Poll high­lights high level of po­lit­i­cal ap­a­thy in so­ci­ety


Ninety- nine per­cent of Tai­wanese peo­ple have not called in dur­ing TV po­lit­i­cal talk shows, while 95 per­cent of them have not par­tic­i­pated in protests within the past year, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent poll, ti­tled “The State of So­cial Par­tic­i­pa­tion,” con­ducted by the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil ( NDC, ).

Asked about the sur­pris­ing con­trast be­tween the re­sults and the large num­ber of protesters dur­ing last year’s Sun­flower Move­ment, which took place from March 18 to April 10, an of­fi­cial of the NDC said that though the Sun­flower Move­ment drew much public at­ten­tion, the peak of ral­lies and demon­stra­tions oc­curred in the years fol­low­ing the abo­li­tion of mar­tial law.

The re­sults re­flect how times have changed — the wide­spread adop­tion of the In­ter­net and var­i­ous chan­nels to voice their opin­ions have given the public more au­ton­omy, and the media no longer dic­tate which is­sues are given at­ten­tion, said the NDC of­fi­cial.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial, each per­son might have a dif­fer­ent un­der­stand­ing of what it means to “par­tic­i­pate” in a demon­stra­tion. Some re­spon­dents might see them­selves as merely “pass- ersby” or “on­look­ers,” so they do not think they were par­tic­i­pants, said the of­fi­cial.

How­ever, other cat­e­gories in the poll also re­vealed that 15 per­cent of re­spon­dents have par­tic­i­pated in com­mu­nity meet­ings and 45 per­cent have made do­na­tions to char­ity in the past year.

The poll was con­ducted from Aug. 11 to 12, with re­spon­dents lim­ited to adults aged 20 or older from the “Tai­wan re­gion.” There were 1,077 valid sam­ples, ac­cord­ing to the NDC.

Po­lit­i­cal Ac­tiv­i­ties Vs. Public Af­fairs

Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party ( DPP) Leg­is­la­tor Tsai Chi- chang ( ) , said po­lit­i­cal ap­a­thy is a nec­es­sary de­vel­op­ment for a demo­cratic so­ci­ety, but po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties should not be equated with public af­fairs, in an in­ter­view with lo­cal media.

Ac­cord­ing to Kuom­intang ( KMT) Leg­is­la­tor Lin Yu- fang (

) , the re­sults in­di­cate so­ci­ety lacks a com­mon goal to fight to­ward, as well as sug­gest­ing a sense of pow­er­less­ness in pol­i­tics and eco­nom­ics. Echo­ing the re­marks of Lin, DPP Leg­is­la­tor, Tuan Yi- kang ( ) said that as the public grad­u­ally comes to un­der­stand that elec­tions alone can­not solve the prob­lem, and that pol­i­tics is not a panacea, it is nat­u­ral that po­lit­i­cal en­thu­si­asm wanes, said Tuan in an in­ter­view with lo­cal media.

Ad­dress­ing the de­cline in call- in TV talk show en­gage­ment, Niu Tse- hsun ( ), a pro­fes­sor at the Chi­nese Cul­ture Univer­sity ( CCU, ), said too many shows have a set po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy. Thus they de­scend into a state where they fail to make dis­tinc­tions be­tween right and wrong, and they throw around un­founded claims, said Niu. He sees these as fac­tors that caused po­lit­i­cal talk shows to lose their sense of au­thor­ity, as well as au­di­ences at the cen­ter of the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal media.

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