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Mainland Affairs Council

The Public’s View on Current Cross-Strait Relations(Summarized Results) (2007-04)

Mainland Affairs Council Press Release

May 4, 2007, No. 46

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently rejected Taiwan’s application for membership on the grounds that “Taiwan is not a sovereign country.” According to the most recent public opinion survey commissioned by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the overwhelming majority (77.3 percent) of the Taiwanese people agree that Taiwan should promote its bid to join the WHO under the name of Taiwan, while only about 10 percent disagree. This shows that in the face of China’s suppression, the Taiwanese people have not wavered from their aspiration to join the WHO.

The MAC stated that the survey results also indicate that the respondents believe that “developing diplomatic relations with other countries” is as equally important as “developing cross-strait relations.” Moreover, a large majority of the people (63.9 percent) agree that Taiwan should continue developing diplomatic relations with other countries, even if doing so will create tensions in cross-strait relations

The “Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Cultural Forum” held by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing was concluded a few days ago. According to the MAC’s most recent public opinion survey conducted on the eve of the KMT-CPC forum, over half (55.4 percent) of the public believe that cross-strait negotiations should be conducted with the government taking initiative so as to ensure that the overall interests of Taiwan can be comprehensively considered.

With the approach of the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China, 69.9 percent of the respondents to the most recent MAC survey believe that in order to further promote the development of Taiwan-Hong Kong relations, high-ranking officials of Taiwan and Hong Kong should engage in more direct contacts and exchanges. Moreover, regarding the Taiwanese people’s view on the Chief Executive election and the Legislative Council election in Hong Kong, 63.7 percent of the public believe China should let the people of Hong Kong have the right to directly elect their leader and legislators.

On the issue of direct cross-strait transportation links, the vast majority (69.3 percent) of the public believe such links should be “opened conditionally,” while only 14.8 percent believe they should be “opened unconditionally.” Regarding restrictions imposed by the government on China-bound investments by Taiwanese businesspeople, 52.2 percent of the public believe such limits should be “slightly tightened.” Moreover, with regard to Taiwan-China relations, over 80 percent (80.1 percent) of the public support maintaining the status quo. Regarding China’s stance on developing cross-strait relations under the “one country, two systems” formula, the vast majority (72.2 percent) of the public disapprove. The results are largely consistent with those of the MAC’s previous public opinion surveys.

The public opinion survey was conducted between April 20 and April 22, 2007 by the Election Study Center of National Chengchi University under the authorization of the MAC. The results of the survey were based on telephone interviews of adults aged 20 and over in the Taiwan Area. A total of 1,072 effective samples were obtained, with a sampling error of about 2.99 % based on a 95 % confidence level.

Appendix I: Summarized Results of the Public Opinion Survey (April 20 to April 22, 2007) “The Public’s View on Current Cross-Strait Relations”

Summarized Results of the Public Opinion Survey

(April 20 to April 22, 2007)

“The Public’s View on Current Cross-Strait Relations”

▇ 77.3 percent of the public agree that the Taiwanese government should promote Taiwan’s bids to join the United Nations, World Health Organization and other international organizations under the name of Taiwan, while 11.1 percent of the public disagree.


▇ On the issue of cross-strait negotiations, 55.4 percent of the public believe that such negotiations should be conducted with the government taking initiative so as to ensure that the overall interests of Taiwan can be comprehensively considered.


▇ Regarding Taiwan-Hong Kong relations, 69.9 percent of the public agree that high-ranking officials of Taiwan and Hong Kong should engage in more frequent contacts and exchanges, and 63.7 percent of the respondents believe China should let the people of Hong Kong have the right to directly elect their leader and legislators.


▇ On the issue of direct cross-strait transportation links, 69.3 percent of the public believe such links should be “opened conditionally,” while 14.8 percent believe such links should be “opened unconditionally.”

▇ On the issue of prioritization of developing diplomatic and cross-strait relations, 34.2 percent of the public believe it is “more important to develop relations between Taiwan and China,” which is equal to the percentage of those believing it is “more important to develop relations with other countries.” When asked if the development of diplomatic relations will cause tensions in cross-strait relations, 63.9 percent of those interviewed agree that the government should continue to develop diplomatic relations with other countries.


▇ The vast majority of the public (80.1 percent) still advocate maintaining the status quo defined in a broader sense (including “maintaining the status quo and deciding on independence or unification later,” “maintaining the status quo and unification later,” “maintaining the status quo and independence later”, and “maintaining the status quo indefinitely”). Only a very small minority of people (2.1 percent) support unification as soon as possible. Similarly, the proportion advocating for declaration of independence as soon as possible only accounts for 8.2 percent.


I. Survey Background and Methods

In order to gain understanding of the public’s views on related issues concerning cross-strait relations, the MAC commissioned the Election Study Center of National Chengchi University to conduct a telephone survey of Taiwanese adults aged 20 and over between April 20 and 22, 2007. A total of 1,072 effective samples were collected, with a sampling error of about 2.99 % based on a 95 % confidence level.

II. Major Findings

(1) Views on Taiwan’s application to join international organizations under the name of Taiwan

77.3 percent of the public agree that the Taiwanese government should promote Taiwan’s bids to join the United Nations, World Health Organization and other such international organizations under the name of Taiwan, while 11.1 percent of the public disagree.

(2) Views on cross-strait negotiations

55.4 percent of the public agree that cross-strait negotiations should be conducted with the government taking initiative so as to ensure that the overall interests of Taiwan can be comprehensively considered, while 31.7 percent of the public disagree.

(3) Views on developing Taiwan-Hong Kong relations and on elections in Hong Kong

69.9 percent of the public agree that high-ranking officials of Taiwan and Hong Kong should engage in more frequent contacts and exchanges, while 14 percent disagree. Moreover, 63.7 percent of the public believe China should let the people of Hong Kong have the right to directly elect their leader and legislators.

(4) Views on direct cross-strait transportation links

69.3 percent of the public believe direct cross-strait transportation links should be “opened conditionally,” while 14.8 percent believe they should be “opened unconditionally.”

(5) Views on China-bound investments by Taiwanese businesspeople

Regarding restrictions imposed by the government on China-bound investments by Taiwanese businesspeople, 52.2 percent of the public believe such limits should be “slightly tightened,” while 30.3 percent believe they should be “slightly eased.”

(6) Public perception of China’s hostility toward Taiwan

58.6 percent of the public believe that the Chinese authorities are unfriendly to the Taiwanese government (including 22.2 percent responding “extremely unfriendly” and 36.4 percent responding “unfriendly”). Moreover, 39.9 percent of the public believe the Chinese authorities are unfriendly to the Taiwanese people (including 12.2 percent responding “extremely unfriendly” and 27.7 percent responding “unfriendly”).

(7) Views on prioritization of developing diplomatic and cross-strait relations

On the issue of prioritization of developing diplomatic and cross-strait relations, 34.2 percent of the public believe it is “more important to develop relations between Taiwan and China,” which is equal to the percentage (34.2 percent) of those believing it is “more important to develop relations with other countries.” The proportion of people believing the two are of “equal importance” is 22.4 percent. Furthermore, when asked if the development of diplomatic relations will cause tensions in cross-strait relations, 63.9 percent of the public agree that the government should continue to develop diplomatic relations with other countries.

(8) Views on cross-strait exchanges

Regarding the pace of the government’s opening up of cross-strait civilian exchanges, 34.5 percent of the public believe the pace is “just right,” 30.2 percent believe it is “too slow,” and 22.5 percent believe it is “too fast.”

(9) Views on unification vs. independence

The vast majority of the public (80.1 percent) still advocate maintaining the status quo defined in a broader sense (including “maintaining the status quo and deciding on independence or unification later,” “maintaining the status quo and unification later,” “maintaining the status quo and independence later”, and “maintaining the status quo indefinitely”). The results are consistent with the trends shown in previous surveys.


Of the six possible positions on this issue, the largest number (36.3 percent) support “maintaining the status quo and deciding on independence or unification later,” while 15.5 percent support “maintaining the status quo indefinitely.” The results are largely similar to those in previous surveys. Furthermore, the proportion of people leaning toward independence (23.6 percent, including 8.2 percent for “independence as soon as possible” and 15.4 percent for “maintaining the status quo and independence later”) is greater than the proportion leaning toward unification (15 percent, including 2.1 percent for “unification as soon as possible” and 12.9 percent for “maintaining the status quo and unification later”).

(10) Views on China’s “one country, two systems” formula

Regarding China’s stance on developing cross-strait relations under the “one country, two systems” formula, 72.2 percent of the public disapprove, while only 12.8 percent of the public agree. The results are consistent with those of previous public opinion surveys.