|The Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea|
A recent survey jointly conducted by the Chinese-language China Times and the Global Times claims that a majority of Taiwanese and Chinese support cooperation between Taiwan and China to resolve the dispute with Japan over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) — which Tokyo calls the Senkaku Islands.
Before Taiwan sets sail for the contested islets and claims its rightful property, let’s take a closer look at the numbers and what they really say. And prior to that, it would be useful to pause for a second and restate a few caveats: The China Times is owned by the Want Want China Times Group, whose chairman — Taiwan’s wealthiest person — Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), made his fortune in China and is a known supporter of Beijing. For its part, the Global Times is affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party and has a long tradition of publishing highly nationalistic, and oftentimes militaristic, propaganda. It cannot be trusted to honestly handle an opinion poll.
So here it goes: According to the poll, 85.3 percent of the 1,502 people interviewed in China are in favor of cooperation with Taiwan on the Diaoyutais, while 8.8 percent are against it. In Taiwan, 51.1 percent of the 1,500 people polled said they approved of cooperating with China, while 27.5 percent opposed it.
My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.