A public opinion poll released by the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) poll center yesterday found that a majority of respondents, or 56.8 percent, agreed that, generally speaking, the “China factor” has brought more negative effects to Taiwan than positive ones, a DPP spokesperson said.
The survey, conducted on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, polled respondents on China’s impact in Taiwan in 10 areas that fell in the categories politics, economy and socio-cultural influence, Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.
On politics, 70.3 percent of the respondents indicated they observed China had a “negative” influence on Taiwan’s international status, while 50.9 percent of those polled said Beijing influenced Taiwan’s policymaking.
Nearly half of the respondents argued that Beijing has asserted its influence on Taiwan’s economy, with 46.4 percent of the respondents saying that Taiwan’s industrial policy had been affected and 46.8 percent saying Chinese influence further widened the wealth gap in Taiwan.
The poll, which collected 1,115 valid samples and had a margin of error of 2.9 percent, was released to accompany an enlarged meeting of the party’s China Affairs Committee held yesterday, which focused on how the DPP should handle the influence of the “China factor” in Taiwan.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who is visiting Thailand, and former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) were unable to attend the meeting.
However, the meeting’s chairman, former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃), said participants still had enthusiastic discussions and agreed that bilateral exchanges between Taiwan and China are now inevitable, but should always be handled carefully.
“The exchanges should be conducted under three principles: safeguarding sovereignty, national security and transparency, and they should include a mechanism to monitor exchanges,” Yu said after the meeting.
Several distinguished participants gave their advice to the party based on their experience in dealing with Beijing, with Lau Ka Yee (劉家儀), a democracy advocate in Hong Kong, saying that Taiwan should be aware of Beijing’s infiltration into domestic politics and the media industry.
“Beijing does not like to see collaboration between Taiwan and Hong Kong concerning human rights and democratic movements,” she said.
Liu Te-hsun (劉德勳), who resigned as deputy minister of the Mainland Affairs Council in January, urged the DPP to have faith in Taiwanese, saying that the people would be able to tell China’s political motivations as bilateral exchanges increase.
However, he alerted the party on China’s eagerness to ink a cross-strait cultural agreement, part of Beijing’s grand plan of an invisible war to absorb Taiwan without a shot fired.
Academia Sinica researcher Chang Ku-ming (張谷銘) had similar suggestions to the DPP, saying that the party should reconsider its position on its policy on Chinese students in Taiwan, because the exchange would likely change the students’ view about Taiwan and, at the same time, sow the seeds of democracy for China’s democratic movement.
The meeting was the third of nine enlarged meetings on the DPP’s China policy.
The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 29 and will be chaired by Tsai.