This essay takes up two issues: the part successive colonialisms played in forging a Taiwan identity, and the theoretical implications of the Taiwan (and Hong Kong) experience for colonialism in the making of modern identities. It argues that the cumulative experience of colonialism justifies arguments for a distinct Taiwan identity that resists dissolution into a vague “Chineseness.” The Taiwan case suggests, for the same reason that it is misleading to approach colonialism from nationalist perspectives as an obstacle to national identity without also accounting for the ways in which colonialism historically has factored into the constitution of national identities.

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