Perhaps feeling a little buoyed by the latest Global Views survey showing an uptick in his approval rating, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has reportedly suggested that Taiwanese stop referring to China as ‘China’ and instead call it ‘the mainland.’
The word ‘China’ is preferred by the main opposition and independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, which started using the term when it was in power from 2000 until 2008. Ma, whose ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) takes a more conciliatory approach to the People’s Republic, apparently made the suggestion at a tea party with top government and legislative officials on Monday.
Global Views found in its January opinion survey that public confidence in Ma had climbed 3.7 points on a month earlier, to 50.9. In contrast, confidence in DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen dipped 5 points, to 47.3, from December.
Still, although it’s unclear how many Taiwanese would now call for outright independence, there’s almost certainly a healthy majority who would either want independence or at least hope to keep the strange limbo status of not being independent, but acting independently.
Ma will need to be careful he doesn’t overplay his hand.