Taiwan: Poll shows insistence on ROC sovereignty
On behalf of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the Elections Study Center of National Chengchi University conducted a public opinion survey April 23-25 on a broad range of issues relating to Taiwan-China relations. Coming one month after the presidential election, the survey sample consisted of 1,083 adult ROC citizens, with a 2.98-percent margin of error. Of the 11 questions in the survey, two dealt directly with the sovereignty issue.
One of them asked respondents to choose the best of six policy positions for Taiwan's political status vis-a-vis China. The percentages for the various options were: unify as soon as possible, 2.0 percent; maintain the status quo and eventually move toward unification, 9.8 percent; maintain the status quo and decide upon independence or unification depending upon conditions, 40.0 percent; maintain the status quo indefinitely, 13.0 percent; maintain the status quo and eventually move toward independence, 15.5 percent; declare independence as soon as possible, 3.3 percent; and no answer, 10.2 percent.
Those who, for whatever reason, preferred to maintain the status quo amounted to 78.4 percent, a figure that has varied only slightly in recent years. The significance of this number and the numbers for the subcategories cannot be interpreted with certainty, however, inasmuch as public understanding of what "the status quo" means is changing. Previously, it meant neither unifying with China nor declaring the establishment of a Republic of Taiwan. Now, more and more, it has come to mean simply the official status of the ROC as understood by the president and other elected national leaders: The Republic of China is indubitably an independent, sovereign country, whose sovereignty its leaders are bound by solemn oath to defend.
Within the ROC's constitutional system, in other words, sovereignty is a given, something that can be lost, not gained.
In contrast with the aforementioned survey question, the other question touching on the sovereignty issue was clear-cut. It asked respondents whether they approved of China's proposed "one country, two systems" formula, whereby Taiwan would accept Chinese sovereignty and thenceforth become a local government of the People's Republic of China, giving up the name Republic of China. The result: 80.8 percent disapproved, 7.3 percent approved, while 10.8 percent offered no opinion. The 80.8-percent rejection rate is 9.4 percentage points higher than that in a similar MAC survey conducted in November 2003.
The message to Beijing and the world should be loud and clear: The Taiwanese
people overwhelmingly regard themselves as a sovereign nation on an equal footing
Source: Government Information Office