Record number identify as ‘Taiwanese,’ poll finds

Sunday, 05 July 2020 05:05 Taipei Times

A record number of people in the nation now regard themselves as “Taiwanese,” rather than “Chinese,” a survey released on Friday by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center showed.

A record 67 percent of the population identify as “Taiwanese,” while only 2.4 percent consider themselves to be “Chinese,” the center said, citing the survey’s findings.

The center has been conducting the survey once or twice a year since June 1992, and uses the data to study trends in the self-identity of Taiwanese, it said.

The most recent results represented an 8.5 percentage point increase in those identifying as “Taiwanese,” up from 58.5 percent, and a 3.3 percentage point decrease in those identifying as “Chinese,” down from 5.7 percent, in June last year.

The results showed that 27.5 percent of respondents consider themselves to be both “Taiwanese” and “Chinese,” down from 34.7 percent last year.

Those surveyed who would advocate Taiwanese independence — if pressed to choose that or unification — also increased, rising from 15.1 percent in 2018 to 27.7 percent this year, the center said, adding that a separate 7.4 percent hoped for independence “as soon as possible.”

Those wanting to “maintain the ‘status quo’ for now” accounted for 28.7 percent, while those hoping that the “status quo” could be maintained in perpetuity accounted for 23.6 percent.

Those wanting to “unify with China as soon as possible” accounted for 0.7 percent.

Asked which political party they supported, 36.8 percent said the Democratic Progressive Party — the highest since the center began the surveys — while 15.8 percent said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) — the lowest since the start of the center’s surveys.

While 5.3 percent expressed support for the Taiwan People’s Party and 3.3 percent for the New Power Party, at 37.8 percent expressed a politically neutral stance and favored no particular party.

Asked about the survey yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that an increase in Taiwanese national consciousness was “a matter of course,” and that “with an enemy at the nation’s doors, the people were bound to unite.”

All Taiwanese share the same fate and are “one people under one nation” that would face threats together, he said.

Su gave the example of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that everyone in Taiwan kept pace, and supported containment and prevention measures.

“Only by coming together can we stay strong and make progress,” Su added.

Additional reporting by Tsai Chang-sheng

Source: Taipei Times - 2020/07/05

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