Sharp spike in Taiwanese identity–Taiwan Report News Brief transcript


After the first round for preordering the stimulus vouchers began on Wednesday, nearly 1 million eligible people from underprivileged groups on Thursday began receiving a subsidy to purchase vouchers in their postal savings account, the Department of Social Assistance and Social Work said.
The NT$1,000 subsidy is for them to buy NT$3,000 worth of vouchers, so they would not be excluded from the program.

Local governments have been instructed to reinstate a ban on single-use plastic utensils in public spaces as the nation’s COVID-19 situation has eased, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said.
The ban on disposable utensils was temporarily lifted for food establishments granted approval by local governments.

The launch of a new national electronic identification card (eID), which was scheduled for October in Taiwan, is highly unlikely this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, a Ministry of the Interior (MOI) official said.
Curiously the sample image the government has issued of the new card has the sample person’s name written using China’s Hanyu Pinyin, rather than the Wade-Giles used in Taiwan for people’s names.

Indian media is reporting that China Airlines is charging six times the normal price for tickets to India.
Hundreds of Indians, a majority of them students are at the mercy of China Airlines for evacuating them from Taiwan to India.
The Indian government has not arranged any repatriation Air India flight from Taipei.

Taiwan Power Party (TPP) lawmaker Tsai Pi-ju (蔡壁如) has sparked controversy by saying that young people “follow the tide of fashion” in politics.
TPP party chair and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je tried to play it down, saying “the world in the future belongs to the young, we should just support them.”

The local manufacturing sector remained in contraction in May, but the index gauging the sector’s conditions moved higher, pointing to a rebound according to the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER).

Taiwan’s second successful recall takes place in Yilan

A village chief in Yilan County was recalled Saturday, as the majority of residents voted against him because he had backed a mining project in the area.
According to the county’s Election Commission, turnout at the polls was 67.75 percent, with 257 people voting to recall Zhonghua Village chief Hsu Cheng-tung (許正東), and 137 casting ballots against the motion.
The central issue in the recall effort in Zhonghua Village is a proposal to launch a clay and silica rock mining project, which Hsu said he had supported only because experts had given the assurance that there was no risk of pollution.
In June, the Cabinet gave approval for an environmental impact assessment of the mining project.
This is only the second successful recall in Taiwan’s history.
However, a whole slew of recall drives are underway, mostly launched by supporters of recalled Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu against pan-green politicians.
Some have already passed stage one, and have moved into stage two signature drives.
After the two stages of signature drives, for a recall to pass, only 25% of the electorate have to vote yes, and the “yes” votes must outnumber the “no” votes.
This relatively low bar means a far smaller number of voters who voted in a candidate can vote one out.
That makes this potentially a partisan attack tool, and could be used to harass politicians.
The legislature has also been considering allowing political donations to recall campaigns, which would make it even easier.

A poll shows surging identification as “Taiwanese”

A record 67 percent of the population identify as “Taiwanese,” while only 2.4 percent consider themselves to be “Chinese,” according to a survey released on Friday by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center.
The most recent results represented an 8.5 percentage point increase in those identifying as “Taiwanese,” up from 58.5 percent, and a 3.3 percentage point decrease in those identifying as “Chinese,” down from 5.7 percent, in June last year.
The results showed that 27.5 percent of respondents consider themselves to be both “Taiwanese” and “Chinese,” down from 34.7 percent last year.
Those surveyed who would advocate Taiwanese independence — if pressed to choose that or unification — also increased, rising from 15.1 percent in 2018 to 27.7 percent this year, the center said, adding that a separate 7.4 percent hoped for independence “as soon as possible.”
Those wanting to “maintain the ‘status quo’ for now” accounted for 28.7 percent, while those hoping that the “status quo” could be maintained in perpetuity accounted for 23.6 percent.
Those wanting to “unify with China as soon as possible” accounted for 0.7 percent.
The trend lines for years have been moving towards a growing Taiwanese identity.
But, there has been a very significant shift in public opinion this year that is far bigger than is normal.
In fact, in most cases the jump in the numbers is the biggest ever recorded since the survey started in 1992.
This is huge.
Of the 2.4% who identify as “Chinese”, they almost certainly are.
2.4% of the population is about 570,000 people.
There are about 350,000 spouses from China in Taiwan and there are still quite a few elderly people–like Jason Hu and James Soong–who were born in China and came over in 1949.
In other words, the number of people born in Taiwan who identify as Chinese only is tiny, and probably most are the children of parents who came over in 49.
So, among people born in Taiwan, there has been a sharp jump in “Taiwaneseness.”
So what is going on?
I think two things: The behaviour of China itself, and increased pride in Taiwan.
The increasingly belligerent behaviour on the part of Xi Jinping’s government is clearly a part, including the more overt military and diplomatic bullying as well as explicitly tying “One Country Two Systems” to the “1992 consensus.”
The rapidly deteriorating situation in Hong Kong is also playing a big part, as is China’s behaviour in handling the coronavirus.
In short, Xi Jinping has been doing an excellent job of tarnishing the Chinese brand.
Meanwhile, Taiwan has been a model for the world in handling the coronavirus.
It is also a model democracy, and overall a well-run nation.
The percentage of the population that wants to maintain independence–those choosing independence now and the status quo options of moving towards independence, keeping it for now or status quo indefinitely–has reached 87.4%.
Together, unification now combined with status quo but move towards unification are only 6%.
The remaining number of people were “no response.”
In other words, if only half of the non responders want one of the non-unification options, then over 90% of Taiwanese want to remain independent, really only differing on the name of the country.
Bubble Milk Tea is less popular than that.
In my next show I’m going to go into what it means for local politics.

It looks like the Somaliland military base report wasn’t true

Yesterday I quoted from a Taiwan News report that quoted a French news outlet that quoted unnamed sources that Taiwan was planning to build a military base in Somaliland.
You may also recall I cast doubt on the veracity of the report.
The Taiwan News report has since been taken down, and a separate report in EABW news citing “United States Defense Department officials” says the Russians are going to set up a military base there.

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Photo by Should Wang on Unsplash

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