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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

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Another distortion piece from the BBC

Down with Xia!

A piece with no byline on the web site of BBC News tells of the "recycl[ing]" of the former National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (國立中正紀念堂). Then it tacks on some nonsense which the BBC seems to require by policy:
Chiang was the founding father of modern Taiwan, when his defeated army was driven from the Chinese mainland in 1949.

Many native Taiwanese resented this influx of mainlanders, and suffered human rights abuses during subsequent decades.

Mr Chen has sought to undo this legacy, and the re-dedication of the hall is the latest in a series of symbolic changes, the BBC's Chris Xia reports.

Most controversial is a plan to hold a referendum on joining the United Nations as the independent country of Taiwan.

This has provoked fury in Beijing, which still regards the island as a renegade province.
The name Chris Xia is mentioned within. S/He is the BBC's East Asia editor.

Get out your mediascopes
Let's take a closer look at what I quoted above.

"[M]odern Taiwan" is often described as a "vibrant democracy." Chiang, on the other hand, was a dictator (ranked number four in the book Tyrants: History's 100 Most Evil Despots & Dictators), so he can hardly be described as "the founding father of modern Taiwan." The BBC's East Asia editor, however, somehow allowed that to appear in the article. Oh, wait. Xia is the East Asia editor.

UPDATE: The first paragraph from the section quoted above now reads:
Chiang Kai-shek, who once governed all of China, fled with his Nationalist troops to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the civil war to the Communists.
The rest remains as is. Note that the update could still be considered a pro-PRC position.

Hosted by ImageShack.us
Screenshot from the Google cache of the page
(Click thumbnail to enlarge)

[/END UPDATE]

"Mr Chen" happens to be President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) (the article does call him "President" in its first line), but he's not seeking to "undo" [Chiang's] legacy." What the Taiwanese resented wasn't merely the "influx," but rather the treatment they got. The resentment that remains is directed specifically at the people who still "hate Taiwan" and treat it as if it were part of China (which it isn't) -- not at the immigrants who have made Taiwan their home and who identify with the people here.

As for the editorial comment about the referendum being "controversial," that sounds a whole lot like a line that could have been fed to Xia by a deep-blue supporter or politician. No wonder Xia doesn't quote a source.

On the web site of Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one can easily dig up the information that will shine some light on Xia's distortion:
According to a poll conducted by the Executive Yuan's Mainland Affairs Council in April 2007, more than 77% of respondents support using the name Taiwan to apply for membership in international organizations, the United Nations included. In the face of such clear-cut public opinion, democratically-elected government of Taiwan must respond accordingly. As such, we have decided to apply for UN membership under the name Taiwan.
Xia considers 77% support to be "controversial"? Feh! Have a look at a sampling of the BBC's own controversial reporting on Taiwan:
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
Finally, as for Beijing being "provoked," remember that it is a policy choice for them, and since the PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan, it couldn't possibly be a "renegade province," so stop saying that.

Controversy generators: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

19 Comments:

At 3:18 AM, Blogger Corey [可瑞] said...

I thought the same thing when read the article this morning! I suppose the referendum is controversial to some, but, just as your quoted, a majority of Taiwanese agree with it! And if I hear someone talk about Taiwan being a "renegade province" I think I'll scream. Hell, I'll do it now.

Aren't news organizations supposed to cover the news? How much more disrespectful can they get toward Taiwan? More than half the time they hold a bias toward Taiwan and, like in this article, they don't even call President Chen by, well, the title I just stated. *sigh* I dislike Bush, but I still write "President Bush" in my research papers.

Thanks for the 77% quote, I hadn't seen it before; like I said, media is bias and all I've ever heard was that Taiwan was divided over the issue. I didn't think they were close to half, and now I know I was right to think so.

 
At 4:47 AM, Blogger channing said...

Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT brought the ROC to Taiwan and laid the foundations for what many remember as the "Taiwan miracle," which is arguably the dominant image of modern-day Taiwan.

One could also argue that as the sole political party at the time, the KMT also paved the road to democracy in Taiwan, although some would prefer to say that it was the "work of the Taiwanese people against the Chinese oppressors."

 
At 2:39 PM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

Strawman channing, one cannot have "paved the road to democracy in Taiwan" while simultaneously murdering those who were pushing for democracy.

Tim Maddog

 
At 5:12 PM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

To knock down another one of channing's straw men, take a look at what Jerome Keating coincidentally posted just yesterday in Myth #3, Chiang Kai-shek Created the Taiwan Miracle for the Sake of Taiwan:
- - -
The Taiwan Miracle is a fact of history but it was not created for the sake of Taiwan. It was created because Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT realized that they would never retake China and that they might as well try to make a "heaven of their hell" in exile in Taiwan. To gain a needed and full perspective on what this means, one must compare it to the German Miracle and the Japanese Miracle after World War II.
- - -

Go there to read the comparison.

Tim Maddog

 
At 3:10 AM, Blogger N.J said...

<< Chiang, on the other hand, was a dictator (ranked number four in the book Tyrants: History's 100 Most Evil Despots & Dictators >>

the author Nigel Cawthorne reputation is a bit questionable. by just clicking on the amazon links, one can see Nigel Cawthorne's specialty is writing on peoples sex lives not historical facts.

I wouldn't keep on harping about what he wrote like it was the bible.

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger channing said...

Lots of things weren't created "for the sake of Taiwan" or for whichever country. It was done and it is history, regardless of how people try to discredit it. "For the country" has an arbitrary concept for every civilization in existence.

Nobody is denying that the KMT era saw much persecution in Taiwan even leading up to the opening up of the economy and government. Considering the KMT had questionable strength in controlling mainland China, one would not be surprised that its rule in Taiwan was chaotic, disorganized and heavily corrupt and hypocritical.

But that's another story. The point is, who began elections in ROC-era Taiwan? The government. Who allowed the DPP to become a legal political party? The government. Who was the government? KMT. So who began democratic elections? KMT. I'd like to see someone disprove that; it would be the ultimate attempt to discredit KMT accomplishments.

And what credibility does that haughty temper give you? You seem to feel rather qualified to shoot straw men with a greenwashed version of Taiwan history. As Mr. Keating's writing said, what was done is done, regardless of whether I am a fan of the KMT.

 
At 10:11 AM, Blogger Michael Turton said...

But that's another story. The point is, who began elections in ROC-era Taiwan? The government.

The Japanese, in 1944.

Who allowed the DPP to become a legal political party?

Nobody. When the DPP was formed, it was still illegal.

The government. Who was the government? KMT. So who began democratic elections? KMT.

The Japanese, in 1944.

I'd like to see someone disprove that; it would be the ultimate attempt to discredit KMT accomplishments.

Rolling back authoritarian rule was something that the tangwai externally and Lee Teng-hui internally accomplished with lots of foreign pressure. Had Marcos not fallen, the US government not put pressure on the KMT, the tangwai not been so successful in the late 1970s, and LTH not out-manuevered the rear-guard authoritarians, we'd still be a right=wing authoritarian state.

Given up your authoritarian state is not an "accomplishment" Channing, unless you want to argue that a thief who returns your property is "accomplishing" something.

Michael

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger channing said...

Japan's occupation of Taiwan was not part of the ROC era.

 
At 1:34 PM, Blogger Michael Turton said...

Not the point, Channing. Who gets credit for introducing elections to the island? The Japanese. When did the first opposition parties form? In the Japanese period (see history of Taiwan Communist Party, with independence as its platform, for example). There is no argument that you can make for the KMT that you cannot make for the Japanese, because both ran exactly the same murderous colonial occupations, the Japanese were just more efficient and less corrupt.

Once again, I remind that a thief who steals your land accomplishes nothing in returning it.

Michael

 
At 2:06 PM, Blogger channing said...

You are treating the KMT as one person. The more recent KMT leaders deserve credit that you folks are denying, for fixing errors committed by KMT leaders of the past.

By definition, the KMT legalized the DPP because one way or another, today's Taiwan allows the formation of new party. If the government didn't allow it, are you implying that the DPP is still illegal?

 
At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Channing,

I think you've been indoctrinated with KMT propaganda. Read up on some real history and biographies of the true matyres for the advancement of Taiwanese democracy before you even attempt to make an argument. Ask yourself whether any of the candidate that you support did the right thing when they had plenty of opportunities to do so in the 1980s. To date, their actions reek of regression to authoritarian rule. If you search on Google, you'll find plenty of evidence that Mr. Ma was against the lifting of martial law and the direct election of the President when those issues were debated so many years ago. Many people made great sacrifices to advance democracy in Taiwan...some paid with their lives. In short, you're thanking the wrong people for all the freedoms that you're enjoying today!!!

 
At 5:57 AM, Blogger channing said...

Bottom line is, KMT or not, history was made by real people and real governments. You cannot deny that an election-based government succession system has been implemented in the current ROC government.

Since the sole representative of the government at the time was the KMT, the one with the final say in political reform in post-Chiang Taiwan was none other than his own party. A non-government entity by definition cannot unilaterally reform a government.

You ask me, anonymously of course, to read biographies of "true martyrs," as if they offer unbiased truth. Without needing to do so, who am I to deny the hard work by civilians in Taiwan and political pressure groups abroad?

Similarly, who are you to deny the final decision made by the KMT to reform the ROC political system in Taiwan? Let's separate fact from propaganda, and let's get you off your moral sensationalism. Good and bad, real things happened and is part of our history.

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger channing said...

Also:

1. The fact that you personally accuse me of "thanking the wrong people" amounts to pan-green traitorism propaganda. I can't remember the last time I thanked a politician.

2. Accusing the KMT of regression from democracy requires proof of their intent to abolish direct elections.

3. I made no mention of my political alignment, and you need not speak for it. I do not need to worship political figures as I am quite clear what they do.

 
At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Japanese introduced democratic election to Taiwan? LOL. They must have done a lousy job. Didn't they get rid of the Taiwan Republic? That was some democratic process.

 
At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Japanese introduced democratic election to Taiwan? LOL. They must have done a lousy job. Didn't they get rid of the Taiwan Republic? That was some democratic process.

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

channing floundered:
- - -
1. The fact that you personally accuse me of "thanking the wrong people" amounts to pan-green traitorism propaganda. I can't remember the last time I thanked a politician.
- - -

Your words unceasingly demonstrate your appreciation to the entire KMT-ROC party-state.

"[P]an-green traitorism propaganda"? Haha! Loyalty to a foreign occupier sounds more like treason to me.

What Michael was clearly saying above is that if someone sticks a knife in you, and you refuse to die, you don't give credit to the person who stabbed you -- even if they pull out the knife. Your comment in the number two position gives credit to (i.e., "thanks") CKS himself. Can't remember that long ago?

- - -
2. Accusing the KMT of regression from democracy requires proof of their intent to abolish direct elections.
- - -

Um, the KMT is boycotting their own referendum. Duh. Their own presidential candidate once openly stated his opposition to direct elections. Stop trying to obscure the obvious.

- - -
3. I made no mention of my political alignment, and you need not speak for it. I do not need to worship political figures as I am quite clear what they do.
- - -

Your repeated defense of the ROC makes the above claim laughable. Are you clearly aware of all the death warrants signed by CKS on people to whom the courts gave lesser sentences? Are you clearly aware that the contemporary KMT still worships the monster?

Tim Maddog

 
At 3:52 AM, Blogger channing said...

Most of today's KMT has little or nothing to do with mainland China. The referendum is unrelated to electing government officers and, as many believe, is a waste of time because it won't change China's growing influence in the UN and other international affairs.

But regardless, it looks like I'm speaking to an outstretched hand. Good luck abolishing your sovereign government, ROC, with your imported tin of grassroots-green paint. Those on the other side of the strait, as well as those closer to home, will have a great time watching.

It's kind of ironic how you travel to a faraway land to teach people how to think. Like I said, I never really thanked politicians and I don't need you to convince me whom I worship.

 
At 6:50 AM, Blogger Michael Turton said...

Most of today's KMT has little or nothing to do with mainland China.

LOL. Except for the chairmen of the party, who travel there to consult, the influx of PRC money into local Taiwan affairs, the 3,000 retired mil officers who live there, the close cooperation between the two parties, beginning, as CSIS noted, when KMT reps traveled to China to advise the PRC gov't not to negotiate with Chen back in 2001...

Most of today's KMT needn't have much to do with China. It's the key officials who do.

Michael

 
At 6:09 PM, Anonymous imsherry said...

maybe the first B stands for Beijing....

I hate these stoopid pan blue media- lie spreaders....

Their bias is like sooooooooo obvious.

 

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