Majority unclear on ‘1992 consensus’: poll

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Apr 27, 2016 - Page 3

Despite President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) frequent reference to the so-called “1992 consensus,” a significant majority of respondents to a poll published yesterday said they are unaware of the contents of the “consensus.”

The telephone-based survey, conducted by the Taiwan Brain Trust on Wednesday and Thursday last week, sought to gauge the public’s perceptions of the “1992 consensus” and their national identity.

The “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted making up in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese government that both sides of the Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

Of those polled, 76.2 percent were unclear about the main appeal of the “1992 consensus,” with 18.2 percent saying they had a clear understanding of the content of the “consensus.”

Asked whether they supported letting the “consensus” be the foundation of cross-strait interactions, more than half, or 52.3 percent, of the respondents opposed the idea, compared with 33.3 percent who supported it.

In addition, 62.1 percent of those polled said they cannot accept Beijing’s repeated attempts to pressure president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) into accepting the “consensus” and make it a prerequisite for cross-strait exchanges.

“It is apparent that Taiwanese do not want to see the continuation of President Ma Ying-jeou’s administration’s China-leaning stance, as evidenced by the fact that 58.2 percent of the respondents said they are dissatisfied with Ma’s cross-strait performance in the past eight years,” Taiwan Brain Trust chairman Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) told a news conference in Taipei.

With regard to the issue of national identity, 84 percent of those polled identified themselves as Taiwanese. Only 6.9 percent said they considered themselves Chinese, while 9.1 percent declined to express their opinions.

A cross-analysis of the results found that even among pan-blue respondents, 65.3 percent considered themselves Taiwanese, the survey showed.

The poll also suggested a growing Taiwanese identity among the nation’s young people, as 91.8 percent of the respondents aged between 20 and 29 identified themselves as Taiwanese, the highest among the age groups.

Meanwhile, the percentage of people regarding Taiwan as an independent country has climbed to 74.4 percent, from 68 percent in April last year and 57.6 percent in March 2014.

About 80 of those polled agreed with the notion that cross-strait interactions should be conducted under the premise that the relationship between Taipei and Beijing is “state-to-state,” rather than that both sides belong to “one China.”

The poll found 85.1 percent of the respondents said that both sides of the Taiwan Strait should jointly shoulder the responsibility of facilitating peaceful cross-strait development after Tsai takes office.

The poll collected 1,068 valid samples from Taiwanese aged 20 and above. It has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.