In an opinion poll published yesterday, young Taiwanese between the ages of 20 and 29 showed the most serious concerns about unification with China and the highest support rate for Taiwanese independence — if maintaining the “status quo” became unsustainable.
The survey, conducted by the pro-independence Taiwan Brain Trust on Saturday and Sunday, found that “young people’s concerns about the inevitable eventual unification are clear,” the think tank’s president, Wu Rong-i (吳榮義), told a news conference in Taipei.
Citing the Sunflower movement, Wu said that Taiwanese youth have proven that they would take action to address their concerns and fight for their future, which the elder generation found encouraging.
The poll found that 45 percent of the respondents, including 59 percent of the 20-to-29 age group, believed that the cross-strait service trade agreement would pave the way for unification with China more than it would promote economic growth.
Asked if they think Taiwan is an independent and sovereign country, 57.6 percent of respondents said “yes,” with 60.3 percent of the 20-to-29 age group giving a positive answer, second only to the 60-to-69 age group’s 62.7 percent.
On cross-strait relations, 7.7 percent supported the option “immediate independence,” 2.7 percent favored “immediate unification,” 18.7 percent supported “status quo now and independence in the future,” 7.7 percent backed “status quo now and unification in the future,” 33.9 percent were in favor of “status quo now with future decision pending” and 22.9 percent liked “permanent status quo.”
Further analysis found that 31.8 percent of the 20-to-29 age group favored independence in general, only slightly behind the 70-and-above age group’s 32.2 percent.
Young people’s preference of independence was confirmed in another question, which asked what their decision would be if the “status quo” was unsustainable.
Overall, 20.4 percent chose unification with China, while 62.7 percent supported independence.
However, respondents of the 20-to-29 age group (73.6 percent) and the 30-to-39 age group (68.3 percent) showed stronger support for independence than any other age group.
When asked about self-identity, if they were given only the options of Taiwanese and Chinese, 93 percent of the 20-to-29 age group said they preferred being Taiwanese, the highest among all age groups.
Overall, 88.4 percent of those polled chose being Taiwanese, while 7.7 percent said they considered themselves Chinese.
Similar results were found in other questions as 55.8 percent of the 20-to-29 age group and 58.9 percent of the 30-to-39 age group saw China as a “hostile country,” both at least 10 percentage points higher than other groups.
Taiwan Brain Trust founder Koo Kuang-min (辜寬敏) said the results reflected “the failure of Beijing’s Taiwan policy over the past 20 years” because it has turned the young Taiwanese, who grew up in an era of the most extensive cross-strait exchange in 60 years, into “China haters.”
“It is time for Beijing to change its Taiwan policy, as the strategy of absorbing Taiwan by economic means has proven a failure,” he said.
The survey collected 1,069 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.