The Election Study Center at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan.
The number polled in 2022 is 12,173.
‘I am Taiwanese’: China threat toughens island’s identity
- by Amber Wang
- Apr 17, 2023
Xi says Taiwan’s people — the majority of whom have roots in mainland China — are Chinese and are betraying their heritage by hanging on to independence.
But locals on Taiwan’s main island say they are their own people in a sovereign nation that has forged a unique identity defined by democratic ideals.
“I was born in Taiwan and I live in Taiwan so I am Taiwanese,” said Jing-Mei museum worker Angela Hung, 50. “It’s a free and peaceful place … I hope to continue our current way of living.”
The decadeslong threat from Beijing has only strengthened the island’s distinct — and separate — identity among its 23 million people, said history student Rick Lai, who was snapping graduation photos at Taipei’s Liberty Square.
Polling from the island’s Election Study Center shows that around 60% of residents feel distinctly Taiwanese — three times as many as in the 1990s.
Attachment to Chinese identity has fallen dramatically from 25% to less than 3%, while around a third feel both Taiwanese and Chinese.
Just a shade over 1% want to see the island unified with mainland China and the overwhelming majority reject the idea of falling under the shadow of the Chinese Communist Party.
While opposition to China can be a motivating factor, University of Missouri’s Sydney Yueh, who authored a book on Taiwan’s identity politics and culture, said the island’s “political reformation” has put in place the roots for a more open and prosperous society.
It is the strength of Taiwan’s institutions and social freedoms that allow people to “see their ways of life as different from, if not superior to, the Chinese,” Yueh said.
For bubble tea seller Sam Chen, Taiwan’s identity is already set in stone.
“They may think we belong to them but we are separate and different. … We are already independent,” the 50-year-old said.
“Taiwan is Taiwan, China is China.”