MAC finds support for Chinese tourists rising

CHASING SHADOWS? :Regarding public opinion on Taiwan's relationship with China, 85 percent of those surveyed said they support maintaining the `status-quo'

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sat, Dec 23, 2006 - Page 2

A survey conducted by the Main-land Affairs Council (MAC) found that 43 percent of those surveyed thought that a policy initiative to allow 1,000 Chinese tourists into the country for sightseeing each day would be acceptable.

The survey also found that 70 percent of those surveyed thought that the government should open up direct transportation links with China conditionally while 56 percent said that the government should not loosen the restrictions on China-bound investment before a social consensus is reached.

MAC Vice Chairman Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) announced the survey yes-terday, noting that while Taiwanese had an increasingly positive attitude toward any tourist opening they were conservative about direct transportation and economic links with China.

The council periodically conducts surveys on cross-strait affairs and policy and the poll released yesterday was the fourth and last one for this year.

The survey also showed that 75 percent of those polled thought that the government should promote cross-strait charter flights gradually based on the experience of the holiday charter flights of recent years.

In terms of the opinions about Taiwan's relationship with China, 85 percent of respondents said they support both sides of the Taiwan Strait maintaining the "status-quo," which Liu said was consistent with past surveys.

"The government's cross-strait policy goes hand in hand with the opinions expressed in this poll and the council will continue to carry out policies in this direction," Liu said.

In another poll released by the Cross-Strait Study Association, it was also found that more and more people identify themselves as "Taiwanese" rather than as "Chinese" and a steadily increasing number of people are willing to speak out about their pro-independence preference.

Sixty percent of those polled identified as "Taiwanese" and only 4.8 percent said they thought they were "Chinese." Sixty two percent of those surveyed support Taiwanese independence and 19 percent said Taiwan should not pursue independence.

serious attitude

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水), who attended the conference held by the association yesterday, said that he urged Beijing to take a serious attitude toward this poll if it considered itself a "rational regime."

"I think Beijing should recognize the fact that Taiwan's democratization and the frequent contacts between Taiwanese and Chinese have radically changed the identity of the people in Taiwan and it should not underestimate this evolution," Lin said.