Understanding Cross-Strait Relations Through the Perspective of Taiwanese College Students
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This research will examine the question: who are the Taiwanese? As previously mentioned, the island’s democratization led to the emergence of a Taiwanese identity which has been used to advocate for Taiwan’s independence from Mainland China. Supporters of Taiwan’s independence promote a shared understanding of Taiwan’s history, culture, and language as the central components prompting the construction of the Taiwanese identity. The Taiwanese identity represents the shared social experience enjoyed by the natives of Taiwan and further justifies their claims to the territorial space of the island. The Taiwanese identity thus seeks to establish an identity representing the islander’s shared social experience; however, due to the prevalence of Chinese influence in Taiwan, opposition movements seek to reunify Taiwan with mainland China. First, an overview of Taiwan’s history will be provided by dividing the island’s history into three parts: Pre-Colonial Taiwan, Colonial Taiwan, and Post-Colonial Taiwan. Then, qualitative interviews will explore participants’ experiences and perspectives of mainland China. Finally, the project will analyze history and qualitative data from interviews to explore a current perspective in the Taiwanese identity and speculate future developments in the cross-strait relationship.