Two-fifths say sovereignty eroded: poll

NATION DIVIDED::A former representative to the US said there are signs that the international community is starting to believe Taiwan views China as its patron

By Rich Chang and Lin Shu-hui  /  Staff Reporters

Sun, May 15, 2011 - Page 1

While 47.3 percent of the public think cross-strait exchanges over the past three years have not negatively impacted Taiwan’s sovereignty, 40 percent believe that there has been a severe erosion of sovereignty following the cross-strait exchanges initiated by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration since 2008, according to a survey released by the Taiwan Brain Trust yesterday.

Think tank chief executive Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that the survey was conducted on Friday and Saturday last week, before the recent revelation of an internal WHO memo dated September last year that showed the body instructed members to refer to Taiwan as a “Province of China.”

The percentage of people believing Taiwan’s sovereignty has been eroded as a result of cross-strait exchanges could very well be higher if a new survey asking the same questions was conducted now, Lo added.

Former representative to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told a press conference held by the think tank that since Ma assumed the presidency in May 2008, the -government’s foreign affairs policies and even domestic matters had come to depend on Beijing’s “help and good will.”

However, the truth of the matter is that Beijing is not friendly to Taiwan at all and its Taiwan policies are designed to weaken Taiwan’s international standing and threaten Taiwan with its military power, Wu said, adding that there are increasing signs that the international community is starting to believe that Taiwan considers China to be its patron.

The poll, coming just days before the Ma administration marks three years in power, indicated that Ma’s approval rate stood at 40.2 percent, while his disapproval rate remained at 48.3 percent.

It also showed that 41.7 percent agreed that Ma had broken many of his campaign promises made three years ago, though 37.4 percent disagreed.

While 16.8 percent of respondents said their personal economic situation had improved over the past three years, 49.9 percent said there had been no change and 30.5 percent said that their financial situation had grown worse.

In addition, 78.6 percent said they believed the growing gap between the nation’s rich and poor was a serious issue, while 13.9 percent said it was not serious.

Meanwhile, approval of the Cabinet’s performance was 35.5 percent, with a disapproval rate of 50.9 percent, the poll showed.

The poll collected 1,078 samples and had a margin of error of 2.98 percent.