Seventy-three percent of Taiwanese do not consider the Chinese government a friend, a poll released on Tuesday by Academia Sinica showed — the highest figure since the poll started in 2012.
The poll, conducted by the China Impact Study thematic research team of Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology, asked respondents whether they agreed with the statement that “the Chinese government is a friend of Taiwan.”
Seventy-three percent disagreed, up from 58 percent of respondents in a similar poll in May last year.
Photo: Chien Hui-ju, Taipei Times
When broken down into age groups, the poll showed that 84 percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 disagreed with the statement, followed by people aged 35 to 49 (78 percent), 50 to 64 (75 percent) and people aged 65 or older (75 percent).
Seventy-nine percent of respondents with a college degree or above disagreed with the statement, while the ratio was 74 percent for high-school or vocational high-school graduates or below.
Younger Taiwanese tend to be more discontent with the Chinese government, as it has turned its back on democracy and freedom, and disrespected the sovereignty of Taiwan, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology researcher Jay Chen (陳志柔) said.
More than half, or 54 percent, of respondents who identified themselves as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) supporters disagreed with the statement, the poll found.
Respondents who support the New Power Party (NPP) disagreed with the statement most at 97 percent.
They were followed by those who support the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) at 88 percent and those who support the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) at 81 percent, the survey showed.
Some factors from last year might have contributed to the poll results, such as the US-China trade dispute, the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) continuous attempts to impose a “one country, two systems” framework on Taiwan, Chen said.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has won the public’s support for preventing a COVID-19 outbreak, but the Chinese government has not toned down its hostility toward Taiwanese, causing even KMT supporters to stop believing that cross-strait relations are based on friendship and mutual trust, he said.
The poll indicates that Taiwan is distancing itself from China, which is especially evident among the younger generation, researcher Wu Chieh-min (吳介民) said.
According to the poll, 67.1 percent of respondents said that they supported the Hong Kong protests, while 32.9 percent said they did not.
A cross-analysis of the results showed that 85 percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 were more supportive of the protests, while those aged 50 to 64 had the lowest enthusiasm for the movement, at 59 percent.
A cross-analysis of support for the Hong Kong protests against national identification showed that 77 percent of those who support the protests identified themselves as Taiwanese, while 16 percent identified as Chinese, Wu said.
Those who identify as both comprised 43 percent, the poll showed.
Less than 30 percent of KMT supporters backed the protests, which garnered higher support from pan-green camp supporters, the poll found.
The support rate was 100 percent among Taiwan Statebuilding Party (TSP) supporters, followed by NPP supporters at 92 percent and DPP supporters at 89 percent.
Sixty-nine percent of respondents who identified themselves as TPP supporters backed the protests, while the support rate was 62 percent among those who said they did not have any political affiliation.
The poll showed that Taiwanese support a free Hong Kong, as a majority of people agree with the mindset of “backing Hong Kong is supporting Taiwan,” Wu said.
China’s actions are making Taiwanese identify more with the mindset, Wu said, adding that Chinese aggression has further soured the already unpopular “one country, two systems” framework for Taiwan.
The poll could serve as a reference as the government builds its policies, he said.
The poll collected 1,234 samples via telephone interviews from April 21 to Thursday last week and has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.
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