Thu, Nov 29, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Poll finds public prefers independence to China

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Straits Exchange Foundation poll found that Taiwanese respondents preferred independence to unification with China by 52 percent to 24 percent when the option of maintaining the "status quo" was excluded.

Some respondents declined to answer the question, with around 10 percent writing in "status quo" as a third option on the survey, foundation vice chairman Michael You (游盈隆) said.

In a separate question, respondents were asked to chose between the three options of maintaining the "status quo," being independent, or becoming part of China, 45 percent of respondents favored independence, 18 percent favored unification and 22 percent of the interviewees chose the "status quo."

The survey was conducted for the foundation by a polling company on Tuesday and Wednesday last week.

The 1,073 respondents were aged 20 or older.

The foundation said the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.99 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence.

The foundation released the results of the survey yesterday to highlight public opinion on issues related to cross-strait relations after 20 years of exchanges between Taiwan and China.

You said that the poll suggested cross-straight exchanges had not brought Taiwan and China closer together.

Contact between the countries has "carried the public farther and farther away from China instead of closer," You said.

When asked about their impression of China, 55 percent of respondents said they had a negative impression, while 33 percent said their impression of the country was positive.

When asked about their impression of the Chinese Communist Party, 70 percent had a negative impression and 17 percent a good one.

The foundation said the number of visits made by Taiwanese had made 45 million visits to China over the past 20 years.

Investment by Taiwanese in China in the past 20 years was between NT$4 trillion (US$123.9 billion) and NT$5 trillion, the foundation said.

"There are serious differences between the two sides of the strait and the poll shows that most people feel concerned about that," You said.

When asked whether Chinese should be allowed to visit Taiwan and whether restrictions should be lifted on Chinese capital, allowing investment in Taiwan, 71 percent of the respondents said the change would be an improvement, while 11 percent said it would be better for Taiwan if the restrictions were kept in place.

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