Nearly 70 percent of Taiwanese identify with the sovereign concept “one country on each side” (一邊一國), a poll conducted by National Taiwan University (NTU) Department of Political Science research team head Chang Yu-tzung (張佑宗) has found.
Chang said that overall the poll showed about 70 percent of respondents identified with the statement that Taiwan and China are politically two separate countries, while only 20 percent supported the view that the Republic of China (ROC) holds sovereign claims to both Taiwan and China.
Five percent of people polled hold the opinion that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has sovereignty over China and Taiwan, and the remaining 5 percent did not know or were indifferent, Chang said.
The poll was based in social psychology theory, dividing interviewed participants — about 1,000 people — into four even groups of 250, Chang said.
The groups were further divided, with some given positive stimuli on issues of economic, political and technological development in China and contrasting groups — separated on the basis of gender, age, degree of education and stance on pro-unification and pro-independence — given no stimuli, Chang said.
The poll examined how three aspects — economic, political and technological development — influenced the way people formed national identification.
The factor of strong economic development in China was shown to have the greatest influence on sympathetic attitudes toward China — especially in the middle-aged group — whereas the younger generation saw it as a threat and was more emotionally tied to Taiwan, Chang said.
Political development in China had the greatest effect on pan-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) support, while technological development was the greatest factor influencing the younger generation, Chang said.
The majority, over 70 percent of those polled, stood by the “one country on each side” concept, Chang said.
Only 20 percent to 30 percent of those polled were swayed by the stimuli provided, showing that this only affected peoples’ opinion on the extent of sovereign territorial claims of the ROC and PRC.
It could be said that the majority of Taiwanese see the cross-strait service agreement as an agreement signed between two sovereign countries, Chang added.
Conversely, the aspect of cultural and economic integration with China held less weight with Taiwanese than issues focused on sovereignty and the extent of territorial claim, Chang said.
From this poll and others, it would seem that the majority of Taiwanese are trending towards a set concept of “one country on each side,” Chang said.
The poll was conducted in the early half of last year, with the results coming in by the end of last year, Chang said, adding that the unit commissioning the poll had not made the poll public due to certain concerns, on which Chang did not elaborate.