Three out of four Taiwanese do not consider themselves to be Chinese (youths even less so)

Taiwanese only identification hits record high, according to opinion poll · Most respondents in favour of maintaining statu quo with China

Survey results shown on United Daily News TV.
Survey results shown on United Daily News TV. Author: United Daily News TV screenshot
China may be making progress in its bid to become the world's leading power, but it also seems to be losing the hearts of its 'rebel province'. An opinion poll suggests the identification of the Taiwanese with China has hit an all-time low: 73% of islanders consider themselves to be Taiwanese only.

By contrast, 11% of the islanders regard themselves as Chinese. A further 10% say their identity is dual, both Taiwanese and Chinese. Among young people (20 to 29), the figures are even clearer: 85% say they consider themselves Taiwanese only.

The survey figures have been reported by Taiwan newspaper United Daily News. According to them, the islanders' identification has undergone a substantial change: just 20 years ago, 44% defined themselves as Taiwanese only but, conversely, 30% said they regarded themselves to be Chinese.

Similar opinion polls by the National Chengchi University have detected the same trend over the years. However, in the case of the Chengchi University surveys, those choosing a Taiwanese-only identity are 61%, while those who identify themselves as both Chinese and Taiwanese are 32% (2015 data).

In any case, priority identification with Taiwan has no direct equivalent to the preferences of the people as regards relations with China. Thus, those who want immediate independence from China are 19%, while 46% favour statu quo, while 12% wish reunification with China.

Data came to be known two months after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP, opposed to reunification) won the Taiwanese parliamentary and presidential election. DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen was elected the first female president in the history of Taiwan.

President of People's Republic of China Ji Xinping has warned Tsai not to carry out any move to formally proclaim the independence of Taiwan. China is both the major military power in the region and a vital trading partner for Taiwan.

The Taiwanese government formally still considers itself to be the all-Chinese legitimate executive since the 1949 split. But after decades of separation, the Taiwanese population has increasingly felt disconnected from China.