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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

Brookings Says Taiwanese Don't Want 'Reunification' With China

Four social scientists have thumbed down China’s bid to “reunify” with Taiwan, saying surveys have shown an overwhelming number of Taiwanese simply don’t want to be ruled by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brookings Institution reported.

Photo Insert: Chinese New Year in Taiwan

In a report carried out by the Brookings website, Shelley Rigger, Lev Nachman, Chit Wai John Mok, and Nathan Kar Ming, said the “Taiwanese overwhelmingly reject unification with the People’s Republic of China, and the vast majority do not support immediate formal independence.

At the same time, the number who identify as exclusively Taiwanese, not Chinese, continues to rise.” Fact is, China never ruled Taiwan for a single second. “We find that what unites Taiwanese people is not a rejection of Chinese culture, but a rejection of China’s political system.”

“Our May 2021 survey of 1,000 Taiwan people yielded evidence that Taiwanese identity may not be primarily ethnocultural or ethnonational. Instead, Taiwanese have a complex relationship with Chinese culture. The idea that Taiwanese people reject unification out of a sense of ethnocultural difference from China finds little support in our survey. A majority of our respondents — 56% — said Taiwanese culture was similar to Chinese culture,” they stressed.

In the survey, 63% of respondents had a negative view of the Chinese government; only 8% had a positive view.

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“Our respondents not only disliked the PRC government. They also believed it was a negative force in their own society in Taiwan: 66% rated China’s influence on Taiwan as somewhat or very negative. Less than 10% saw a positive impact."

Asked about Chinese people, the percentage with an unfavorable view fell to 42%, while the plurality — 46% — had neither a positive nor a negative perception of Chinese people. The poll doesn’t show much favorability toward Mainland Chinese people, but it also suggests that it is the Chinese government that Taiwan people resent the most. Given the rhetoric out of Beijing (and the warplanes in Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone), many Taiwanese people believe China is hostile to Taiwan.

Government & politics: Politicians, government officials and delegates standing in front of their country flags in a political event in the financial district.

“We asked our respondents to rate China’s friendliness toward Taiwan. The largest number (24%) chose the most unfriendly rating, and 72% rated China’s government as at least somewhat unfriendly. Fewer than 12% chose a response that suggested Beijing was even a little bit friendly to Taiwan,” the researchers concluded.

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