Tue, Aug 13, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese identity stays strong: poll

GROWING GAP:The survey shows that opposition to unification remained strong at 60.9 percent, while more than half of respondent think Taiwan will stay independent

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The number of people who identify themselves as Taiwanese showed a marginal increase compared with a survey conducted four years ago, while the number of those who identify themselves as being Chinese continues to drop, the Taiwan Indicators Survey Research (TISR) said yesterday.

In a tracking poll about identity, wherein respondents were allowed to make multiple choices, 96.5 percent of respondents identified themselves as Taiwanese, an increase of 0.6 percent from a similar poll conducted in September 2008, the survey showed.

In answer to the same question, 85.3 percent of respondents also identified themselves as “citizens of the Republic of China,” 74.1 percent checked Zhonghua minzu (中華民族, Chinese ethnic group), 72.3 percent chose “Asians” and 69.8 percent huaren (華人, ethnic Chinese).

Meanwhile, the percentage of those who identified themselves as zhongguo ren (中國人, Chinese) dropped to 43.5 percent from 46.6 percent in the 2008 poll, and only 7.5 percent said they were “citizens of the People’s Republic of China [PRC],” down 1.9 percent.

TISR general manager Tai Li-an (戴立安) said that 11 percent of respondents in the 20-to-39 age group said they were PRC citizens.

Asked about future relations between Taiwan and China, 37.4 percent viewed the two as “trade partners,” down 6.7 percent from a similar poll in March 2010, the survey showed.

About one in five, or 19.9 percent, viewed the two sides as “friends,” 8.2 percent as “relatives,” 8.1 percent as “family members,” 4.3 percent as “strangers” and 4.2 percent as “enemies.”

Opposition to “eventual unification” remained strong, with 60.9 percent of respondents saying they do not support unification with China, about three times the percentage of those who favored it at 20.5 percent.

More than half — 52.3 percent — of respondents said Taiwan should eventually become a fully fledged independent and new nation, while 27.5 percent did not support the idea.

Pan-blue supporters appeared to be divided on the issue, with 44.4 percent supportive of Taiwanese independence against 43.3 percent who oppose it.

Public opinion remained divided over President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) position on the nation’s future, with 37.5 percent saying that Ma was pro-unification and 33.9 percent saying that Ma favored the “status quo,” which were about the same as the ratios in previous surveys. Only 9.7 percent of respondents said Ma was pro-independence.

The survey, conducted on Thursday and Friday last week, collected 1,002 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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