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Sunday, July 27, 2008


Sorry-ass BBC misreports Taiwan again

Caroline Gluck, what's wrong with you?

On July 16, 2008, Caroline Gluck wrote an article for the BBC titled "Taiwan sorry for white terror era." The dateline on the article also indicates that it was written in "Taipei," but regular readers of this blog might wonder if Gluck was actually reporting from a different planet altogether.

However long ago it was written, Gluck's misreporting on Taiwan should be neither forgiven nor forgotten.

Let's start by looking at just the headline.

First of all, "Taiwan" can't be sorry for the era, since Taiwan and its people were the victims. The assailants weren't even from Taiwan. They were the Chinese Nationalist Party (中國國民黨 or KMT).

The next mistake has to do with the lack of capitalization. "White Terror" should have been treated as a proper noun here, the same way that word combinations such as "Treaty of Shimonoseki," "Green Island," Jade Mountain," "Jiancheng Circle Market," "Boston Communiqué," "Taiwan Relations Act," and "Declaration of Independence" should be capitalized when they refer to unique geographical locations or historical documents.

"Sorry" seems to mean something else on Planet Gluck
Saying "sorry" and being sorry are often two distinct things. Let's see which one applies here.

The words being interpreted by Gluck were spoken by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) (Chinese KMT), who was inaugurated on May 20, 2008, and whose administration quickly turned the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall (台灣民主紀念館) back into a place where people could "pay their respects" to Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), the former dictator who oversaw the White Terror period. (See also this Chinese-language CNA article about the removal of the 228 Exhibition.) The new administration also quickly put so-called "honor guards" back at the mausoleums of Chiang and his son (head of the "blue shirt" secret police) Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).

The resumption of the so-called "honor guards" happened just over one month ago.

And don't forget Ma's tributes to the dead dictator shortly after he was elected. (See also this related article from the Taipei Times.)

Ma lays a wreath for a dictator
Shortly after his election, Ma lays a wreath at the tomb of Chiang Kai-shek
(Click to enlarge)

Return of the son of CKS?
Self-explanatory CNA photo via the April 6, 2008 Taipei Times
(Click to enlarge)

Zhen e'xin o!
Turning dictators into dolls? Ugh!
(Click to enlarge)

Is either Ma or his Chinese KMT "sorry" for the White Terror era? I don't buy it for one minute, and neither did Yao Mu-chi (姚沐棋):
In tears, Yao said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government had wrongfully convicted her parents and ruined the lives of her and her entire family.

Yao said her parents, both journalists, were accused of spying for the Chinese Communist Party. Her mother, who was convicted without a trial, died of torture 85 days after being arrested, Yao said.

Her father, also convicted of spying, served 10 years in jail, Yao said.

Yao said she and her two older sisters were labeled as the "daughters of spies" and blocked from promotions at work and from taking national examinations for civil servants.
So-called "reporting"
In the first sentence that follows the article's subheadline, Gluck waffles:
During the so-called "white terror" period, martial law was imposed by members of Mr Ma's Kuomintang party, after they fled to the island in 1949.
Again, the subject gets the lowercase treatment, but even worse, Gluck refers to it -- in compound "those-aren't-my-words" fashion -- as the "so-called 'white terror' period," writing as though it were the figment of someone's imagination. If the hyphenated modifier weren't enough, she puts scare quotes around the already-degraded term.

Imagine what Gluck's reaction might be to a foreign journalist who (fictionally) referred to the "so-called 'blitz' of London" during "world war ii," and you might be better able to understand this from a Taiwanese perspective. Do the math, and you'll figure out the sum of insult + injury.

Gluck's so-called "journalism" frequently misrepresents the area she is supposed to knowledgeably cover, and this example is no exception. Although there's a bit of what might otherwise be called "balance" on the subject in her article, the aforementioned offenses negate any merits those points might otherwise have had.

* Take a look back at some of the BBC's anti-Taiwan bias as previously covered at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy and Taiwan Matters:
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
10) BBC's Gluck dumps on changes to Taiwan's history books
11) Another distortion piece from the BBC

Orthographies: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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At 3:16 AM, Blogger Carlos said...

Sometimes I just feel like giving up. The whole world is against Taiwan, including half the island itself. Just having a hard time being optimistic anymore...

At 11:03 PM, Blogger STOP Ma said...


A democratic and free Taiwan's days are numbered. As Michael Turton commented today, "Sovereignty. Enjoy it while you can." And the people have no one to blame but themselves.

It will be a sad obituary when the final nail is in this coffin.

At 5:25 AM, Blogger D. Corey Sanderson said...

Wow...and I thought I was depressed before I came in and read the comments...


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