Political reunification with Taiwan : perspectives from the leadership, intellectuals and the general public in Mainland China

  • Peiji YU

Student thesis: MPhil Thesis (Lingnan)


This thesis studies Mainland China’s standpoint of political reunification with Taiwan in the contemporary era (2008-2014). The exploration examines the perspectives of leadership, intellectuals and the general public under the analytical framework of state nationalism and popular nationalism.

In general, the standpoints that “Taiwan as an integral part of China” and a “political reunification with Taiwan should be realized” are still the mainstream views in Mainland China. However, detailed reunification views vary among the different perspectives. In terms of the state nationalism composed by leadership and establishment intellectuals, the settlement of the Taiwan issue and the realization of the complete reunification of China represent the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). State nationalism regards a political reunification by “One Country, Two Systems” under the sovereignty of the PRC through peaceful negotiation as the best proposal. Meanwhile, it also reserves the possibility of executing military resolution to prevent the independence of Taiwan as the bottom line. However, considering the contemporary political reality across the Strait, state nationalism is also willing to make pragmatic explorations such as authorizing more autonomy to Taiwan and even initiating political reforms in Mainland to facilitate reunification in the special political circumstances that the country has not yet been reunified. As for the popular nationalism made up by the general public and public intellectuals, majority opinions are in favor of a political reunification though there is a clear division between the conservatives and the liberals. The most prominent views among the conservatives are that they believe Mainland should be dominant in the reunification process and mainland government is justified to use military force under any circumstance. In contrast, the most popular views among the liberals are that they believe the prospect of reunification cannot be realized without the political reforms in Mainland China.

It should be noted that mainlanders no longer think as a monolithic bloc with the government as they used to do. While state nationalism mainly present as relatively conservative, popular nationalism shows a polarization. Popular nationalism is either more conservative or more liberal. Among the general public, some make objections to reunify with Taiwan and some openly show preference to the independence of Taiwan.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Political Science
SupervisorYiu Chung WONG (Supervisor) & Che Po CHAN (Supervisor)

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