The results are consistent with other polls showing that people in Taiwan increasingly identify only as Taiwanese, Pew said. Today’s Taiwan was born of a civil war in China that brought Mao Zedong’s Communists to power on the mainland in 1949. The rival Nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan, an island about 160 kilometers (100 miles) off China’s east coast.
Seventy years later, younger generations in particular have developed a distinct identity, with 83% of respondents under 30 saying they don’t consider themselves Chinese. Alexander Huang, a professor at Tamkang University in Taiwan, said it is a question of politics, not ethnic background. Younger Taiwanese grew up in a democracy, while China is a one-party state. Another factor, Huang said, is the diplomatic pressure that China puts on Taiwan and the military exercises it conducts in Taiwan’s vicinity. “We are ethnic Chinese for sure. But politically, I think that’s the big difference,” he said. “It is quite understandable that people don’t want to be identified as Chinese.”