Do Contacts Matter? Public Impressions of a Rising China in Taiwan

Translated Titles





吳重禮(Chung-li Wu)

Key Words

rising China ; contact theory ; group threat theory ; image of China ; social distance ; 中國崛起 ; 接觸理論 ; 團體威脅理論 ; 中國印象 ; 社會距離



Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication

24卷1期(2017 / 05 / 01)

Page #

1 - 31

Content Language


Chinese Abstract

The emergence of China as a first-tier world power is a critical issue both politically and economically, but what is often overlooked is how more frequent interaction with China influences public opinion. This study is aimed at assessing two competing approaches, "contact" theory and "group threat" theory, in an effort to understand how exposure to and contact with China influence Taiwanese citizens' impressions of China. More specifically, it focuses on how, as cross-Strait relations develop, the public in Taiwan may either have positive views or negative feelings toward China. Methodologically, in addition to the objective measurement of contact (exposure to China) employed in the previous literature, the paper uses a subjective measurement of contact (willingness to interact with China). This study analyzes both individual-level and aggregate-level datasets in the models; in doing this, it takes advantage of a 2014 nationwide telephone survey and considers the effects of the regional context. The findings demonstrate that the subjective measurement shows more variance in public opinion on China than the objective measure, and the contextual variables exert conditional influences upon Taiwanese people's overall disposition toward China. The results by and large confirm the validity of contact theory, but also indicate that it is too simplistic and straightforward, and therefore in need of revision. The data reveal that greater exposure is not enough to foster greater trust and cooperation between the two sides; it is increased willingness to interact that creates more favorable impressions.

English Abstract

中國崛起成為世界重要的強權國家,就政治和經濟而言,這無疑是個關鍵課題,然而與中國更多的交流互動如何影響民眾觀感,這項議題仍有待探索。本文旨在檢證兩個相互競逐的觀點,亦即「接觸理論」(contact theory) 和「團體威脅理論」(group threat theory),以試圖瞭解兩岸交流互動如何影響臺灣民眾對於中國的印象。更確切地說,本文聚焦於,隨著兩岸接觸益形頻繁密切之際,臺灣民眾對於中國的整體觀感,究竟產生正面效果還是負面認知?在研究方法方面,除了沿用既有學術文獻使用的客觀接觸測量(前往中國的次數)之外,本文採用主觀接觸測量(與中國互動的意願)。在研究模型方面,本文分析個人層級和集體層級的資料;前者為2014 年全國電話調查數據,後者則是縣市地區的脈絡效果。實證資料顯示,主觀接觸測量比客觀接觸測量更能解釋民眾的中國觀感;其次,地區脈絡變數對於臺灣民眾對於中國的整體認知,也有若干的解釋效果。整體而言,研究結果支持接觸理論的適用性,儘管如此,本文認為,該理論可能有流於簡化和直觀之虞,因此有其修訂之必要。相關數據證實,徒然增加雙方往來的頻繁次數,並不足以促進兩岸的信任和合作;反之,提升交流互動的主觀意願,始有助於提升彼此的正面觀感。

Topic Category 社會科學 > 政治學
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Times Cited
  1. Chia-chou Wang(2019).A Path to Critical Citizenship? Evidence from a Panel Study among Chinese Students Studying in Taiwan.Taiwan Journal of Democracy,15(2),57-85.
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