Mon, Mar 14, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Dislike of China's law widespread: poll

UNIFYING FACTOR Almost 94% of respondents of the survey rejected the idea that Taiwan is part of China and 91% believe Taiwan's sovereignty rests with her people

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Mainland Affairs Council said yesterday that it is considering adjusting cross-strait policies as a new poll showed 93.4 percent of respondents, which included people from all major political parties, oppose Beijing's resorting to non-peaceful means to solve its sovereignty disputes with Taipei.

The opinion poll, conducted by the Institute for National Policy Research (INPR) from March 9 to 12, was the first one since China unveiled the draft of its proposed "anti-secession" law. Two previous surveys on the legislation were done in December and last month.

The latest poll, for which 1,067 people were interviewed, showed that while 83.9 percent of the respondents rejected the claim in the bill that Taiwan is part of China, 70.9 percent said they disagreed that foreign countries should not allowed to get involved in solving the Taiwan question because it is China's internal affair.

The poll found that 79.1 percent of the respondents believe the Chinese authorities are unfriendly toward the Taiwanese government, while 62.8 percent feel the Chinese authorities are unfriendly to the Taiwanese people.

Ninety-one percent of respondents agreed that the Republic of China's (ROC) sovereignty belongs to its 23 million people and that all moves to change the ROC's status quo have to be approved by its people, according to the poll.

Council Vice Chairman David Huang (黃偉峰), who was at an INPR seminar yesterday that analyzed the poll results, said the people of Taiwan had been repelled by the anti-secession proposal.

The authorization of the use of non-peaceful means against Taiwan "exposes China's brutal policy toward Taiwan, proving that China's claimed efforts to promote peaceful exchanges with Taiwan are false slogans," Huang said.

China's real purpose in enacting the law is to carry out a military invasion and destroy the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, he said.

"No matter how the Chinese authorities try to hide or belie their purpose, their deceitfulness and intention to invade are revealed in the proposed law," Huang said.

Urging Beijing to "step back from the edge of the cliff," Huang said the council would review and adjust current cross-strait policy if relations between Taiwan and China suffer great setbacks because of the legislation.

Asked how the government should respond to the threat posed by the proposed law, 55.7 percent of respondents felt the government should increase the defense budget for arms purchases and 57.9 percent said Taiwan should hold a national referendum to counter the legislation.

Hsu Jung-ming (徐永明), a research assistant at the Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences at Academia Sinica, said that it was remarkable that even if 65 percent of the respondents said they do not belong to any political party, the poll showed that more than 50 percent believed the government should increase the defense budget and hold a referendum to counter the law.

Hsu said that Beijing's goal of widening the division in Taiwanese society over cross-strait issues by introducing the bill seems to have failed. China wanted to distinguish between independence-minded Taiwanese and unification-minded ones by observing their responses to the law, but the poll results suggests Beijing might have helped people accept President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) consensus with People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) over the country's status, Hsu said.

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