Thu, Mar 16, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Poll highlights uncertainty on ties with China

SURVEY SAYS Democracy activist Wang Dan said he was appalled that many respondents to a survey could not say whether Taiwan was part of the PRC

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹) yesterday said he was appalled at a poll that indicated more than 30 percent of the Taiwanese public could not distinguish whether or not Taiwan was part of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Wang was responding to an opinion poll released yesterday by the Institute for National Policy Research on the public's attitude toward cross-strait and foreign relations.

According to the poll, 65 percent of those interviewed did not agree with the idea that Taiwan is part of the PRC, while 9.5 percent agreed and 25 percent said they had no idea or had no comment on the issue.

"It is incredible to know that about 30 percent of the Taiwanese public are not sure about this question. The logic follows as simply as one not feeling hungry anymore after a big meal. How can it be that the Taiwanese people weren't able to understand the fact that China is an authoritarian country?" Wang said at a press conference at the release of the poll.

Wang was one of the student leaders during the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations. He is currently a PhD student at Harvard University, working on a thesis on politics in China and Taiwan in the 1950s. He is in Taiwan for a one-month visit.

Wang also criticized the governing Democratic Progressive Party and the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for swinging toward China, saying both parties were shortsighted and eager to cash in on political gains for electoral purposes rather than focusing on the likely situation in China a decade from now.

"It is China 10 years from now that matters. Whether China can be democratized by then is a crucial question that matters to all of the people in Taiwan, because a strong China that is not democratic but is militarily powerful will definitely want to invade Taiwan. Even the US won't be relevant at that time to reining in China," Wang said.

The survey also showed that 83 percent of respondents were opposed to letting the government unilaterally decide whether the nation should unite with China or choose independence in the future.

Asked what reforms were deemed most necessary for China, 54 percent of those asked regarded democratic reform as essential, followed by social stability and social justice, which received about 34 and 24 percent support. Only 18.9 percent of the interviewees deemed economic prosperity an immediate concern for reform.

On the question of friendliness toward foreigners, 27 percent of the interviewees felt most friendly toward Japanese, followed by the Americans with 22 percent support, Chinese at 11 percent and Koreans with 9 percent.

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