Dying for Taiwan Independence

Taiwan Students Too Intelligent to Die for TaiwanIndependence

According to the results of a scientific poll conducted in late March by the Chinese Culture University on Taiwan, 65% of the university students on Taiwan would be unwilling to defend the island if the Chinese Communists were to attack; only 35% would be willing. Released on April 7, 2005, the poll surveyed 1161 students enrolled at National Taiwan University, National Chengchi University, and nine other major universities in northern Taiwan.

Poll: University Students’ Views on Cross Straits Conflict Source: Culture Weekly, Chinese Culture University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC

Question One: "If the Chinese Communists attack Taiwan, would you be willing to defend Taiwan’s territory?"

  • Unwilling: 65%
  • Willing: 35%

Question Two: "If the Chinese Communists attack Taiwan, what would be your reaction?"

  • Raise the white flag and surrender: 18.1%
  • Wait to die: 19.2%
  • Wait for US or other troops to come to the rescue: 21.9%
  • Resist to the end: 28.6%
  • Other: 12.2%

Question Three: "Why wouldn’t you be willing to go to the front line?"

  • As a woman I oppose war: 22.8%
  • Taiwan is no match for the Chinese mainland: 30.5%
  • Going to war will merely turn me into cannon fodder: 25.6%
  • If a fight is necessary, it would be better to reunify with the Chinese mainland: 12.2%

The Coalition of the Unwilling

So what is one to make of these fascinating poll results?

Some would-be Rambos might snort with disgust, having concluded that university students on Taiwan are "cowards."

I would politely but firmly disagree. The reason the brightest young minds on Taiwan are unwilling to fight in the event the Chinese mainland attacks, is not because they are unwilling to "fight for their country."

The reason they are unwilling to fight in the event the mainland attacks the island, is that they are not willing to fight for Taiwan independence. Taiwan independence is not synonymous with Taiwan. Taiwan is merely part of their country. Their country is the "Republic of China," or "China" for short.

University students on Taiwan know that if the mainland ever attacks the island it will be for one reason and one reason only: a 15% to 20% hardcore of Taiwan independence zealots who have hijacked the ROC, have made their final desperate move toward formal independence, against the will of the overwhelming majority of patriotic Chinese citizens who wish to maintain the status quo until the time is ripe for "reunification."

University students on Taiwan don’t consider redefining themselves as "Taiwanese, not Chinese" something worth fighting and dying for. University students on Taiwan consider themselves Chinese. Just as "Tasmanians" are merely Australians who live on the offshore Australian island of Tasmania, so "Taiwanese" are merely Chinese who live on the offshore Chinese island of Taiwan. Who wants to die for that?

For Taiwan independence sympathizers who have been brainwashed by Taiwan independence propaganda for the past 17 years, the results of this March 2005 poll should provide a badly needed reality check. Taiwan independence sympathizers may wish to ask themselves, is Taiwan independence really something they are willing to die for, when even "Taiwanese" themselves are not?

April 9, 2005

Bevin Chu [send him mail] is an American architect of Chinese descent registered to practice in Texas. Currently living and working in Taiwan, Chu is the son of a retired high-ranking diplomat with the ROC (Taiwan) government. His column, “The Strait Scoop” is published on his website, The China Desk.