Taiwan’s Aboriginal Tribe Autonomy Movement began in the 1980s when it first took place on college campuses and on the street in northern Taiwan. It gained more space in promotion and discourse when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power on the island in 2000. Overnight, facilitating the movement seemed to have become a major policy of the new government. This was principally because when the DPP was struggling on the street for democracy in the early days, to strengthen its influence against the Kuomintang (KMT) government, it had entered into alliance with the movement’s powers. As a result of this, after the DPP held power, many of the elite of the movement were absorbed in succession into the public sector or DPP headquarters to continue their mission for self-government of aboriginal tribes.
In the meanwhile, aboriginal tribe self-government became a hot research subject in academic circles and the government’s administrative agencies in Taiwan. Much of such research adopted research efforts on aboriginal tribes or minority nationality autonomous regions (MNARs) from around the world, such as New Zealand, Australia, America, Canada, Europe, and mainland China. This in turn had accumulated innumerable valuable assets for Taiwanese aboriginal tribes who were marching towards establishment of Taiwan aboriginal tribe autonomous regions.
On the other hand, in mainland China, since it took power in mainland China in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has established a total of 155 MNARs across the country – 5 autonomous regions, 30 autonomous prefectures, and 120 autonomous counties (banners), in addition to 1256 minority nationality autonomous
With a political system design like this, under a state regime which enforces extreme centralization of power, however, can the MNARs really put their autonomy into practice? What are their characteristics and challenges? And what could they inspire both Taiwanese aboriginal tribes striving hard towards self-government and autonomy in a bid to put an end to their colonized fate and the Taiwanese government attempting to forge a “partnership” with its own aboriginal tribes? These questions were all explored in this study.