Encountering the Qing Dynasty
Indigenous people interacted with the Qing state in various ways. Most groups in western Taiwan paid taxes to the Qing and provided corvée (unpaid labor). Most tribal communities in the mountains and the east maintained their autonomy and independence. Because governing was expensive, the Qing local government ruled only the western region; mountainous areas and the east were regarded as huawai, “beyond the pale of civilization,” and not directly under Qing control. According to the state’s system of categorization and border demarcation, ethnic groups were classified, some as “cooked savages” (those, mostly in the plains, who had submitted to Qing rule and adopted some Han customs), others as “raw savages” (those, mainly in the mountains, who remained belligerent and, in Qing eyes, uncivilized).