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The Determinants of Public Attitudes Toward the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan
Taiwan Journal of Democracy (2011)
  • Joel Fetzer, Pepperdine University
  • J. Christopher Soper, Pepperdine University

This article investigates the current attitudes of the Taiwanese public toward the rights of aborigines (Yuanzhumin), a neglected topic both in Taiwan and throughout the world. The theoretical literature on ethnic politics suggests that such attitudes might be rooted in one's level ofeducation, ethnic group conflict and partisanship, intergroup contact, and/or religion-like ideology (Confucian values). Using data from the 2006 Taiwan Social Image Survey I and our 2009 privately commissioned poll on support for the rights ofTaiwanese aborigines, we test these four theories and find that higher education increases support for aboriginal rights. The results confirm the ethno-partisanship model for 2006 but not for 2009. Conversely, the percentage of Yuanzhumin living in a region boosted hostility toward them in 2009 but not in 2006. We likewise discover that two Confucian values (family loyalty and social hierarchies) have no statistically significant effect on attitudes toward Yuanzhumin. A third key Confucian value, social harmony, appears to increase support for aboriginal rights. Surprisingly, Confucian values seem to pose no hindrance to the advancement of ethnic minorities' rights and may, in fact, even promote them

  • Taiwan,
  • aborigines,
  • Yuanzhumin,
  • Indigenous Peoples,
  • political rights,
  • public opinion
Publication Date
Citation Information
Joel Fetzer and J. Christopher Soper. "The Determinants of Public Attitudes Toward the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan" Taiwan Journal of Democracy Vol. 7 Iss. 1 (2011)
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