One-third of Taiwanese see China’s incentives as positive: poll

Taipei, China’s latest package of incentives to attract Taiwanese to invest, study, live and work there has been well received by young people, those with tertiary education, and middle class citizens in Taiwan, according to a survey released Monday.

Among those groups, 38 to 40 percent see China’s 31 incentives “in a positive light,” said You Ying-lung (???), chairman of the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation, which conducted the survey.

Speaking at press conference, he said the poll found that 30.1 percent of Taiwanese see the incentive package as a goodwill gesture by Beijing that will help improve cross-Taiwan strait relations.

However, 41.9 percent of Taiwanese think the offers are part of China’s “united front” strategy and will bring no real benefits to Taiwan, while 28 percent either have no conclusive views on the issue or prefer not to comment, according You.

He said young people seem to be more enthusiastic about the incentives, with 40 percent in the 20-24 age group having a positive outlook.

Among Taiwanese with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 38 percent think the move by China shows goodwill, while 38 percent of people who identify as middle class hold the same view, You said.

He said the poll indicates that China’s recent escalation of its “united front” tactics is achieving the desired results.

The package, announced by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on February 28, comprises 12 measures to treat Taiwanese investors the same as their Chinese counterparts, and 19 measures aimed at loosening regulations to attract more Taiwanese professionals to live and work in China.

Amid concerns in Taiwan that the incentive package would exacerbate the country’s growing brain drain problem, the Cabinet on March 16 announced eight strategies aimed at recruiting and retaining talent.

You said it remains to be seen whether the Taiwan government’s approach will work, but meanwhile, the poll’s findings that one-third of Taiwanese think China’s incentives are a positive move “should not be taken lightly.” “If it was just 10 percent holding that view, there would be nothing to worry about,” he said.

Also speaking at the press conference, Chen Sung-shan (???), a political commentator who often travels to China and has regular contact with state-affiliated academic institutions there, said it is simply a matter of better opportunities in China for young Taiwanese.

Chen said many young Taiwanese working in China have told him that they were seeking greener pastures because there are few opportunities in Taiwan for career advancement or a better life in general.

“Because of the commonalities between Taiwan and China in terms of language and culture, China is a better choice for them compared with other countries,” he added.

The exchanges allowed under the incentive package will contribute to the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, Chen said, adding that Taiwan’s government should welcome the move and urge China to lift other restrictions that hamper cross-strait interactions.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel