Mon, Oct 09, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Nation's sense of Taiwanese identity growing: DPP polls

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

More citizens of Taiwan are identifying themselves as Taiwanese rather than as Chinese or as both, according to a series of opinion polls that were conducted by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) over the past 10 years.

The party released an analysis of opinions about national identity between 1995 and this year in an e-paper on Thursday that was based on 77 opinion polls.

According to the analysis the DPP conducted, more than 60 percent of the people in Taiwan identified themselves with the nation, while only approximately 20 percent said they identified with China after the presidential election in 2004.

People disagreed sharply on their national identity in 1995, with approximately 35 percent saying they were Chinese and 32 percent saying they were Taiwanese, the analysis said.

However, after the presidential election held in 1996, close to half of the people polled identified themselves as Taiwanese, the analysis said.

The percentage of people who said they were Chinese dropped to about 20 percent at this time, it said.

During the presidential election in 2000, more than half of the respondents identified themselves as Taiwanese, but the percentage decreased between September and November 2002. The number of people who said they were Chinese or both Chinese and Taiwanese remained unchanged during this period, the report said.

The result indicated that many people who previously said they were Taiwanese became more undecided about their national identity four years ago, the paper said.

The number of people who said they identified with the nation rose to more than 60 percent after September 2003, when the DPP started its campaign to deliver a new Constitution.

Although the report did not analyze what caused beliefs pertaining to the national identity of people in Taiwan to shift, DPP Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said yesterday in a telephone interview that "Taiwanese consciousness" began to become better understood after former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) assumed office.

He said that the party felt comforted by the results because they showed that people here do not "fantasize" as much about China as they previously did during the "autocratic era."

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