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Youth view Taiwan-China relations differently: research

2012/05/12 16:20:16

Taipei, May 12 (CNA) Taiwan's government should avoid using traditional political rhetoric in doing public opinion surveys about relations with China as recent research has suggested that the younger generation sees the issue very differently from the older generation, scholars said on Saturday.

The old "unification or independence" debate on Taiwan-China relations is no longer a key interest to young people because their life experience has played a more important role in shaping theirpolitical views, a research team from National Taiwan Universitysaid.

"Those born after the late 80s tend to be more realistic and self-concerned when considering political issues," said Chang Yu-tzung, project leader and the school's associate professor on political science.

The trend was reflected in the ways his interviewees reacted to questions at various seminars, Chang explained.

For instance, he said many student participants said they support Taiwan building up its armed forces to protect its sovereignty, but disagreed with paying more taxes to do so.

Unlike what the researchers had anticipated, Chang said, the youngsters would spend time trying to close the gap between their viewpoints and the reality.

In other words, he said, the greater flexibility shown in the students' discussions suggested the government should think outside the box to tackle political issues with China.

"There should be more room for self-expression and less political agenda in public polls," Chang said, adding that the government should also avoid drawing univocal conclusions from the surveys.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)