Sun, May 26, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Majority sees Taiwan and China as separate: study

By William Hetherington  /  Staff writer, with CNA

National Chengchi University Election Study Center researcher Cheng Su-feng, left, at a news conference at the university yesterday presents the results of a study that showed that a majority of Taiwanese see Taiwan and China as distinct countries.

Photo: CNA

Most Taiwanese see Taiwan and China as distinct nations, despite cultural similarities, a study released yesterday by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center showed.

Center researcher Cheng Su-feng (鄭夙芬) revealed the results on the first day of a two-day academic symposium in Taipei on Taiwan’s democratization and free elections. It also marked the center’s 30th anniversary.

The study on the national identity of Taiwanese, which involved interviews conducted between 2000 and 2016, has found that while most people considered China to be the source of much of Taiwan’s culture, they considered China to be a separate country, Cheng said.

The research showed that while a collective identity had not yet taken shape in the nation, Taiwanese largely saw Taiwan as a country, she said.

While most felt that there was a connection with China based on migration and shared cultural elements, there was a portion of the public that conversely cited cultural differences as making the two nations distinct, Cheng said.

The study found that a growing number of Taiwanese view the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as a distinctly separate country from the Republic of China (ROC), but there is a number of people who consider Taiwan as a part of “China,” without specifying whether they mean the PRC or the ROC, she said.

The study showed that Taiwan is still in a state of change, but a majority refer to themselves as Taiwanese to specify that they were born and raised in Taiwan, she said, adding that they also agreed that they were “willing to make contributions on behalf of Taiwan.”

“Looking at the discourse in Taiwan from the past 10 years describing Taiwan and China as opposing countries, it is clear that [seeing Taiwan as a separate country] has already become the mainstream,” Cheng said.

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