªB
Section 8
Individuals entitled to the indigenous peoples status as provided in said act who, prior to the enactment of said act, forfeited or failed to acquire their indigenous peoples status through marriage, adoption, or other reasons, may present documents adequately supporting their indigenous peoples status and apply for status recovery or acquisition.
(\¿‘rŽ¸Œ´Z–¯g•ª)
[ Application for loss of indigenous peoples status ]
‘æ‹ãžŠ
Œ´Z–¯—L‰º—ñîŒ`”VˆêŽÒC“¾\¿‘rŽ¸Œ´Z–¯g•ªF

     ˆêAŒ´Z–¯äo”ñŒ´Z–¯Œ‹¥ŽÒB
     “ñAŒ´Z–¯ˆ×”ñŒ´Z–¯¾—{ŽÒB
     ŽOA”NŸÞ“ñ\[Î]CŽ©Šè[e]ŠüŒ´Z–¯g•ªŽÒB
     ˆË‘O€‹K’è‘rŽ¸Œ´Z–¯g•ªŽÒCœ‘æŽOŠ¼îŒ`ŠOC“¾‰—¥ˆ÷萌WÁ–ň½¾—{萌WIŽ~ŒãCžû‹ï暖¾•¶Œ\¿‰ñ•œŒ´Z–¯g•ªB

ˆË‘æˆê€\¿‘rŽ¸Œ´Z–¯g•ªŽÒC‘´\¿Žž”V’¼ŒnŒŒe”ڐe›¢”VŒ´Z–¯g•ª•s‘rŽ¸B
Section 9
Under any one of the following circumstances, indigenous peoples are obliged to apply for status forfeiture:

     1. indigenous peoples marries non-indigenous peoples
     2. indigenous peoples are adopted by non-indigenous peoples
     3. upon reaching the age of twenty, indigenous peoples chose to abandon indigenous peoples status.

Indigenous peoples who forfeited status in light of the foregoing, except for the circumstance provided in paragraph 3, may recover their indigenous peoples status at the dissolution of said marriage or adoption upon the presentation of pertinent documents.

Immediate kin of indigenous peoples who forfeited status as provided in paragraph 1 do not forfeit status during the forfeiture application.
(–ñ’èÌXŒ´Z–¯g•ª)
[ Agreements to change indigineous peoples status ]
‘æ\žŠ
ŽR’nŒ´Z–¯äo•½’nŒ´Z–¯Œ‹¥C“¾–ñ’èÌXˆ×‘Š“¯”VŽR’nŒ´Z–¯ˆ½•½’nŒ´Z–¯g•ªG‘´Žq—”Vg•ªœn”VB

–¢ˆË‘O€‹K’è–ñ’èÌXˆ×‘Š“¯”VŒ´Z–¯g•ªŽÒC‘´Žq—‰—–¢¬”NŽžC“¾—R–@’è‘㗝l‹¦‹cˆ½¬”NŒãˆËŒÂlˆÓŠèCŽæ“¾ŽR’nŒ´Z–¯ˆ½•½’nŒ´Z–¯g•ªB
Section 10
In the event of the intermarriage between mountain and plain-land indigenous peoples, parties concerned should agree to change status to either mountain or plain-land indigenous peoples; children of said marriage take the same status.

In the event no status alteration agreement has been made, then their children may acquire the mountain or plain-land status or alter status through the arrangement of a statutory representative during the period child is a minor, or by option after child has reached legal age.
(g•ªŽæ“¾A‘rŽ¸AÌXˆ½‰ñ•œ”VŽó—‹@萋yœä“o‹LŽ–€)
[ Filing agencies and registration matters for status acquisition, loss, change or recovery ]
‘æ\ˆêžŠ
Œ´Z–¯g•ªŽæ“¾A‘rŽ¸AÌXˆ½‰ñ•œ”V\¿C—RácŽ–l[ŒË]ÐŠÝ’n”V[ŒË]­Ž––±ŠŽó—CR[¸]•„‡‹K’èŒã‰—[ŒË]ÐŽ‘—¿‹y[ŒË]Œû–¼•ë內’‹Lˆ½“hç÷‘´ŽR’nˆ½•½’nŒ´Z–¯g•ª‹y‘°•ÊC•À’Ê•ñácŽ–l[ŒË]ÐŠÝ’n”V[‹½]i’ÁAŽsA™½jŒöŠB

‘O€Œ´Z–¯”V‘°•Ê”F’è辦–@C—Rs­‰@’è”VB
Section 11
Indigenous peoples status acquisition, forfeiture, alteration, or recovery applications should be filed at the local census office at the applicant's place of domicile. Applications are evaluated to determine consistency with the law, then registration or cancellation of the mountain or plain-land indigenous peoples status and tribe is noted in the census data and census registration book; said registration or cancellation data is then forwarded to the village (town, city, district) administration office at the applicant's place of domicile.

There foregoing indigenous tribe recognition procedure is as determined by the Executive Yuan.
(X³“o‹LŽ–€”V’ö˜)
‘æ\“ñžŠ
ˆö[ŒË]Ð“o‹LöŒëAˆâ˜Rˆ½‘´‘¼Œ´ˆöCŒë“o‹Lˆ×Œ´Z–¯g•ªˆ½˜R–¢“o‹Lˆ×Œ´Z–¯g•ªŽÒCácŽ–l[ŒË]ÐŠÝ’n”V[ŒË]­Ž––±Šœä‰—’mŽ»ŒãC‘–Ê’Ê’mácŽ–lˆ×X³”V“o‹LCˆ½—RácŽ–lŒü[ŒË]ÐŠÝ’n”V[ŒË]­Ž––±Š\¿[¸]–¾C•Àˆ×X³”V“o‹LB
Section 12
In the case of census registration error, omission, or other factors resulting in the erroneous indigenous peoples registration or omitted indigenous peoples registration, upon the discovery of said error or omission, the local census office at the individual's place of domicile should notify the individual concerned and amend registration information, or the individual concerned may request the local census office to verify and amend registration information.
‘æ\ŽOžŠ
Forthcoming.
Section 13
As provided in EAIP Section 19, the government, in providing indigenous students taking preschool and public school education the opportunity to learn their ethnic language, history, and culture, should plan, assist, and supervise the class schedule arrangement and teaching procedure of preschools, public elementary and high schools.
(Ž{s“ú)
[ Day of enforcement ]
‘æ\ŽlžŠ
–{–@Ž©’†‰Ø–¯š ‹ã\”NˆêŒŽˆê“úŽ{sB
Section 14
Said act takes effect on January 1, 2001.