POLLS commissioned by the leadership have shown the Chinese public is sharply divided over Beijing's Taiwan policy. The administration of President Jiang Zemin is expected to canvass more views from cadres and citizens before deciding on the next move towards reunifying with what it considers to be the breakaway province. Chinese sources said yesterday the party leadership had conducted confidential polls on public opinion towards Taiwan before and after the controversial missile exercise last month. The surveys were undertaken by units including the Central Committee General Office and the Ministry of State Security. A key issue being polled was whether Beijing should take the military option in 'liberating' the Kuomintang-held stronghold. While the majority of the public wanted early reunification, it was divided over the methods that should be used. 'Farmers and soldiers were supportive of increased pressure, including military means,' a source said. 'Urban intellectuals had reservations about using force, with many citing the aphorism 'Chinese should not fight Chinese'.' The source said there was also a divergence of opinion between coastal inhabitants and those in the hinterland, saying: 'Citizens in the central and western provinces displayed a more hawkish sentiment; those along the coast were more hesitant about the military option.' It is understood that public opinion mirrors the views of the leadership, which is divided over the desirability of a military option. In spite of the consensus in Beijing that the five-day missile 'training' exercise had achieved the objective of warning the administration of President Lee Teng-hui, there is a lack of unanimity on whether more pressure should be applied. 'One faction of the leadership thinks force should at most be used on Quemoy, but not on Taiwan itself,' said a Chinese source familiar with Beijing's Taiwan policy. This moderate faction said that since Mr Jiang would be in power 'much longer' than Mr Lee, the former could afford to use less-radical, non-military options towards reunification. But the hawkish faction, which includes influential generals, has cited the lack of international condemnation of the war games as a reason for stepping up military pressure. Taiwan policy will be on the agenda of this month's meeting of senior cadres and party elders at Beidaihe. Mr Jiang is also expected to address the Taiwan issue at the fifth plenum of the Central Committee, which is scheduled for early autumn.