Washington [US], August 14 (ANI): China will face an increasingly "uphill battle" in its quest to annex Taiwan as Taiwanese people's pursuit of a separate national identity continues to grow stronger, a Chinese dissident Jianli Yang said.
In an opinion piece in Newsweek on Friday, Jianli, founder and president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China, said Beijing has been optimistic about its ability to annex Taiwan, however, the people of the self-ruled island are not only opposed to the idea of a united China, but are against even identifying themselves as of Chinese ethnicity.
Quoting a study conducted by National Chengchi University's Election Study Center, Jianli said the percentage of people in Taiwan who identify themselves solely as Taiwanese increased over the past three decades, while the proportion of people who call themselves both Chinese and Taiwanese has fallen substantially.
"As the Taiwanese people's pursuit of a separate national identity continues to grow stronger, Beijing will face an increasingly uphill battle in its quest to unify Taiwan with the mainland," he wrote.
Now, the dissident said that nine out of 10 Taiwanese disapprove of reunification with mainland China and wish to maintain Taiwan as a sovereign state to protect their Taiwanese identity.
"Thirty years ago, the Taiwanese generally considered themselves Chinese. However, this perception has shifted over time, and even became a major issue during the Taiwanese elections in 2009. Leading up to the elections, Gen Di, then a law student at Taipei's National Chengchi University, emphasized the importance of having a separate identity," Jianli noted.
In 2018, Taiwan passed a bill that identified languages used in Taiwan as national languages in order to preserve and promote Taiwan's linguistic diversity.
The Taiwanese have even sought to localize the Mandarin dialect spoken there. They used Zhuyin (also called Bopomofo) to transliterate Chinese characters so as to make the languages and dialects of Taiwan internationally recognizable, he said.
The promotion of Taiwan's linguistic culture, along with growing recognition from the international community, will strengthen the Taiwanese people's sense of possessing a unique identity distinct from that of their counterparts in mainland China, he opined.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that "Taiwan's independence" means war.
On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to complete reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to smash any attempts at formal independence for the island.
Reacting to Xi's remarks, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) accused the CCP of tightening its dictatorship in the name of national rejuvenation internally and attempting to alter the international order with its hegemonic ambitions externally, Focus Taiwan reported.
"We urge the other side of the strait to learn from history and push for democratic reforms," the MAC said, calling on the CCP to stop expansionist behaviour and to act as a responsible party in promoting regional peace. (ANI)