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Tuesday, January 30, 2007


CNN airs interview with Taiwan's president

Letting the world hear this side for a change

As Michael Turton touched upon in an earlier post on Taiwan Matters, CNN anchor Anjali Rao interviewed President Chen Shui-bian on the weekend show TalkAsia last week, addressing topics ranging from the March 19, 2004 shooting to the "scandals" surrounding his family to the reasons for repeatedly "provoking" Beijing and "rattling the bars of China's cage" (Excellent metaphor, that one!) to the so-called troubled relations with the US (Rao: "... the relationship between Taiwan and Washington at the moment is not as friendly as it once was."). [Note: I don't know where the Taiwan News got their information about the interview, but that stuff about Taiwan identity wasn't in the version I watched. Follow the links below, and see for yourself.]

The good
Rao asked some questions that sounded like the usual stuff we hear in international news about Taiwan. Whether the host was playing "devil's advocate" or not, I can't say, but she gave Chen a whole lot of space to answer the questions without interruption, and he gave pretty good answers to most of them. Even when she asked follow-ups, Chen gave relatively long, detailed responses which included some excellent statements about the reality of Taiwan's independence despite the lack of widespread international recognition or a "timely, relevant, and viable" constitution approved by the people. Rao repeatedly referred to and addressed Chen as "President," something many media outlets avoid by bending to China's will and calling him "leader" instead. CNN even put "Taiwan President" onscreen below Chen's name. To that much, I say "Hooray!"

The bad
There are lots of mistakes which may seem trivial or picky to point out, but I'm going to point out these groaners anyway and let you make up your own mind about the interview.

First, they messed up Chen's name in the onscreen titles, displaying it as "Chen Shui Bian." That's a pretty small mistake, and was probably the fault of the graphics person, but it shouldn't have happened. Rao appeared to be aware of the recent "redshirt" demonstrations, yet she appeared in the same solid red blazer/black top combo she frequently wears. Was this done on purpose? Only Rao and/or her producers know for sure.

Lost in translation
The translations were not completely accurate. For example, where I heard Chen say that there are "at least 988 missiles" ("至少有988枚"), it was translated as "The correct number should be 988 missiles." When Chen said the number of missiles had increased "more than fivefold" (五倍之多) the translator changed it to "almost fivefold." Regarding the shooting, when Chen said, "I believe that if it weren't for the shooting, we would have won by an even larger margin," the translation changed it to "... our camp would have won [making it sound like they hadn't won in the first place], and won even more votes.

Again, most of that's fairly minor stuff, but in the English version of one of the questions (normally restated for the camera and edited in after such interviews are completed), Rao implied that First Lady Wu Shu-jen had already been proven innocent of embezzlement charges. The question the president answered, which I assume was asked in Mandarin, was about the charges related to the Sogo gift certificates. Rao was born in Hong Kong, and an over-the-shoulder shot of Chen talking about being a "happy volunteer" after he leaves office showed her reacting with amusement, as if she understood immediately, but I can't assume that she's fluent in Mandarin, or that the shot was in sync with Chen's words -- I can only state what I saw.

President Chen gave a few answers that disappointed me, but perhaps he was once again being more diplomatic than I could ever be. Describing the "status quo" (as if one existed) as "peaceful" (despite the "anti-secession" law [which "legislates" the arbitrary use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan] and exponential missile build-up) was a bit disconcerting. Also, his response to the question about the shooting really should have gotten to the point, which is that forensics expert Henry Lee -- recommended by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) -- used actual evidence to report what the KMT continues to deny -- that Chen was really shot, that the bullet came from outside of the vehicle in which he was riding, and that the police were successful at finding the person who made the gun used to fire the bullets -- and that that very person has now fled to China, possibly into the arms of other Chen-haters.

The Island X files
In case you missed the interview and still want to see it (I think you should!), you're in luck. I've captured the whole thing, including the bumper intro and the three segments of the show and have uploaded it all to YouTube. Click the thumbnails below to view the clips.

Chen Shui-bian on CNN's TalkAsia, Jan. 2007
 Da jia hao!
Part 1
Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian
Part 2
 TalkAsia host Anjali Rao
Part 3
Excuses, excuses
Sorry for the poor quality of the videos, but that was the best I could do from within the cage that Taichung's cable TV monopoly and lack of a satellite dish has me in.

Related videos
* CNN專訪 總統暢談憲改工程 (2007-01-24) [CNN interview: President discusses constitutional changes] (via Taiwan TV) (1'31" YouTube video)
* 扁:國務費案 民主進展陣痛 (2007-01-24) [A-bian: "State affairs fund" case" is a "labor pain" on the road to democracy] (via FTV) (1'18" YouTube video)

Participants: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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At 11:36 PM, Blogger STOP Ma said...

I had no idea the guy who manufactured the assasination gun fled to China.

Thanks for that info, Tim!

Very interesting, indeed.

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wish people in taiwan would brighten up and start looking at what's really going on globally and who is really their enemy instead of focusing on whatever the pro-china media throws at them :/


At 10:02 AM, Anonymous riko said...

thank you!
i think ur post is so informative!! (^-^)b
I think its sad how so many countries fall under china's pressure... im glad that the CNN did put Taiwan president as Chen shui-bian's title! (^o^)

Taiwan does matter to the world!!!
i am so glad that ppl are caring about it! (^-^)

At 12:22 PM, Blogger STOP Ma said...

Thanks very much for the effort you took to provide us with this video, Tim!

There was a definite bias towards China with this interviewer, but Chen did well.

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Poseidon206 said...

Thanks Tim for your post.
Thank you more for the videos.
I've been dying to watch it again. :D

At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Tim Maddog said...

The 9:12 AM anonymous comment is kind of cryptic, but I know for a fact that way more Taiwanese are awake than the pan-blue/pro-China media give credit for. Look at the video I posted about the pre-mayoral election surveys in Kaohsiung, for example. And a recent Taipei Times article (featuring fellow blogger Michael Turton) tells us that even Taiwan Fun's web site is more popular than the China Post's. LMAO!

This is precisely why much of my focus is on the media. Please help us to expose the lies of all of the media.

Tim Maddog


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