Do Social Contacts Alter the National Identity? Evidence from a Panel Study among Taiwanese Students that Visited Mainland China

Abstract

With the rise of the China Model, China’s sharp power has infringed upon the exercise of liberal democracy in other nations. A concern for governments of the Taiwan Strait and other democratic countries is whether visits to Mainland China alter the national identity of Taiwanese youth. This research conducted a panel study of 331 Taiwanese youths who had visited Mainland China. Social contact, rational choice, and political socialization theories were introduced to establish hypotheses; a questionnaire was employed to collect panel data, and statistical regression models were utilized to test the hypotheses. Following visits to Mainland China, the number of participants perceiving themselves as only Taiwanese decreased by 4.59%; those perceiving themselves as both Taiwanese and Chinese increased by 3.98%, and those perceiving themselves as Chinese increased by 0.61%. According to the mean survey results, the average change to national identity was 0.05, indicating that visiting Mainland China slightly negatively influenced participants’ Taiwanese identity. Following visits to Mainland China, participants’ impression of China improved, their preference for an independent Taiwan reduced, they seemed less satisfied with Taiwan’s democratic government, and their personal sense of being Taiwanese was reduced.

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Wang, C. Do Social Contacts Alter the National Identity? Evidence from a Panel Study among Taiwanese Students that Visited Mainland China. J OF CHIN POLIT SCI (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11366-020-09673-9

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Keywords

  • Attitudes toward unification and Independence
  • Cross-Strait relations
  • Satisfaction with democracy
  • Self-interest
  • Social contact