PERCEPTIVE: The Gallup poll of Americans and Europeans said that most consider Taiwan to be a separate state and that its features rank more favorably than China's
By Jimmy Chuang
STAFF REPORTER , WITH AP
Friday, Nov 25, 2005,Page 1
The result of a recent poll that was conducted by the US-based Gallup Organization showed that more than 60 percent of the interviewees in five countries see Taiwan as a sovereign country, and also that most people view it more favorably than China.
The Government Information Office (GIO) commissioned Gallup to study the country's image among opinion leaders and the general public in the US, Japan, France, Germany and the UK.
The result of the study showed that Japanese favor Taiwan over China by a margin of almost two to one, slightly more than the gap recorded for Americans.
The result also showed that the three European countries also favor Taiwan over its rival, but did not give specifics.
The survey showed that the strongest impressions for most interviewees in all five countries about Taiwan were of the country's advanced technology, its strong economy, "delicious" food and natural attractions.
As for the strongest impression about Taiwanese people, most interviewees felt that Taiwanese people were hard-working, friendly as well as peace-loving.
Taiwan has been trying for years to regain admission to the UN, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organizations, but Chinese pressure has convinced most countries not to support it.
Still, the survey showed that the majority of interviewees supported Taiwan's application to the UN, while more than 72 percent supported Taiwan's joining the WHO.
The Gallup survey, which has a margin of error of 3 percent, was conducted by telephone in May and June. Pollsters interviewed 1,500 adults from the general public and 200 opinion leaders in each of the five countries.
"The government should reflect how to translate these positive attitudes toward Taiwan into action," said Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), the executive director of the Institute for National Policy Research.
"It is a sign that China's campaign to undermine the country's legitimacy is not working at all," said GIO Minister Pasuya Yao (姚文智).
"The study also showed us that more than 60 percent of the respondents in the five countries see Taiwan and China as two separate sovereign countries," he said.
Taiwanese academics said that the survey's results make it imperative for the government to develop a concrete strategy to take advantage of the support it enjoys.