Salon.com is having an interesting little discussion of Tonio Andrade’s new book How Taiwan Became Chinese. I have not yet read the book, but I am familiar with Andrade’s earlier, excellent, work on the Dutch period in Taiwanese history. As one might expect, despite the fact that the book ends before 1700 and Andrade denies that his work should be read in light of current debates about the status of Taiwan, that is exactly what is happening. One of the main contentions of his book seems to be the not very controversial position that the Chinese settlement of Taiwan began under Dutch rule and that the early history of Chinese settlement should be understood in the context of the globalizing world of trade in East Asia. He also says that “Taiwan today is culturally Chinese.” This has needless to say led to some criticism, given that any statement you can make about the nature of Taiwan will lead to someone taking offense.