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Record 83% of people in Taiwan identify as Taiwanese amid Wuhan virus outbreak

Percentage of people identifying themselves as Taiwanese soars to new high as Wuhan virus ravages China

Those identifying as Taiwanese in green, those identifying as Chinese in pink. (TPOF chart)

Those identifying as Taiwanese in green, those identifying as Chinese in pink. (TPOF chart)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the Wuhan coronavirus continues to rage, a poll has found that over 83 percent of the people of Taiwan identify themselves as Taiwanese, the highest level since 1991.

The latest poll by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation (TPOF, 台灣民意基金會), which was released at a press conference on Monday (Feb. 24), found that 83.2 percent of Taiwan's citizens consider themselves Taiwanese, reported Liberty Times. At the same time, the proportion of people who think of themselves as Chinese or having a dual identity has halved since September of last year, reaching the lowest level in 30 years.

In its latest survey results for the month of February, survey participants were asked, "Do you think you are Taiwanese or Chinese, or do you have another identity?" Of those who responded, 83.2 percent view themselves as Taiwanese, followed by 5.3 percent who consider themselves Chinese, while 6.7 percent claim to be both Taiwanese and Chinese and 4.8 percent have no opinion or refused to answer the question.

The poll was a continuation of a survey that commenced in 1991 and was titled "A Study of Voting Behavior in Taiwan: the 1991 Election for the Members of National Assembly." TPOF Chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) pointed out that the survey results showed that those respondents who identify themselves as Taiwanese has reached the highest point since climbing to 83 percent in 1991.

However, You said that the percentage of respondents who consider themselves Chinese has dropped to half of the 10.9 percent seen in September 2019. Similarly, the percentage who consider themselves to be both Chinese and Taiwanese dropped significantly from the 13.7 percent recorded in September, the lowest levels seen in 30 years.

You said that after Xi Jinping's speech in early 2019 in which he called for the "one country, two systems" model for Taiwan and would not rule out the use of force, the percentage of people identifying as Taiwanese remained at a steady 70 percent. This was the same percentage seen over the past four years under the administration of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

However, You said that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan greatly disrupted this trend. He said that this major shift is not only of academic significance but that it is also "a major discovery in real politics," according to the report.

In addition, with regard to the handling of cross-strait relations by the Tsai administration during the COVID-19 outbreak, 72 percent of adults are generally satisfied with her performance. Only 18 percent are dissatisfied, while 54 percent say that they are "more satisfied than dissatisfied."

The survey was conducted for the TPOF by Focus Survey Research (山水民意研究公司) from Feb. 17 to Feb. 18. The poll gathered 1,079 valid responses from adults over 20 years of age via telephone and had a sampling error of plus or minus 2.98 percent with a confidence level of 95 percent.