An opinion poll in Taiwan, conducted just after Hong Kong's absorbtion by
Beijing, showed that the percentage of the Taiwanese population in favor of
formal independence is rising fast. In a public opinion survey conducted by the
United Daily News on 1-2 July 1997 among 949 respondents in Taiwan, a
record 43 percent said they would opt for independence. In a poll conducted in
January of this year, only 34 percent said they favored independence.
It was the first time in the history of the poll, which has been conducted
by the pro-unification newspaper since 1989, that the percentage favoring
independence outstripped the pro-unification sentiment, which is still the
formal policy of the Kuomintang authorities.
When given the additional choice of "maintaining the status quo",
43 percent said they wanted to see things stay unchanged. The report remarked,
though, that many people on the island maintain that the status quo
is de facto independence.
The poll also showed that when asked about their personal identity, more
than half said they regarded themselves as Taiwanese, while only 30 percent
identified themselves as Chinese -- a major set-back for the Nationalists of the
Kuomintang, who have been emphasizing that the people on Taiwan are "Chinese."
The poll also showed that the people on the island outright reject the "One
Country, Two Systems" formula touted by the Beijing regime.