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Growing number of Taiwanese willing to go to war against China: poll

2019/07/19 18:49:41

Ford Liao (廖福特, left)

Taipei, July 19 (CNA) A growing number of Taiwanese are willing to go to war to defend their country in the event of a Chinese invasion, according to the results of a survey released Friday by the government-funded Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD).

The poll, conducted by National Chengchi University's Election Study Center under the commission of the TFD, collected a total of 1,262 valid samples via landline and cellphone-based interviews between April 11 and April 16.

Among those polled, 57.4 percent said they would be willing to go to war to defend Taiwan if China launches an attack in the event of Taiwan declaring independence, up from 55 percent in a similar poll published by the TFD last year.

The percentage of respondents who would be unwilling to fight also dropped from last year's 35.9 percent to 31 percent this year, according to the poll results.

In the event of China attempting to annex Taiwan by force, about 68.2 percent expressed willingness to fight Beijing, the poll found, a minor increase of 0.5 percentage points from last year.

Only 20.5 percent of those polled said they would refuse to go to war in such a scenario, down from last year's 24.9 percent, according to the poll results.

Commenting on the poll results, TFD President Ford Liao (廖福特) said at a press conference in Taipei that Taiwanese people's determination to defend their country has apparently grown stronger over the years, which could be attributed to increasing threats to Taiwan's sovereignty and democratic values.

"(In Taiwan's case), sovereignty and democracy are closely intertwined," Liao said. "Our democratic values will only exist when our sovereignty is maintained ... while changes in sovereignty could mean losing our original way of life and the values we have adhered to."

In light of the rampant spread of disinformation, the TFD's latest poll also sought to gauge people's perceptions of what is believed to be one of the most effective tools to weaken democracies.

About 65.7 percent of the respondents said that disinformation could severely undermine Taiwan's democratic development, but 28.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, said it has only "minor adverse effects" and "nearly no impact."

However, an overwhelming number -- 80.5 percent -- of those polled disagreed with the notion that "disinformation is also permitted by (the people's right to) freedom of speech and should therefore not be regulated by the government," with 14.3 percent expressing an opposing view.

According to the poll, 91.7 percent of the respondents said the spread of disinformation could influence other people's judgement in public affairs, but the number dropped to just 68.7 percent when asked if disinformation would affect their own judgement.

In general, the majority, or 72.9 percent, of the respondents said they consider democracy to be the best system, compared with 12.7 percent who thought otherwise.

While 52.5 percent expressed dissatisfaction with the implementation of democracy in Taiwan, up 5.7 percentage points from last year, the percentage of people who said they were satisfied climbing from last year's 33.5 percent to 39.4 percent.

The respondents were also increasingly optimistic about the future of the country's democratic development, with 43.1 percent expressing optimism, up from 36.4 percent last year, while the number of those polled who were pessimistic dropped from 54.4 percent to 43.6 percent.

The poll had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.93 percentage points.

(By Stacy Hsu)
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