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Segregation has long been recognized as a source of ignorance which breeds negative feelings and hostility. This view maintains that interactions between members of different groups can foster social bonds and promote positive group relationship. Employing recently collected survey data, this study examines the effect of cross-Strait contacts on Taiwan citizens’ negative views toward Chinese citizens and the Beijing government. The empirical results show that casual encounters have no effect on the island residents’ general perception of China. Serious interactions in the form of friendship moderate their unfavorable feelings of Chinese citizens but have no effects on the perception of a hostile Beijing. Unless contacts can invoke true social bonds, frequent interactions do not have transformative effects on individuals’ political views. The moderating effect of contacts at the personal level is not transferable to a political entity when the latter is perceived as a suppressing agent.

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Journal of East Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 1598-2408
  • EISSN: 2234-6643
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-east-asian-studies
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