This paper investigates the shallow seismicity occurring in the Taiwan region during the 20th century using a stochastic declustering method that has been developed on the basis of the theory of the epidemic-type aftershock sequence model. It provides a probability based tool to objectively separate the space-time occurrences of earthquakes into a background and a clustering component. On the basis of the background and clustering seismicity rates, we discuss the correlation between the distribution of the cluster ratio and the regional seismotectonic structures. Specifically, we find that the areas of the highest clustering ratio correspond to the major strike-slip fault traces in and around Taiwan. Additionally, in the Taiwan inland region, during the period 1960–1990, the outputs for the stochastically declustered catalogue show a clear quiescence in background seismicity preceding the recovery of activation and the occurrences of the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake of ML7.3, while the other active regions show stationary background activity. This could be interpreted as an effect of the aseismic slip in the Chi-Chi rupture fault, whereby the inland region around the Chi-Chi source becomes a stress shadow.