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Stick that in your clipboards and paste it, you so-called "lazy journalists"!

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

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BBC has news about Taiwan totally backwards

With writing this bad, it's gotta be on purpose

In a spot-on impression of the "Newspeak" of George Orwell's 1984, yet another BBC article without a byline has distorted Taiwan with its "reporting." Somebody could start a whole blog just to expose the mess the BBC makes whenever they write about Taiwan. For now, you get to watch me rip another one of their articles to shreds.

Who hit whom first?
Right off the bat, the article sucker punches the observant reader with this headline:
China hits back at Taiwan leader
Rarely will they call Chen Shui-bian "president" in a headline, so I'm disappointed, though unsurprised. However, in order to "hit [someone] back," the other person has to "hit" first. For your information, this seems more like a first "hit" to me:


The article presses forward with this remarkably ignorant subhead:
A Chinese government spokesman has accused Taiwan's president of trying to ruin ties with the mainland.
How can you "ruin" something that's not good to begin with? And wouldn't it have been better to put "president" in the headline and "leader" in the subhead, or would that have made China's unelected leaders cry like they had Tabasco® in their eyes?

Skipping down to the third single-sentence paragraph below that subhead, we get this copy-and-paste piece of easy-to-repeat nonsense:
China sees Taiwan as part of its territory.
While that's essentially true that China "sees" things that way, the BBC's unnamed writer could have just as easily pasted in, "The people of Taiwan see China as a foreign country which constantly threatens their sovereignty." Rebecca MacKinnon once told me in all seriousness that this is simply the result of "journalistic laziness." If that were the case, I would seriously recommend that they try my equally-accurate version sometime. (I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.)

Fists of factuality?
In a brief respite from the diligent "laziness," we get some facts about what President Chen said in his New Year's Day speech:
"Only the people of Taiwan have the right to decide on the future of Taiwan," Mr Chen said in his speech on Monday.

"Taiwan's sovereignty belongs to 23 million people. It definitely does not belong to the People's Republic of China," he said.
That, dear readers, is what the BBC implies to be a "hit" in its misleading headline. However, it is a simple historical fact that the PRC has never controlled Taiwan -- not even for a single day.

Here's how China responded to those historical facts:
A day later, the Chinese government made clear that it was not happy with Mr Chen's remarks.

An unnamed spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office told the state-run news agency, Xinhua, that Mr Chen "spares no effort to make disturbances".

"Chen intends to unreasonably restrict cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation... and ruin the peaceful and stable development of cross-Strait ties," he said.

"We will... never allow secessionists to separate Taiwan from the motherland in any name or by any way."
Every time Chen Shui-bian wakes up in the morning and brushes his teeth in the free country that is known as Taiwan, the leaders of the foreign country known as China are "not happy." Xinhua (新華, which is quite fittingly a homophone for 新話, or Newspeak) "spares no effort" to distort the truth. President Chen once again opened trade with China even further, probably to the dismay of many, and China's "anti-secession" law (which "legislates" the arbitrary use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan) hardly dictates that "cross-Strait ties" be described as "peaceful and stable." Furthermore, you can't "sece[de]" or "separate" from something you're not part of. It's both a physical and a logical impossibility. Taiwan is its own "motherland."

Here are two more muddled paragraphs:
China remains deeply suspicious of the Taiwanese leader and his independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, accusing Mr Chen of planning constitutional changes that would destroy hopes of eventual reunification.

But despite his tough talk, Mr Chen has also made clear many times in the past that he has no plans to declare official independence except in the event of a Chinese invasion.
What "tough talk" are they babbling about? Did Chen threaten China when I wasn't looking? Despite what might superficially resemble balance in those two paragraphs, the article taken as a whole definitely leans way over towards China's bellicose perspective.

The final two paragraphs of the article provide more faux balance which observant readers would realize favors China by omission:
Tensions, though, are still high. Late last month China announced plans to upgrade its military, highlighting its dispute with Taiwan as one of several regional security threats.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese legislators have recently been discussing a controversial and much-delayed US arms deal package.
Balanced? Think again! The "arms" being offered to Taiwan are purely of a defensive nature, and if whoever wrote that doesn't know it, they have no business writing about Taiwan.

There's not much I left out, but if you so desire, follow the link up top and go read the rest of the nonsense. Just be sure to question everything written about Taiwan by the BBC.

RELATED LINKS:
* Transcripts of President Chen's New Year's Day speech can be read at the following links. [Hanzi] [English]
* A Taipei Times article about unelected Chinese "leader" Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) same-day speech, "Hu stresses sharing the wealth in New Year's speech" (while number of missiles keeps increasing, "anti-secession" law still in place)
* Previous reamings of the BBC on Taiwan Matters! (all within the past 3 months):
1) BBC gets Taiwan all wrong
2) BBC angers all who care about Taiwan
3) BBC still not getting Taiwan right
4) BBC continues Taiwan deception
5) BBC strikes again
6) BBC Taiwan Coverage: Pathetically Biased
7) BBC cooks up more nonsense about Chen recall bid
8) Who will observe the Taiwan observers?

Seeming defiers of the laws of physics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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6 Comments:

At 10:43 PM, Anonymous source artical said...

Compare with this AFP article:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070102/wl_afp/newyeartaiwanchina_070102041723

 
At 3:17 AM, Anonymous Neo*utO said...

I posted a commentary about your blog alone with 2 questions, would you care to take a look.

one of the question is
What can the people of Taiwan realistically benefit from an independent declaration and at what possible cost?

http://neouto.wordpress.com/2007/01/03/taiwan-matters-a-passionate-political-blog-from-taiwans-independent-camp/

 
At 3:51 AM, Blogger Taiwan Echo said...

Nice work, Tim.

BBC has shamed themselves by licking China's ass with all those "political propaganda" they produced. I noticed that they stop showing the writer's name in their recent Taiwan-related articles, obviously they knew it's a shame but still want it that way. That's even more shameless. I can't believe western readers would tolerate that.

 
At 10:51 AM, Blogger Michael Turton said...

Great job again. WTF is the BBC's problem?

 
At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

neo*uto: Taiwan is an independent country so it needs no declaration of independence.

The cost argument works both ways. How many billions of dollars in trade and war damage would be risked by China in war with Taiwan? Sure, war fever could unite the country temporarily, but as soon as those economic effects kick in... China will fall down like a house of cards.

China is big. Taiwan is small. However, Taiwan is the defender and it is located on an island with a strong ally (Japan) very close by. Can China risk the destruction of its coastal economies (Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, etc.) in a war with Taiwan?

People look at this the wrong way. Defenders have a huge advantage, and Taiwan has the right people backing it. Okinawa is very close. The U.S. Pacific fleet is always close by. Japan has an air force that is not battle tested, but is so much more technologically advanced than China's that it would be a matter of just flying the jet close enough and pushing a button.

As long as Taiwan doesn't roll over on purpose (and some deep Blue and crazies like Li Ao want to), the risk of war is fairly low, because the cost for China is just too, too high.

 
At 10:18 AM, Anonymous riko said...

I agree with you~ how can u ruin a relationship that wasnt good in the first place.

How do u expect Taiwan to befriend a country which has 800+ missiles aimed at her?

and mr/ms Anonymous i agree with your reply to neo*uto. Acutally i think having our independence recognised in the world has further benefits. Such as trade agreements - countries will be more likely to do business with us because they would no longer experience china's pressure. We will have better diplomatic ties as well, that way when u go to certain countries you don't need a visa, isn't that beneficial??? (^-^)

Also, for the self-esteem of all the Taiwanese ppl. People finally recognising our independence and identity. Don't u think that's a priceless thing? We will have the status of a country, not some random non-existent place called "chinese taipei" (^-^)

 

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