Thursday, September 4, 2014

Here is some "Taiwanese see themselves as ethnically Chinese" bullshit for you.

So there's this new poll out: "53% of Taiwanese view themselves as Chinese", according to the Taiwan Competitiveness Forum. And 87% think of themselves as part of the "ethnic Chinese community".

That's nice, except it's total bullshit. And the parts that aren't bullshit don't mean anything.

I mean, it's not bullshit in that such people exist, and the vast majority of Taiwanese would agree that in terms of ethnic origin, they are "Chinese", because they are not stupid and they know how DNA works. If you asked me if I saw myself as "ethnically Armenian, Polish and Western European", I'd answer "yes", because what? Could I answer "no"?


Looking at this in more detail, first of all, the body that conducted this poll is pro-unification (or, more accurately, pro-annexation, as that's what it would be). It's pretty easy to skew a questionnaire or survey to suit one's political ends - people do it all the time. You don't need a degree in statistics or social research methods to know that. Do you trust a pro-unification group to bring you news on what the Taiwanese people think? I don't. You want to put out a survey that I'll put some stock in? Then have it be done by a truly neutral body.

Focus Taiwan, who is reporting this, is the government news agency. A government that's been KMT-controlled for awhile, to the point of thinking that people don't like their policies, not because their policies are bad (although they are), but because they "haven't been properly explained", who have tried to change textbooks to promote a pro-China, pro-Chinese identity viewpoint, and actually use phrases like "establish correct values". Since the Sunflower movement, the CNA/Focus Taiwan have gone from being a reasonably neutral news source to being a pro-government mouthpiece. I used to pay some attention to them. Now I wouldn't believe them if I stuck my hand out the window and it came back wet, and they told me it was raining.

Update: Thinking Taiwan thinks along the same lines, because unlike the Taiwan Competitiveness Forum, "Everyone's Favorite Jerkface" Tsai Eng-Meng, and Focus Taiwan, they don't buy into total dog-crap.

Secondly, I don't see how it matters. Considering oneself "ethnically Chinese" doesn't mean you see yourself as culturally Chinese, nor does it mean you see yourself as a part of China, or your country as one that should be annexed by China. If you asked a bunch of Singaporean Chinese if they identified as ethnically Chinese, they'd say yes, too.

In fact, that is emphatically not the case. Young adults are not interested in watching their country be annexed by China.

Thirdly, the numbers are not all that promising. According to the link above, which I'll put here again, they reported that "90.4% of Taiwanese said they identified as Chinese".

So either the survey terms were different, or the number has actually dropped considerably in the past year (it's not clear, as the exact wording of the two surveys is not made available. I would quite like to see them).

And finally, identifying as "ethnically Chinese" doesn't mean people don't identify as Taiwanese. In fact, over 95% of Taiwanese citizens do identify as Taiwanese. That is a higher number than those who report identifying with the "ethnic Chinese community". As both numbers are well over 50%, many people choose to identify as both. Just as I choose to identify as American, and also Armenian, and also Polish...

In short, whatever the results of this survey are reported as, the truth is there for anyone who wants to see it. Even this guy, who wrote a stinking pile of bullshit calling for Taiwanese to be "taught" the correct idea that they are Chinese, "making unification possible" (I hope he suffers in some painful but non-fatal way as death is too good for him) admitted that the real numbers don't lie: Taiwanese see themselves as increasingly Taiwanese, even as they admit they are ethnically Chinese. Support for independence is growing, and support for pro-China ideas is shrinking. Taiwanese identity is on the rise. Just click through the links above and you'll see.

And ignore the slanted reporting of yet another pustule of pro-China chicanery.

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