Sat, Jan 19, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Nationality, new constitution preferred, poll shows

‘NONPARTISAN NATURE’:The Taiwan New Constitution Foundation’s Koo Kwang-ming said that Taiwan has not addressed fundamental issues of its national identity

By Su Fun-her and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Trend Survey and Research Co general manager Wu Shih-chang speaks at a Taiwan New Constitution Foundation news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

In a poll published yesterday by the pan-green-leaning Taiwan New Constitution Foundation, 80.2 percent of respondents said that Taiwan and China are separate nations, while 72.1 percent said they supported efforts to create a constitution that better reflects the nation’s political status.

When asked about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) remarks on Jan. 2, 65.3 percent of respondents said they would reject unification with China under the “one country, two systems framework” proposed by Xi, the foundation said.

Of the respondents, 53.7 percent said that they support maintaining the cross-strait “status quo,” 31 percent said they support Taiwanese independence and 11.4 percent said they support unification with China, the foundation said.

Should the “status quo” become untenable, 64.1 percent of respondents said they would support a formal declaration of Taiwanese independence, while 24.7 percent said they would support unification, the foundation said.

Regarding identity, 57.2 percent of respondents said that they are Taiwanese, while 3.1 percent said that they are exclusively Chinese and 38.2 percent said they are both Taiwanese and Chinese, it said.

If they had to choose one, 82.9 percent said they would identify as Taiwanese, the foundation said.

It added that 57 percent of respondents said they were unaware that the Republic of China Constitution describes unifying “China” as a national political goal.

Article 4 of the Constitution states: “The territory of the ROC according to its existing national boundaries shall not be altered except by resolution of the National Assembly,” which is often deemed to imply the ROC’s sovereignty over China, Mongolia and Tibet.

However, in 1993 the Council of Grand Justices issued its Interpretation No. 328, saying that the Constitution did not enumerate the constituent parts of the territory, so its delimitation “is a significant political question ... beyond the reach of judicial review.”

“Although Taiwanese society is peaceful and rather prosperous, it has not been able address the fundamental issue of national identity,” said Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏), the foundation’s creator and a former presidential adviser.

“According to the poll, a majority believes we need our own constitution,” Koo said.

“At her inauguration ceremony [in 2016], President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) sang a national anthem that contains the words ‘our party.’ Does she not understand the contradiction?” he asked.

The poll showed that about 80 percent of respondents said Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation, and that its existence is separate from China, foundation deputy executive Raymond Sung (宋承恩) said.

“Taiwanese national identity is a nonpartisan issue and that is particularly evident among young people,” he said.

Meanwhile, 20.2 percent of respondents said that they “strongly approved” of a potential presidential run by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), while 21.9 percent said they “somewhat approved,” 22.7 percent said they “somewhat disapproved,” 26.6 percent said they “strongly disapproved” and 8.6 percent had no opinion, the foundation said.

Ko had the highest approval rating among respondents in their 20s and 30s at 58.8 percent, while 58.3 percent of people aged 40 or older disapproved of a potential candidacy and 32.6 percent said they approved, it said.

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