A survey released yesterday suggested that nearly 70 percent of respondents think Taiwan and China are two separate countries and that less than 10 percent think that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to “a divided Republic of China [ROC].”
The survey, conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research (TISR), showed that 69.7 percent believe that Taiwan and China are “two countries with separate development,” 9.6 percent think that both sides belong to “a divided ROC” and 2.4 percent see the two as belonging to “a divided People’s Republic of China [PRC].” A further 18.2 percent had no opinion, the survey showed.
Given a choice of how they would like the international media to refer to the country, “Taiwan” ranked first at 78.9 percent, followed by the ROC at 72.5 percent, “Chinese Taipei” at 25.8 percent and “Taiwan, China” at 6.5 percent; 3.7 percent had no answer.
The survey also showed that if Beijing recognized the existence of the ROC, Taiwanese attitudes toward eventual independence or unification would likely show significant changes.
A total of 73.3 percent of respondents said it would be unnecessary for Taiwan to change its national title or declare independence if China recognized the ROC, while 13.5 percent said it would still be necessary and 13.1 percent declined to answer, the survey showed.
In response to a similar question, 31.2 percent of respondents said they agreed that Taiwan and China should establish an alliance or move toward merging into a new country if the PRC recognized the ROC, while 42.6 percent disagreed and 25.2 percent had no opinion.
In the previous TISR poll in August, 52.3 percent of respondents said they favored Taiwan’s eventual independence and 20.5 percent of respondents envisioned that both sides should seek eventual unification, TISR general manager Tai Li-an (戴立安) said.
It seems that the public’s attitude toward independence and unification could change significantly — about a 10 to 20 percent shift — if Beijing softened its hawkish position on the legitimacy of the ROC, Tai said.
Another question found that 23.7 percent of those polled said they would trust the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) more if the party renounced its attempt to change the nation’s name and seek independence, while 51 percent said their impression about the DPP would be the same, 6.9 percent said they would not trust the DPP as much and 18.3 percent had no opinion.
The survey, conducted from Monday to Wednesday, collected 1,009 valid samples and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.