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April 27, 2017

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Ratio identifying as Taiwanese highest in 20 years: poll

TAIPEI -- The total percentage of people living in Taiwan who identify themselves as "Taiwanese" is as high as 73 percent, while the ratio among those aged 20 to 29 is even higher, at 85 percent, according to a survey by a major local newspaper.

The poll by the United Daily News, published Monday, shows that the ratio of those who identify themselves as Taiwanese has climbed to 73 percent from 44 percent in a similar poll conducted in 1996, when Taiwan held its first popular presidential election.

The figure represents a two-decade high. In comparison, those who identify themselves as Chinese dropped to 11 percent from the 31 percent 20 years old, setting a new low.

In the latest survey, 10 percent of those polled said they are both Taiwanese and Chinese. One percent said that Taiwanese people are Chinese nationals and 6 percent declined to comment.

On Taiwan's future, 46 percent expressed the hope of keeping the cross-strait status quo permanently, but 19 percent said they hope for early independence, 17 percent said they want to maintain the status quo before independence, and 4 percent said they want early unification.

In comparison, those who are tilting toward independence increased by eight percentage points from the previous year.

However, given the understanding by some that Taiwanese independence carries risks, when asked what price they would be willing to pay for independence given the choice, 43 percent said they could accept a sharp decline in mainland Chinese tourists coming to Taiwan.

Around 20 percent said they could accept the loss of most of the nation's 22 diplomatic allies and war with China, and 16 percent said they would be willing to pay the price of an economic blockade.

Twenty-three percent of people said they do not think independence would be worth the sacrifice.

The survey was conducted between Feb. 15 to 19, collecting 1,019 samples, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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