By making the contrast between the two societies increasingly sharp, Chinese nationalism inadvertently helps consolidate Taiwanese self-identification
The trend began several years ago, and no matter how hard the current government in Taipei and the one in Beijing try to convince them otherwise, with propaganda and sweeteners, there was no stopping it: more and more Taiwanese people identify as Taiwanese rather than Chinese. Several demographic factors have contributed to this steady rise in Taiwanese self-identification, but one in particular seems to be accelerating the process: China itself.
Back in the mid-1990s, only 44 percent of people in Taiwan identified as Taiwanese and more than 30 percent thought of themselves as Chinese. Today, according to a recent poll conducted by the United Daily News, the number of people who regard themselves as Taiwanese-only is 73 percent, a new high for the pan-blue-leaning UDN poll. Those who identify as Chinese-only are down to 11 percent. Other multiyear surveys have tracked a similar progression over time.
My article, published today in the China Policy Institute blog, continues here (photo by the author).