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The act of petitioning for recognized status, however, does not always reflect any consensus view among scholars that the relevant group should in fact be categorized as a separate ethnic group.

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"high mountain"), which are one of the 56 ethnicities officially recognized by the PRC.

According to the 2000 Census, 4,461 people were identified as Gaoshan living in mainland China, some surveys indicate that of the 4,461 Gaoshan recorded in the 2000 PRC Census, it is estimated that there are 1,500 Amis, 1,300 Bunun, 510 Paiwan, and the remainder belonging to other peoples.

Centralised government policies designed to foster language shift and cultural assimilation, as well as continued contact with the colonisers through trade, intermarriage and other intercultural processes, have resulted in varying degrees of language death and loss of original cultural identity.

For example, of the approximately 26 known languages of the Taiwanese aborigines (collectively referred to as the Formosan languages), at least ten are now extinct, five are moribund and several are to some degree endangered.

Archaeological, linguistic and anecdotal evidence suggests that Taiwan's indigenous peoples have undergone a series of cultural shifts to meet the pressures of contact with other societies and new technologies.

Beginning in the early 17th century, Taiwanese aborigines faced broad cultural change as the country became incorporated into the wider global economy by a succession of competing colonial regimes from Europe and Asia;.

Formal recognition confers certain legal benefits and rights upon a group, as well as providing them with the satisfaction of recovering their separate identity as an ethnic group, as of June 2014, 16 people groups have been recognized.

The Council of Indigenous Peoples consider several limited factors in a successful formal petition, the determining factors include collecting member genealogies, group histories and evidence of a continued linguistic and cultural identity.

The lack of documentation and the extinction of many indigenous languages as the result of colonial cultural and language policies have made the prospect of official recognition of many ethnicities a remote possibility.

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