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Friday, February 02, 2007


BBC's Gluck dumps on changes to Taiwan's history books

Chucking the muck

Caroline Gluck gets a byline in yet another horrid article about Taiwan bringing readers the same kind of perspectives found at CTiTV or CCTV. This latest article is called "Taiwan PM wades into history row," and since it's 100% rubbish, it merits a line-by-line takedown. Get out your plasting sheeting, and prepare for disgusting projectiles! [The blockquoted sections are Gluck's.]
Taiwan has defended changes to new history textbooks which have been strongly criticised by rival China and some opposition lawmakers in Taiwan.
I might have written something more like this instead: "Taiwan has made some changes to its textbooks which simply remove the lies forced upon it during Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rule. This has made the people who are still working so hard to promulgate these lies after more than half a century rather upset. But that's no surprise, as both China and the opposition complain about almost everything the Chen Shui-bian administration does." That would be a breath of fresh air, if I do say so myself. Gluck's smells like rotten cabbage which has passed through the digestive system of a sick person and sublimated.

Unfortunately, she continues to let it rip (and she's barely gotten started):
The books, which go into classes next month, will refer to the "mainland" or "our country" simply as "China".
Note the dissembling by omission. Gluck's sentence could be read as meaning that Taiwan is now being called "China." She somehow "conveniently" left out the words "what until now have been called" in front of the two quoted bits to which those words "will refer." For your information, Taiwan's textbooks, under KMT rule referred to China as "我國" ("my country"), "本國" ("this country"), or "大陸" ("the mainland").

Then she tells it a bit more clearly; but with this tiny baby forward, she takes at least one giant step back:
They therefore suggest Taiwan is a separate entity and not part of Chinese territory, as Beijing claims.
How does one "suggest" a simple truth that must be told? You merely tell it, and that's the goal of these changes. Give people the facts, and let them decide whether Beijing's "claims" are true or merely noxious gas.

Pay close attention to the perspective with which Gluck poisons this bit of otherwise factual information:
Taiwan's prime minister is the latest official to weigh in on this controversy.
It's only "controversial" if you're on the pro-unification side. I happen to think these changes are an excellent idea that's long overdue!
Su Tseng Chang has strongly defending changes to the high school history textbooks and backing his education minister.
Note the same kind of capitalization used in the CNN interview of "Chen Shui Bian." Also note the same kind of English mistakes often found in the China Post or The People's Daily (人民日報). It could be a botched rewrite of the sentence, and I'm not quite sure what to make of these things, but the context must certainly be considered.

For more of that context, here comes a subheading:
This section could be called many things in place of what sounds like someone trying to deny their awful past: Rectifications, Erasing the Errata, Fixing the Eff-ups, or so many other possibilities. (Note: The Taipei Times used the same word in an actual headline, though the content was a bit more objective.)
During the weekly cabinet meeting, he said students should be taught about their own country and their history.
Gluck fails to even hint at the ugliness lurking behind that, just beyond the reach of uninformed readers. Let me pull back the curtain a bit for you and show you what Gluck either can't or won't.

When my wife attended school, policies forbade students from even speaking the Taiwanese language at school, and there was nothing taught in her history classes about Taiwan's history before the arrival of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石, 蔣中正), as if Japan hadn't occupied Taiwan for the previous 50 years. The historical events which took place before Chiang's arrival that were taught in the class were all ones which happened in China. Even the post-war history of Taiwan that was taught ignored such significant things as the "228 Incident," White Terror, the Kaohsiung Incident, and so much more. (The simple fact that Taiwan's aboriginals weren't Chinese immigrants was never mentioned either.) Furthermore, the discussion of Taiwan took up only a tiny part of her Geography classes during which my wife was told that Outer Mongolia and Tibet were part of "her country." The truth is slowly being allowed to become part of the curriculum as Taiwan's democracy breaks free from the shackles of the KMT's continued authoritarian behavior.
Critics say the changes are another attempt by President Chen Shui-bian's independence-leaning administration to try to downplay the island's cultural and historic links with China.
"Damn those people who can see reality! I shall call them... 'reality-leaners'!" Does Gluck dare name any such critics, or would she be revealing her "keepers" by doing so?

Hold your nose -- here comes a big, stinky meme:
China regards the island as part of its territory and has threatened to use force if Taiwan formally declares independence.
Oh, for fuck's sake, Gluck, how many times has that line crawled up your ass and died? Wheeeeeeesh!

Gluck then gives even more space to the frequently heard ideologies of Beijing:
Beijing says the latest changes are politically motivated and it has accused Taiwanese officials of introducing independence ideologies into the classroom.
Note how very similar things were said by students from China who were in attendance during Tu Cheng-sheng's speech at the London School of Economics last month. Viewed from another angle, "introducing independence ideologies" is merely removing the taboos placed upon such democratic notions. My conclusion: both Beijing and the KMT fear democracy.
Some opposition politicians in Taiwan have also complained that the changes are an attempt to cut the island's historic links to China and called for the education minister to resign.
There, she dishes out more of that "(Unnamed) people say..." crap. I'm sure someone did say those things, but if she quotes those same pan-blue politicians too often, she may reveal her "keepers." (Does "Emile Sheng" sound like a suspect? Su Chi? Chairman Ma, himself?)

Here's another subheading which I'll allow to slither directly into the next section:

Among the revisions, references to the "mainland" and "our country" are removed and simply replaced with "China".
Is there an echo in here? And didn't I ask that very question recently when I wrote about the BBC?
While Dr Sun Yat-sen is referred to only by name without previous explanations that he was also the nation's founding father.
Does Gluck really expect readers to believe that the books "refer[] to" Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙, 孫中山) without explaining why he's in the history book? I bet this is a total lie and that the new books explain that he founded the ROC in 1911 without also implying that he's the "father" of Taiwan.
Identity is one of the most sensitive issues in Taiwan, although in recent years more people are identifying themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese.
It's the KMT who are "sensitive" about "letting X equal X." As far as why more people are identifying themselves as Taiwanese, perhaps it's partly because they're not being as brainwashed as severely as they were in the past. Moreover, maybe it's simply because fewer and fewer people fear saying it out loud: "I am Taiwanese!"
It is a trend that clearly worries Beijing.
Again, they are worried because they fear the truth and democracy!
Earlier this month, China also complained about proposed changes to the charter of Taiwan's National Palace Museum, which contains the most important treasures which were once held in Beijing's Forbidden City.
That's not all that's in the museum, and the "most important [Chinese] treasures" are being lumped in with all the other foreign artifacts, that's all. It was the KMT who brought those things here, by the way.
The authorities accused officials of trying to remove references about where the art treasures originally came from.
Uh, not quite, Gluck, but you really seem willing to repeat it just the way they want you to. The people who are making these changes just want to clarify that they are foreign.

Beijing Gluck under glass
There you have it, dear readers -- the epitome of the BBC's Taiwan coverage. Could it get any worse? I probably left out quite a few things above, but it's very clear that having Gluck write the BBC's reports about Taiwan's politics is a dream come true for the Mandarins in Zhongnanhai.

Previous Taiwan Matters takedowns of BBC bullshit (all within the past 4 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?
9) BBC has news about Taiwan totally backwards

Those in the queue: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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


At 2:31 PM, Anonymous riko said...

how do these crappy and inaccurate articles get published?!?! -___-"


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