Half of Chinese students studying in Taiwan have given a nod to Taiwan’s democratic system and would be willing to live in the country for a long time, according to a recent survey released by I-Shou University in Greater Kaohsiung.
Nearly 18 percent of Chinese students responding to the survey said they had become aware of certain thorny obstacles to cross-strait unification only after they had stayed here for some time.
Fifty-three percent of the respondents said they believed China should learn from Taiwan’s democratic system.
Wang Chia-chou (王嘉州), an associate professor at I-Shou University’s Department of Public Policy and Administration, published an article in the latest issue of a magazine dedicated to the study of China.
The article was based on the findings of an open-ended opinion survey and writings of Chinese students studying in Taiwan.
According to Wang’s study, Taiwan’s liberal lifestyle, social norms and humanistic system have prompted 50 percent of the respondents to say that they are willing to stay here on a long-term basis.
Many respondents who witnessed Taiwan’s presidential election a year ago said that they were surprised to find that democracy could just be a simple way of life and that the election day was just a normal day.
Nevertheless, a number of Chinese students said that public outcry over a series of controversial policies and measures adopted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government following President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election made them come to understand that democracy is not a miracle cure.
A number of Chinese students said they disagreed with many of their local counterparts’ perception that democratization has made Taiwan fundamentally different from China.
Many of them also said they were shocked by Taiwanese students’ lack of knowledge or understanding of the current state of Chinese society.
Twenty-three of the 34 Chinese students who answered the open-ended questionnaires said their study in Taiwan has changed their views on their homeland.
Eighteen of them said that “China should learn from Taiwan,” including that the Chinese government should take responsibility for the infamous June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, referring to the Taiwanese government’s apology for the 228 Incident, the survey shows.
Chinese students said they had been taught that the two sides of the Strait should eventually be unified, but 17.7 percent said they came to understand after having studied here that difficult issues stand in the way of unification.
Some said they have become more aware that public opinion will decide whether the two sides would ever unite again.
Only 20.6 percent said they still believe that unification will become a reality in the future, while many said that unification has become increasingly difficult.