Vol. 11, No. 2 (2015), 41–59
This article focuses on the double liminality that exiled Tibetans face in Taiwan today. In the context of the international political system, refugees or stateless people cannot be placed into any existing order of nation-states. Refugees are in a state of liminality. With its national title “Republic of China” (ROC), Taiwan has been placed in an ambiguous position with its status as neither a nation-state nor a non-nation-state ever since the ROC was expelled from the United Nations. The ROC is in a state of liminality among states in the international order. In addition, Taiwan claims its sovereignty over Tibet, despite losing this sovereignty in 1949 to the communists. Taiwan’s ambiguity of identity pushes the government neither to treat Tibetan refugees in Taiwan as compatriots nor accept their status as refugees. Placed under double liminal status, exiled Tibetan refugees in Taiwan have been discriminated against and denied their entitled human rights. This paper provides two cases to reveal the very real difficulty of their situation in Taiwan. Both stories present the kind of dilemma the exiled Tibetans face in Taiwan due to this double liminality.
Mei-Lin Pan is associate professor of Department of Humanities and Social Sciences and deputy dean of College of Hakka Studies at the National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Hsin Chu, Taiwan. Her areas of research are on economic sociology and development sociology, especially on the survival strategies of migrants and refugees. Her recent articles include: “The Changing Character and Survival Strategies of the Chinese community in India,” China Report Vol. 50, No. 3 (August 2014); “The Tea Production Regime of Beipu and Emei,” Journal of Hakka Studies Vol. 6, No. 1 (2013); and “A Displaced Moral Economy: Tibetan Refugee Sweater Markets and Associations in India,”Taiwanese Journal of Sociology No. 46 (June 2011).