Scholar says school textbook exaggerates extent of early Han population in Taiwan

National Chung Hsing University associate professor Shen Jian-de believes the number of Han immigrants is overstated

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(Wikimedia Commons photo)

(Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- How many Han immigrants were there in Taiwan when the Dutch were expelled by Koxinga in 1662?

100,000 is the number stated in Taiwan’s new senior high school history textbook, but former National Chung Hsing University associate professor Shen Jian-de (沈建德) strongly disagrees, Liberty Times reported on Wednesday (July 10). He believes the number of Han is exaggerated and the textbook is fabricating history.

Shen said some versions of the history textbooks for senior high school students state that before the Dutch left Taiwan, the population of Han immigrants in Taiwan reached 100,000. Various historic documents, however, say there were only 3,200.

Shen added there are documents that state at the end of the Koxinga family rule (1662-1683) era, the population of Han immigrants in Taiwan exceeded 200,000. He also disputed that number, saying that there were about 40,000, citing two authoritative historic sources.

He added the Han people were sent back to China after the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) military defeated the Koxinga family and took over Taiwan. Therefore, Shen takes issue with the new senior high school history textbook saying: “A census in 1811 (the 16th year of the reign of the Jiaqing Emperor) revealed that there were about 2 million Han people in Taiwan.”

Shen said the exact number from that census was 1,944,737, further disputing the validity of the stated census by saying that another historic document states that everyone in Taiwan at that time was indigenous.