2024-0125: Only 3% of Taiwanese View Themselves as Primarily Chinese; Implementation of Taiwan Fellowship Act; U.S. Congressional Delegation to Taiwan

Only 3% of People in Taiwan Consider Themselves Primarily Chinese

More than two-thirds of the people of Taiwan see themselves as primarily Taiwanese, while only a small number consider themselves primarily Chinese, a report released by the U.S. Pew Research Center on January 16 showed.

In a survey examining how people in Taiwan feel about their identity and how they view China, the institute found that only 3% of people in Taiwan think of themselves as primarily Chinese.

Meanwhile, 67% view themselves as primarily Taiwanese, and 28% identify as both Taiwanese and Chinese, the report said.

Adults younger than 35 are particularly likely to identify as solely Taiwanese (83%), while women (72%) are more likely than men (63%) to do so, it said.

The report highlighted how identity in Taiwan is tied to politics and how those who consider themselves primarily Taiwanese are more likely to align themselves with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Meanwhile, those who regard themselves as both Chinese and Taiwanese, and as primarily Chinese, are more likely to be aligned with the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT), the report said.

About seven in 10 adults who support the KMT say they have an emotional attachment to China, while only about two in 10 of those aligned with the DPP said the same, the report showed.

In addition, older adults in Taiwan are more likely to have an emotional attachment to China. 

46% of those aged 35 and older report an emotional connection with China, while only 26% of those under 35 said the same, according to the report.

Regarding cross-strait issues, most people in Taiwan consider China’s power and influence a threat. This includes 66% who label China as a major threat.

Even among adults in Taiwan who identify as primarily Chinese, and both Taiwanese and Chinese, 64% of them consider China’s power and influence to be a threat.

The data comes from a telephone survey of 2,277 adults in Taiwan from June 2 to September 17, 2023. It had a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 2.64%.

[1] Pew Research Center: https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2024/01/16/most-people-in-taiwan-see-themselves-as-primarily-taiwanese-few-say-theyre-primarily-chinese/
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202401180007
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2024/01/19/2003812308

Joint Taiwanese American Organizations Call for Implementation of Taiwan Fellowship Act

In a letter dated January 20, the joint Taiwanese American organizations urged members of Congress to see to it that the U.S. State Department takes “the immediate necessary actions” to implement the Taiwan Fellowship Act without further delay and to launch the fellowship program this year in 2024.

They wrote: “The Taiwan Fellowship Act was signed into law on December 23, 2022. The act creates a new civil service fellowship program between Taiwan and the United States training America’s next generation of East Asia experts.”

“This bipartisan bill met with strong support not only in [U.S.] Congress and amongst American groups such as ours,” but also in Taiwan “[by] the current Tsai-Lai administration and the incoming Lai-Hsiao administration as well as within Taiwan’s legislative branch.”

They continued: “To summarize, the Taiwan Fellowship program is modeled after the Mike Mansfield Fellowship with Japan created by Congress in 1994 and provides a mechanism to select each year 10 USG career civil servants to undertake Mandarin language study (up to one year) and professional placements (one year) in Taiwan.”

“Such a program would not only serve as a strong and enduring signal of U.S. support for a key democratic partner, but also contribute to America’s ability to defend its long-term interests in the Indo-Pacific. Importantly, the program develops a core USG expertise in Indo-Pacific relations and Mandarin in an open and safe environment.”

“Significant participation from USG professionals in public health, economics and trade, cybersecurity, law enforcement, and civil aviation, is projected, and the program increases cooperation and expertise across a wide range of subjects and responsibilities.”

They concluded: “The Taiwan Fellowship Act, having been signed into law and the funds having been appropriated, and having met with strong support in both the U.S. and Taiwan, is ready to be implemented.”

Adding: “We ask that you [members of Congress] communicate to the State Department and AIT [American Institute in Taiwan] leadership your support for this program and your strong expectation [that] the fellowship be implemented without further delay this year so that the first fellows may arrive in Taiwan this fall.”

[1] FAPA Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/fapahq/posts/pfbid0zphZJkiEYvCh9qkTKWN2MYoEAJofB9w2WLmFMFUtTZXtRhG1px8BMkMWH5udLD1Nl

U.S. Congressional Delegation Affirms Bipartisan Support for Taiwan in First Visit Since Election

Visiting U.S. Representatives Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ami Bera (D-CA), co-chairs of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, affirmed bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress for Taiwan while meeting Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and President-elect Lai Ching-te on January 25 in Taipei.

U.S. Reps. Díaz-Balart and Bera arrived in Taiwan on January 24 for a three-day visit, less than two weeks after Taiwan held presidential and legislative elections.

Their delegation sends a clear message that the U.S. Congress, across party lines, firmly supports Taiwan and its prosperity and security, Congressman Díaz-Balart told President Tsai during a meeting on January 25, according to a press release issued by Taiwan’s Presidential Office.

Díaz-Balart said he looked forward to working with Taiwan’s government on various issues, including the double taxation on American and Taiwanese businesses and individuals.

Taiwan has long sought a double taxation relief agreement with the U.S. to protect their mutual interests amid increasing economic exchanges and business activities.

Such endeavors have seen some progress on the U.S. side recently.

On January 19, the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means advanced a bill that, among other things, aims to “strengthen America’s competitive position with China by removing the current double taxation that exists for businesses and workers with a footprint in both the United States and Taiwan.”

Congressman Bera, meanwhile, stressed that China’s intrusive actions had altered the status quo of the Taiwan Strait. He urged democratic countries to stand in solidarity while facing the challenges China poses.

In her remarks, President Tsai Ing-wen, who is set to leave office in May after completing her two four-year terms, thanked Díaz-Balart and Bera for their staunch support for Taiwan.

She added that Taiwan would continue working to broaden its exchanges with the U.S. and expand links with the international community.

The two U.S. lawmakers also conveyed the same messages during their earlier meeting with Lai Ching-te, who is Taiwan’s incumbent vice president and will be sworn in as the new president on May 20.

Lai, in return, reiterated his pledges to continue Tsai’s policies, which include striving to maintain the status quo of the Taiwan Strait and boosting Taiwan’s defense capability.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202401250015
[2] Taiwan News: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/5085025
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2024/01/21/2003812397