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Sunday, March 15, 2009


Ma Ying-jeou's spokesman distorts the truth

Even a pro-unification media* survey will back that up

Before I get to the distortion, let me start off with some info that's closer to the truth (and by that, I mean that the real numbers most likely favor an even greater degree of support for Taiwan independence). Here's a bit from a March 11, 2009 survey [236 KB PDF file] done by TVBS [translations, highlighting mine]:

Relations between Taiwan and the mainland: 64% of the public support maintaining the status quo, 19% support independence, and only 5% support unification


The poll also found that on the subject of relations between Taiwan and the mainland [sic], 19% support Taiwan independence, 5 percentage points lower than a poll taken before [China's ARATS chairman] Chen Yunlin visited Taiwan (October 28, 2008), while 5% supported unification, and the earlier 58% support for maintaining the status quo increased by 6 percentage points to 64%. Over the past 5 years, this is the highest preference the public has shown for maintaining the status quo. Taking the question one step further, when the public could only choose from independence or unification, 66% of the public expressed a desire for Taiwan's independence, 17% desired unification with the mainland [sic], and 18% stated no opinion, differing only slightly from a poll taken before Chen Yunlin's visit.
One thing you'll notice if you read that carefully is that the answer varies greatly, depending upon how the question is asked. Furthermore, remembering that TVBS has a pro-unification position, one can easily deduce that if their numbers are inaccurate in either direction, they would want to tweak those numbers so as to favor unification.

Now, let's look at what Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said on the fourth anniversary of China's "anti-secession" law (which "legislates" the arbitrary use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan):
"We think the mainland authorities should carefully consider the feelings of Taiwanese and handle their piece of legislation appropriately," Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said.

Wang did not elaborate on what he meant by "appropriately," but said Taipei believed the "mainland authorities have the wisdom to know how to handle it appropriately."

Wang said President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) position on the "Anti-Secession" Law has been consistent since it was enacted four years ago.

"He has insisted on protecting the sovereignty of the Republic of China and maintaining Taiwan's dignity," Wang said. "He has always believed the 'Anti-Secession' Law is unnecessary and unfeasible."

Wang said the legislation was unnecessary because the majority of Taiwanese were in favor of maintaining the "status quo" in the Taiwan Strait and are against Taiwanese independence.
Y'see? That's not exactly true. (Refer back to the information I highlighted in the TVBS survey.) If you ask Taiwanese to choose between independence and unification, a great majority will choose independence. Take the very real threat from China's 1,500 missiles out of the equation, and those numbers would favor independence even more. Change the word "unification" to the more accurate "annexation," and watch what happens. Taiwanese do not want their freedom to participate in the world to be oppressed by China for one more day -- much less indefinitely.

* Note TVBS' use of the word "mainland" (大陸).

UPDATE: As mentioned in the first comment below, Taiwan Echo has a post which makes for good complementary reading: Poll Shows Ma's China Approach Is Overwhelmingly Unsupported by the People. Go read it now, and spread the word. If Ma won't ask for public opinion, then it must at least be discussed in every home and on every street corner. [/update]

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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At 4:46 AM, Blogger Taiwan Echo said...

Nice, Tim. This post comes at a right time, as I just posted another poll on my blog:

Poll Shows Ma's China Approach Is Overwhelmingly Unsupported by the People

These two poll blogs make a good couple. :)

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

In addition to the truth that survey results reflect how survey questions are asked, I think it is also important to remember that statements that say that Taiwanese don't want independence but prefer the status quo usually overlook the fact that the status quo is effectively independence in a different guise.

Many Taiwanese undoubtedly feel that it makes no sense to ask for formal independence and risk a war when you have independence without one?

It never ceases to amaze me how few journalists and politicians (international ones) can make this connection.


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