Taiwan Matters! The PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan, and don't you forget it!

"Taiwan is not a province of China. The PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan."

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

Thanks to all those who voted for Taiwan Matters!
in the Taiwanderful Best Taiwan Blog Awards 2010!
You've got great taste in blogs!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

permalink

When it comes to Taiwan, National Geographic is "NG"

Baby, they're "no good"

The May 2008 issue of National Geographic Magazine generated a great deal of discussion when it came out in April of the same year. That issue of the magazine was dedicated entirely to China, and the maps within portrayed Taiwan from China's POV -- a POV in which they fantasize that Taiwan is now and has always been part of their authoritarian domain -- instead of the independent (though unrecognized) nation that it is.

National Geographic Magazine, May 2008
The May 2008 issue of National Geographic Magazine
with one of its famous pull-out maps
(Click to enlarge)

Interestingly, almost a year ago, writer Dan Bloom complained to National Geographic about the maps in that issue portraying Taiwan as being part of China. He received a poorly-spun reply from the magazine's Senior Editor & Category Manager David B. Miller. Just this week, someone forwarded me a reply from Miller to a similar complaint. That reply was identical -- word-for-word -- to the one Miller sent to Bloom.

Nearly a year later, Miller's letter is just as deceptive, and it's high time to take apart its false claims.

The world as it is?
Here's Miller's letter in its entirety (blockquoted sections in dark red text) with my responses (regular paragraph formatting) and some other quoted material (green blockquoted sections) which is inserted as rebuttals to Miller's arguments:
Dear [name]

Thank you for your letter; it came to me because I was the map editor for the China supplement. Our policy on Taiwan went through considerable discussion, taking into account statements from the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China. Below is a summary of our policy:

National Geographic has long maintained a de facto cartographic policy; that is, to portray to the best of our judgment the world as it is, as opposed to as any individual or organization might claim it to be. National Geographic strives to be apolitical, to consult multiple authoritative sources, and to make independent decisions based on extensive research.
First of all, the policy on Taiwan shouldn't be based on considerations of the People's Republic of China. It should be based upon facts -- such as Taiwan's de facto independence, for example.

And how can one be "apolitical" when it comes to making maps? What are international borders if not "political"?

NGM labels Taiwan as a 'province'
TAIWAN should be written in bold,
non-italicized, capital letters.
(Detail from the map on pp. 44-45 of
the May 2008 National Geographic
Notations by Tim Maddog - Click to enlarge)

''Taiwan's mountains, on an active tectonic boundary, are still [[NOT China's mountains!]''
If this issue was about East Asia, it'd be okay,
but it's about China, so it's NOT.
(Detail from the pullout map in the May 2008
National Geographic - Click to enlarge)

Note, also, that Miller doesn't name any of his "authoritative sources." (What is the scope of his "extensive research"?) I have my own authoritative sources, and I'll quote them.

For starters, a common method of determining statehood is the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States. Article 1 of that document says:
The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
Taiwan has all of those things -- and more.

China this, China that -- -Hey, what's Taiwan doing there?!
Taiwan doesn't belong on a map of China.
It is not China's "23rd province."
(Click to enlarge)

Getting back to Miller, he just copied-and-pasted that his magazine's policy is "to portray to the best of our judgment the world as it is, as opposed to as any individual or organization might claim it to be." Yet even his own explanation below will contradict this.

An ABC map of China in a report on the Sichuan earthquake
An ABC map of China correctly
omits Taiwan from the outline.
(Click to enlarge)

Continuing directly, Miller pastes:
The issue of the sovereignty of Taiwan (Republic of China) as distinct from mainland China (People's Republic of China) is complex. The People's Republic of China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and regards it as a province of China. The United Nations and most countries, including the U.S., acknowledge that Taiwan is part of China and recognize the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China.
What the US "acknowledges" is that both the CCP and the KMT each have their own conflicting one-China policies which say that Taiwan is a part of China, but the US doesn't say that they recognize this as a fact. In fact, the US says that Taiwan's status is "undetermined." (See summary and pp. 7-8 and p. 29 of "China/Taiwan: Evolution of the 'One China' Policy" [417 KB PDF file])

Also, China is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with veto power. It's no wonder that body treats Taiwan the way it does.

But claims made by UN Secretary general Ban Ki-moon in rejecting Taiwan's 2007 application to join the UN under the name "Taiwan" misleadingly referred to UN Resolution 2758. Ban said that this resolution acknowledges that "Taiwan is part of China," but actually, the resolution doesn't mention Taiwan at all. (Read more about that here.)

Therefore, the reason this issue is -- as Miller puts it -- so "complex" is due to the ubiquitous unresearched and misleading information like that contained within this letter from National Geographic.

Back to Miller's letter:
The National Geographic Society's map policy on recognizing independent nations is based on three main principles:

It claims independence
It controls the territory it claims
It has international recognition

Relative to these principles, Taiwan 1) does not claim independence; 2) it does control the territory it claims; 3) very few countries have formal diplomatic relations with it. In essence, Taiwan meets only one of our three criteria common to independent countries.
First, National Geographic begins by using its own criteria to put the goalposts where they favor China. But I shall take this argument apart anyway.

The reason Taiwan cannot claim formal independence is because of China's missiles and the KMT's legislative majority. If those two elements were absent, a referendum on declaring formal ("de jure") independence would pass with flying colors. But Taiwan's de facto independence is the status quo.

On point two, one might argue that while the KMT claims to control what we all know as China -- plus Mongolia! -- they don't control any such territory. So it's intereresting that National Geographic now seems to be saying that the KMT only claims Taiwan.

But when this issue of the magazine was published, Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was Taiwan's president, and for the previous eight years, Chen frequently referred to Taiwan as a "sovereign, independent country" with a population of "23 million" and an area of ""36,000 square kilometers."

This National Geographic map of China is incorrect
Here's an incorrect map on p. 111 of the
May 2008 issue of National Geographic.
When presenting a map of China,
Taiwan shouldn't have a bold outline.
(Click to enlarge)

As far as international recognition goes, the CCP's and the KMT's one-China policies are the direct cause. If a country has relations with one side, it isn't allowed (by these idiotic policies) to have relations with the other. Most countries choose the PRC because of economic considerations. I call this "economic terrorism."

Nevertheless, Taiwan does currently maintain official relations with 23 countries as well as unofficial relations with many others, including the US. Apparently that doesn't meet National Geographic's subjective criteria for how many countries' relations would qualify Taiwan for independence.

Taiwan Communiqué editor Gerrit van der Wees, writing in 2007 (when Taiwan had 24 diplomatic allies), provided some historical background which shines a brilliant light on how such criteria can be viewed:
One often hears the misconception that Taiwan is not a state "because it is not recognized as such by the international community."

This is hogwash. From 1949 until 1979, the US did not recognize the People's Republic of China (PRC). Was China therefore not a state during that period? At present, the US doesn't recognize the Cuban government; is Cuba therefore not a nation-state?

The history of the US itself is a prime example of how fuzzy the issue can be.

Asked whether the US is a nation-state, most people would answer in the affirmative. However, when people are asked when the US became a nation state, most would emphatically answer 1776, when the Founding Fathers unveiled the Declaration of Independence.

Still, during the two years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, not a single country recognized the young republic. The first country to recognize the US -- France -- didn't do so until September 1778.

The second country -- Spain -- waited until a year later, and during its first 42 years of existence the US was recognized by only seven countries.

In the 1820s, a number of Latin American countries followed suit and in the 1830s European countries such as Belgium, Sardinia and the Two Sicilies also recognized the US.

Interestingly, the US did not attain 24 diplomatic recognitions -- Taiwan's present number
[Maddog note: that was in 2007] -- until 1848, some 72 years after the Declaration of Independence.
See how ludicrous Miller's argument sounds? (Go read the rest of van der Wees' piece when you finish this.)

Moving the goalposts back where they belong, I would argue that Taiwan is an independent and sovereign country/nation because it meets the criteria set forth by the Montevideo Convention -- and more: Taiwan has its own government, flag, currency, laws, passports, military, Internet domain (.tw), and international country calling code (886) separate and distinct from the PRC or any other country.

Look who else constantly sees Taiwan through Chinese eyes
AP, AFP, BBC, DPA, Reuters, and so many
other mainstream media outlets usually
tell Taiwan's story from China's perspective.
It's time to add NGM to that list.
(Tim Maddog poster creation - Click to enlarge)

Let's continue examining Miller's form letter:
As reflected in its formal name, the government of Taiwan (Republic of China) considers itself to be part of China. In 1991 the Republic of China acknowledged on a constitutional level "that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are under separate rule." This means that Taiwan considers itself part of a historic and traditional China—but not part of the People's Republic of China. There is one China, but there are two separate entities.
It would be nice if National Geographic would make their maps as if "the two sides of the Taiwan Strait [we]re under separate rule" instead of deciding "what this means" -- and using nonsense ("under separate rule" somehow means "part of a historic and traditional China") to "enlighten" people.

Getting back to Miller's letter...:
In short, while Taiwan functions independently, its government has never formalized independence, and Taiwan is not recognized as independent by the UN and most countries. I would note that the results of recent legislative and presidential elections indicate that the Republic of China (Taiwan) is less likely to assert its independence in the near future.
What the hell happened to what Miller stated at the very beginning about the magazine's policy being "to portray to the best of our judgment the world as it is"? What do the words "Taiwan functions independently" mean to him?

Who could've guessed that the BBC wouldn't screw it all up?
Even the frequently unreliable BBC
colors Taiwan differently on maps of China.
(Click to enlarge)

To reiterate, Miller also ignores the reasons why "[Taiwan's] government has never formalized independence" -- the Chinese missiles and the KMT -- while referring in the same paragraph to Taiwan's independence. Does anyone else see the irony in this?

'TAIWAN,' not 'China, Taiwan'
A passionate Taiwanese couple
describes "the world as it is."
(Tim Maddog photo - Click to enlarge)

Here's the end of Miller's letter:
Hope this helps. Thanks for writing National Geographic.
These two brief sentences are merely platitudes. All that Miller has done throughout was to dissemble and confuse. Since he and his magazine aren't portraying "the world as it is," one might wonder why.

TAIWAN is NOT part of China
"TAIWAN is NOT part of China"
A sign at an August 30, 2008 rally in Taipei, Taiwan
(Tim Maddog photo - Click to enlarge)

Please, sir, may I have some more?
If you, too, would like the chance to receive a form letter from David B. Miller, write to him at dmiller@ngs.org, and confront him with the facts and with his own contradictions.

Quality control labels: , , , ,

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

Labels: , , , , ,

28 Comments:

At 2:32 AM, Blogger Taiwan Echo said...

Nice catch, Tim.

I recalled an article in Economist about 1~2 weeks ago, in which they showed map with Taiwan and China as separate countries. Couldn't remember which article now. I'll let you know if I see it again.

 
At 3:43 AM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

I can't find the article, but the map on their Country Briefings: China page has a map on which Taiwan is light gray like all the other neighboring countries. There's also a Country Briefings: Taiwan page on which China (the only other country visible) is gray.

Then again, they do the same thing on a Country briefings: Hong Kong page, and I don't think they consider Hong Kong a "country" much less one which is separate from China.

Oh, well. What should I have expected from The Economist?

Tim Maddog

 
At 12:49 PM, Blogger cfimages said...

I thought this might have been an interesting blog post, but when you make two glaring errors in the opening paragraphs, there's really not much point in reading any further.

Firstly, the map had a disclaimer on it, in red, next to Taiwan stating the ROC/PRC claims. It didn't say Taiwan was part of China (PRC).

Secondly, the font for Taiwan was the same as that used for the provinces of China, that much is true. It's also the same font that they used for Japan, Korea, Pakistan, India, Thailand etc - in fact all the surrounding countries got the same font. Unless you think that this implies that NG believe that PRC "own" those countries.

And that was about where I gave up reading.

 
At 3:51 PM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

Craig (cfimages), the disclaimer you mention was only on one of the maps in that issue. It's partially visible in the fourth image from the top of this post. If anybody wants to see the disclaimer close up, here it is.

On the map with the disclaimer, Taiwan is in full color while the other neighboring countries are faded. Here's a shot of that whole map. Spot the difference yet? Even with the disclaimer, they paint Taiwan as part of China.

The third image in this post comes from the pull out map (the one with the disclaimer). The heading says "Sichuan Basin/Southeast," and it mentions Taiwan in the last sentence. Is that one portraying Taiwan as a separate country? No.

Here's a close up of the mini map from that detail shot, and there are seven such mini maps on the pullout map (the one with the disclaimer). Can you see Japan, Korea, Pakistan, India, or Thailand on any of the mini maps? No. Can you see Taiwan on all of them? Yes.

What does that tell you? First, it tells me that National Geographic is treating Taiwan as part of China. Next, it tells me that you should read the whole thing first before commenting.

Care to try again?

Tim Maddog

 
At 5:14 PM, Blogger cfimages said...

I'm not going to go through it point by point. I read a bit more and you state that one of the reasons why Taiwan can't declare independence is because of the KMT majority (the other being China's missiles).

That'd be the same majority that was voted in by a majority of Taiwanese, wouldn't it? I guess they are pretty happy with the status quo if they keep voting for the party that wants to keep it.

In my belief Taiwan is an independent country. However, it's up to the Taiwanese to set the course for their country and what we have now is what they've chosen. I don't have a problem with that.

I'm much more likely to believe a highly-respected magazine like NG (full disclaimer - I have had work published by NG) over an anonymous blogger.

 
At 8:40 PM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

Of course you're "not going to go through it point by point," Craig, because your argument won't stand up. When you say you "read a bit more," you sound like you still haven't read the whole post -- yet you're still trying to discredit it.

Your second paragraph ignores the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) control of the media, their history of martial law and White Terror, and the erosion of democracy which has occurred under the current administration. Is that what you call "keep[ing] the status quo"?

Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) surveys (even ones by blue media [316 KB PDF file]) give him only a 34.5% satisfaction rating and a 48.7% trust rating, while the Premier gets a 33.0% satisfaction rating, and the KMT legislators' performance as a whole gets only a 28.0% satisfaction rating. Is the public "pretty happy" with the KMT? No, they're not.

It's a damn shame that just because I use a pseudonym, you would trust those who don't provide sources to back up their illogical arguments (National Geographic's letter and their misleading "disclaimer," in particular) over someone who does provide sources (the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, "China/Taiwan: Evolution of the 'One China' Policy" [417 KB PDF file], UN Resolution 2758, and many others) and who uses logic to back up his arguments.

Care to try one more time?

Tim Maddog

 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger cfimages said...

kmt control of media - There's a free media here. Liberty Times, Taipei Times, San li etc. If there was KMT control, these wouldn't be publishing and broadcasting.

Martial law/white terror - history. Ended 20 odd years ago. We don't compare Germany today to Nazi Germany. We don't compare todays Spain to the pre-70s Spain We don't even look at todays Russia in the same way we did to the USSR. It's history.

Erosion of democracy - you must have forgotten the DPP counciller in Tainan assaulting Chinese officials last year, or the near riots around Chen Yunlin's visit. What about the Strawberries occupying a public square in Taipei for a couple of months? I know you'd like to believe all these rights have been taken away but they haven't. As a foreigner, I actually have more rights now under the present govt than I did under the previous admin.

Approval ratings - I seem to remember most of te bloggers on the green side (and I can't say for certain if you were one of them) used to rubbish the polls during CSB's reign saying they weren't reliable. What's the change now? I'd say a lot of the reason for Ma's low polling numbers is mixed up with the global economic situation - when the global economy improves, Taiwan's will also improve and he'll see the approval polls rise.

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

I think this Miller's response is ridiculous myself. Taiwan is certainly not a de facto part of the PRC. It is arguably not a de facto part of China. And who determines the world as it is? And how is adopting the PRC's perspective of One China evidence of being apolitical? The whole thing just doesn't make sense, as you say.

But, what I really don't get is why NG had to drop the ball in this way. A much easier and less controversial way to treating the Taiwan issue exists.

There should have been some kind of border placed between Taiwan and China. Taiwan should have been clearly labeled Republic of China (Taiwan) (or something similar) and China should have been labeled People's Republic of China. I have honestly not read the issue, but the there should be a section that explains the conflicting claims as well as neutrally expounds on the independence issue. This would have been a position that NG could defend from all angles. It also would have met all three of the criteria that Miller mentions:

ROC DOES claim independence (in any event, it undisputably claims sovereignty)
It controls the territory it claims (Taiwan)
It has international recognition (Which it does. 23 countries is still recognition)

While I personally find this to be an outdated, so unsatisfying, perspective, it is the most neutral way of looking at the issue for the time being. And while I disagree with Ma's One China, Separate Interps, this approach is currently in line with that asenine perspective of the situation.

 
At 2:58 PM, Blogger Resolved... said...

Isn't it sufficient to point out these magazines are pro-china or china centric. Going to such lengths to prove an obvious point kind of detracts from the strength of your argument.

I'm as green as the next guy...but when you ramble on and on like this, it just reeks of overcompensation

 
At 4:59 AM, Blogger Taiwan Echo said...

cfimages: Liberty Times, Taipei Times, San li etc. If there was KMT control, these wouldn't be publishing and broadcasting.

Your logic is weird --- The fact that those media are still publishing can only mean that "they havn't been controlled." It didn't come any close to prove that KMT and Ma government didn't extend their hands to other less well known media.

You can't prove A's not-guilty by saying B is not guilty. There are tons of complaints about KMT and Ma government's moves to control the speech. Evidence to prove them wrong, if you can, is the only way to prove Ma govt and KMT are not controlling the media.

Martial law/white terror - history. Ended 20 odd years ago. We don't compare Germany today to Nazi Germany. We don't compare todays Spain to the pre-70s Spain We don't even look at todays Russia in the same way we did to the USSR. It's history.

If you argue that the extent of state power abuse by Ma government isn't that serious to what white terror was, I would agree with you. But your argument is that other countries didn't do that so we shouldn't. Why shouldn't we do so because others didn't? Again the logic sounds illogic.

As a foreigner, I actually have more rights now under the present govt than I did under the previous admin.

Since I am not a foreigner in Taiwan, I don't have this info. Can you share with us what exact more rights you have ?

But again, you feel that you have more right doesn't prove that some rights of others are not violated, right ?

Your points would have made some sense, if you didn't use a logic that extends your personal experiences to be a common experiences of all others.

 
At 5:07 AM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

[Remember to hover your cursor on my links for more info. Click on them for even more info than that. Careful, though -- it might actually necessitate reading more stuff!]

Craig wrote:
- - -
There's a free media here. Liberty Times, Taipei Times, San li etc. If there was KMT control, these wouldn't be publishing and broadcasting.
- - -

Besides the fact that the other 80 - 90% are blue media, the unconstitutional NCC is dominated by the blues and it doing their damnedest to fuck with green media.

In your second paragraph, you wrote:
- - -
We don't compare Germany today to Nazi Germany.
- - -

That's because in Germany the Nazi party is banned, Holocaust denial is illegal, and oh yeah, Nazi war criminals were tried and given severe sentences. But in Taiwan... well, take off the blue glasses and see if you can spot the difference.

You then poured salt into a still-open wound:
- - -
It's history.
- - -

It'll be "history" in Taiwan when all the above things that happened in Germany have happened here.

Instead, less than 2 weeks ago, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator suggested that the 228 Memorial holiday be canceled. Every year Ma Ying-jeou "pays his respects" to former dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石). His government has made plans to place "military instructors" in Taiwan's elementary schools. And Ma's party is actively working to destroy Taiwan's mother tongues.

You parroted blue media talking points:
- - -
Erosion of democracy - you must have forgotten the DPP counciller in Tainan assaulting Chinese officials last year, or the near riots around Chen Yunlin's visit. What about the Strawberries occupying a public square in Taipei for a couple of months? I know you'd like to believe all these rights have been taken away but they haven't.
- - -

You really eat that stuff up, don't you? Tainan City councilor Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) confronted Zhang Mingqing -- a Chinese official who had threatened the Taiwanese on that very same day. Wang didn't "assault" Zhang -- or even push him. In fact, when Zhang fell, Wang immediately helped him up.

Chen Yunlin is another one who has threatened Taiwan. What sort of reaction would you expect from the Taiwanese? Do you have any idea of Taiwan's history?!

As for the completely peaceful Wild StrawBerries, they were treated quite differently from the frequently-violent redshirts, eh? Remember when police took them away in the middle of the night and dropped Tibetans off in remote areas?

You wrote:
- - -
As a foreigner, I actually have more rights now under the present govt than I did under the previous admin.
- - -

Say what? It's interesting that you don't provide a single example here.

You wrote:
- - -
I seem to remember most of te bloggers on the green side (and I can't say for certain if you were one of them) used to rubbish the polls during CSB's reign saying they weren't reliable. What's the change now?
- - -

What I have said is that blue polls favor the blues while green polls favor reality (providing evidence, as usual). And did you notice how, in the comment above, I used the word "even" ("even [polls] by blue media"). Therefore, as I was trying to say, one might (if they actually made the effort) be able to deduce that actual public sentiment towards Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government is even poorer. If I had a current DPP poll on hand, I'd link to it, too.

BTW, I saw a newer poll by TVBS Friday night (taken Feb. 24 - 25) in which Ma and Liu's approval ratings were 28% and 25%, respectively.

I'll ask again: Is the public "pretty happy" with the KMT? No, they're not.

You shut your eyes tightly:
- - -
I'd say a lot of the reason for Ma's low polling numbers is mixed up with the global economic situation - when the global economy improves, Taiwan's will also improve and he'll see the approval polls rise.
- - -

Uh, no. Ma's low numbers have everything to do with his China policies and his inability to come up with coherent plans for the economy (CEPA? CECA? FTA? ECFA? [ㄟ擱發]). There's a whole world out there, but in Ma's narrow viewfinder, he can only see China.

If the economy improves, it's highly unlikely that Ma will have anything to do with it.

Tim Maddog

 
At 5:47 PM, Blogger STOP Ma said...

.
.
.
The FACT remains, Taiwan was NEVER a part of the PRC. The respectability and credibility -- that cfimages alludes to -- is somewhat lessened when a magazine refuses to acknowledge this history and reality.

cfimages said,

"I'm much more likely to believe a highly-respected magazine like NG (full disclaimer - I have had work published by NG) over an anonymous blogger."

It's not a question of "believing", it's a question of "knowing" and I would trust a blogger who "knows" a little more about Taiwan geo-political history than what apparently this Senior Editor at National Geographic does.

"Believing" belongs to people who blindly follow corporate propaganda.
.
.
.

 
At 10:53 PM, Blogger cfimages said...

Media - There's nothing stopping the DPP greens (or anyone else) from starting their own media companies. Just because most of what's here now leans blue doesn't mean that the media is not free. The DPP certainly have their hands in the Liberty/Taipei Times. And wasn't Annette Lu talking recently about starting her own?

The comparison with other countries was to point out that just because a country/govt did something in the past doesn't mean the same thing will happen now or in the future. Yet from almost as soon as the election was over last year, the green side of the media/blogs were all saying that it'd be the end of democracy.

Rights - it's a lot easier for me, as an unmarried foreigner to live in Taiwan permanently now than it was previously.

Shooting DPP election events last year I was viewed suspiciously by security and subjected to some hostility and racism (in more than one city) from the crowd. A couple of times at KMT events I've welcomed by the crowd generally happy to see me there, and the security have been more than helpful, the most recent time being this weekend at the 228 event in Taipei where a couple of the security people told me exactly when and where Ma would enter, and told me the best place to wait for photos.

There were a few protestors there yelling and shouting and they were left alone to do their thing. There were probably more media near the protestors than there were security, even though one guy was no more than 40m or so from Ma. I'm not sure where this erosion of rights was that I keep hearing about.

The incident in Tainan - I saw all the video of it from every angle possible. It was a violent act that led to Zhang being on the ground. That's assault/battery, regardless of whether it was intentional.

Polls - there was one last week or the week before, that showed 60% (and another that was 66%, IIRC), were in favour of the govt's policy towards China and agreed with a closer engagement.

I mostly agree that Ma won't have much to do with an improving economy, the same as he didn't have much to do with the current bad economy. When the overseas markets pick up again, Taiwan's exports will pick up and this the economy. And Ma's approval rating will rise, even if he has nothing to do with it. The same as he's now blamed for it being like it is.

This is now way OT, so this'll be my last comment on the issue. I will just end by saying that I'm not a supporter of the KMT, but at the moment they are the lesser of two evils.

 
At 12:31 PM, Blogger Taiwanrox said...

For people interested in emailing National Geographic here is the email: ngm@nationalgeographic.com

I emailed them and got the same message:
National Geographic's map policy on recognizing independent countries is based on the four main points listed below:

It claims independence
It controls the territory it claims
It shows stability in claiming and controlling territory over time
It has international recognition

Taiwan currently fulfills all but one of these criteria - it does not claim independence.
Although the government of Taiwan (Republic of China) considers itself to be culturally and physically part of China, it no longer claims to govern China. The People's Republic of China, however still claims Taiwan.

Thus, to more equitably represent Taiwan's political reality, our maps color Taiwan in yellow - the same color used for mainland China. As we also recognize that Taiwan and China exercise sovereignty over their respective jurisdictions, our map's label both with a political type face and identify their jurisdictional capitals with a capital symbol.
Where scale permits an explanatory map note referring to Taiwan's political status is included.

Thank you for your interest in the National Geographic Society and its work.

Sincerely,
Julie Crain
National Geographic Society


Sent by: taiwanrox8@gmail.com
11/30/2008 07:34 PM

Please respond to
taiwanrox8@gmail.com

To
ngm@nationalgeographic.com
cc
Subject
RE: Recognize Taiwan

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger Taiwan Echo said...

cfimages:

Media - There's nothing stopping the DPP greens (or anyone else) from starting their own media companies. Just because most of what's here now leans blue doesn't mean that the media is not free.

Ain't we talking about your illogic logic that "the existence of pro-green media proves there's no media control by Ma's government" ? Why did you respond with this totally irrelevant point, which again no where close to proving Ma didn't control other green media ?

The comparison with other countries was to point out that just because a country/govt did something in the past doesn't mean the same thing will happen now or in the future. Yet from almost as soon as the election was over last year, the green side of the media/blogs were all saying that it'd be the end of democracy.

As I mentioned already, whatever happened in other countries is irrelevant. The green side worry about the decline of democracy because they see something happened before in Taiwan's history, not because they saw something happened in other countries.

You could have made the same point without referencing to other countries, like A-gu in "That's impossible : Politics in Taiwan" made in his article Going overboard.

Rights - it's a lot easier for me, as an unmarried foreigner to live in Taiwan permanently now than it was previously.
... from the crowd. ... security people told me exactly when and where Ma would enter...


When you talked about you have more rights as a foreigner in Taiwan under Ma's administration, I thought you were talking about "legal rights," which I really wanted to know. But you disappointed me by saying you were simply "treated better" by "crowd" and "security," but nothing about the legal rights. Obviously you have confused "people's kindness" with "legal rights."

With that confusion, you again expanded personal experiences as though it's a common situation in Taiwan.

Other points you made -- polls, violent incident, economic responsibility -- I don't agree all, but points taken and I respect your interpretations, because they are not a deduction based on weird logic I point out.

I have no objection for anyone to have his/her own choice of political ideology. Pro Taiwam vs pro China, Taiwan Independence vs unification, pro blue vs pro green ... people have the right to pick what they want.

What I feel frustrated is, most attempts of idea exchanges between two sides ended up with pro-blue side people using lots of ill logics and sidetracking tech to cover up the holes in their ways of thinking. That seems to show that 'mutual understanding' is not intended when they participate a discussion.

 
At 7:50 PM, Blogger Dan Evensen said...

I don't agree with anything you say, but I sure like reading your blog. Keep it up, and I'll refrain from trolling on this post.

 
At 7:15 AM, Blogger discover.greece said...

I had read this post the day it was posted, but my friend (a foreigner in TW) sent me an e-mail to tell me about reading this excellent post ( in case I haven’t read it) and the interesting discussion under the comments, so I visit again to read the comments.

Craig is a super photographer, but his comments here and there (http://blog.taiwan-guide.org/2009/02/freedom-house-article/ ) stink because he does not observe Taiwan’s politics well before he makes comments.

Here, he should read the whole well-documented post before making comments, and there the link http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=29232 he claimed to show the pan-green’s violence by Reporters Without Borders actually described also about TW’s reporters being mistreated by police.

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger cfimages said...

The RSF link does mention police violence. I never said it didn't. But the police only account for 2 instances of violence, a security guard a further one and the protesters the other 7.

Politics in Taiwan is not a black and white issue. It's just unfortunate that the radicals and conspiracy theorists on both sides a)can't see that, and b)seem to have the loudest voices. I'll continue to sit in my neutral corner and call out the stupidity coming from both sides.

 
At 9:10 PM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

Craig, you're purposely avoiding the point yet again.

In your first comment on David Reid's post about the Freedom House report (a report which went way too lightly on the Ma administration), you said that the DPP's behavior "needs to be condemned equally." This can be seen as either merely being ignorant of the facts or as trolling on behalf of the authoritarians (as you have already done in this comment thread for both the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] and the CCP).

The comment above by "discover.greece" which points out that your use of the Reporters Without Borders link (in the comment on David's post) "claimed to show the pan-green’s violence" is a pretty accurate interpretation of your remarks.

When you write [emphasis mine] that "the police only account for 2 instances of violence," I suppose you wish for readers to ignore the police violence perpetrated by the dozens of officers and other police personnel seen in these photos (read about it in English here) and in videos all over the Internet.

As for your comments about "radicals and conspiracy theorists" (Do you mean "people who back up their arguments with lots of facts and evidence"?) and your claim to be "neutral," I think that most readers here can see right through that blatant nonsense.

Tim Maddog

 
At 9:41 PM, Blogger cfimages said...

Violence needs to be condemned no matter who is committing it - that's what I did on David's blog. The DPP protests and the events in Tainan were violent at times - no one can deny that. You really have the blinkers on if you think I'm trolling for China - that statement by you is simply laughable.

The RSF report in the linked focused on violence on journalists. If you read the link, which incidentally was originally posted by you, you'll see that it says "Opposition activists have the right to demonstrate, but it is regrettable that they did so with such violence and with no thought for the safety of journalists". It then goes on to say that at least 10 journos were injured, 2 of which the police caused and 1 a private guard. Others were hurt by stones and objects thrown by demonstrators, a HK reporter was manhandled by demonstrators and a Chinese presenter attacked. And so on. They only found 2 instances of police assault of the media, and 1 by a private guard, (which was actually a member of the blue media who was manhandled). That's all I was referring to.

As for "radicals and conspiracy theorists" you seem to have conveniently overlooked the next three words - "on both sides".

When organizations like Nat Geo, RSf, Freedom House etc are saying one thing (which tend to agree with what most Taiwanese see), and you are saying the other, who do you think I'm going to believe?

 
At 10:08 PM, Blogger cfimages said...

Further - I just reread all my comments on here twice and am not sure where you get the trolling for KMT and CCP.

Let's see - the first was about Nat Geo. The second was Nat Geo and the election results from last year which I merely used as an example. No editorial comment from me about them. I also mentioned my belief that Taiwan is an independent country - perhaps I'm trolling for TSU?

Comment 3 - pointed out that green media were free to operate, made a comparison with other countries that had previously dictatorships and don't now (which no one seemed to get), pointed out that the right to demonstrate and free speech is still alive and well. I did mention that I have a few more individual rights as a foreigner now. I also mentioned polls which pretty much everyone knows don't reflect reality.

The next comment was just expansion on the fourth. Unless my mention of easier rights for permanent residency is trolling, I'm still not seeing how I'm a troll for the KMT. And I haven't even mentioned the CCP, except in passing in the Nat Geo comment.

And then the next one was todays response where I clarified the RSF link and condemned the radicals on both sides.

I give up.

 
At 10:45 PM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

Craig, you wrote:
- - -
Violence needs to be condemned no matter who is committing it - that's what I did on David's blog.
- - -

No, what you did was equate the "violence" of a few protesters with the government-approved violence of the police and their leaders who were given promotions.

You rhetorically asked:
- - -
When organizations like Nat Geo, RSf, Freedom House etc are saying one thing (which tend to agree with what most Taiwanese see), and you are saying the other, who do you think I'm going to believe?
- - -

I've got an answer anyway: It's obvious that you're going to believe National Geographic. As for others, read their comments.

You continued:
- - -
[I] am not sure where you get the trolling for KMT and CCP
- - -

Did you forget when you wrote this?:
- - -
you must have forgotten the DPP counciller in Tainan assaulting Chinese officials last year, or the near riots around Chen Yunlin's visit. What about the Strawberries occupying a public square in Taipei for a couple of months?
- - -

... to which I responded with video evidence in which you choose to see the same things that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the CCP claim.

That's what I call trolling.

You ended (?) with:
- - -
I give up.
- - -

Really?

Tim Maddog

 
At 7:49 AM, Blogger cfimages said...

Trying to have a debate with you is like trying to have a debate with a GOP supporter. You seem to see everything as a govt conspiracy in black and white. With the KMT winning in Taiwan and Obama in the US, you must have had a really bad 2008.

Free speech is alive and well on this blog as long as it agrees with the editorial stance.

 
At 3:56 PM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

After having written:
- - -
This is now way OT, so this'll be my last comment on the issue.
- - -

... and:
- - -
I give up.
- - -

... Craig said -- in his 8th comment to appear on this post:
- - -
Free speech is alive and well on this blog as long as it agrees with the editorial stance.
- - -

Did I imagine the 7 earlier comments (in which I recall you disagreeing with my position), or did I make an effort to reiterate my arguments?

And didn't you parrot false Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the CCP talking points in your retorts despite having stated your position as "neutral" and mentioning (for a brief moment) your "belief that Taiwan is an independent country"?

And haven't you made these kinds of arguments previously?

And didn't you reply the same way to an e-mail in which I attempted to corrrect your labeling of a pro-Chen Shui-bian rally as a "protest" where people were probably saying "加油" and not "抗議"?

Furthermore, you seem to have no idea of what "free speech" is. Can I stop you from having your own blog? No. You still have free speech. But I can -- if I so desire -- choose to not allow comments by trolls, defined on Wikipedia as [footnotes and formatting removed, emphasis mine]:
- - -
[...] someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages [...] with the intention of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.
- - -

It sounds to me like you've exhibited quite a bit of trollish behavior.

Tim Maddog

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger cfimages said...

I only starting posting again to clarify something and then defend myself.

I didn't parrot talking points, I merely stated what was true, as seen on news and video, and backed up by organizations such as Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House.

The first photo you link to I explained to you that I need to describe things in the way buyers will search for them. International photo buyers know CKS Hall, they don't know the other names.

The second photo was from a protest. There was an election rally that night at a different venue, although it was Frank Hsieh who was running, not CSB. I actually got the info from CNA so take it up with them if you don't like it.

Incidentally, by the definition of troll you give, most of your comments fall under that category. My going off-topic was in response to you and others.

If you want me to stop posting, stop asking questions of me.

 
At 9:40 PM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

[Remember to hover your cursor on my links for more info. Click on them for even more info than that. Careful, though -- it might actually necessitate reading more stuff!]

Craig, what you "s[aw] on news and video" was influenced by media which more frequently than not takes the POV of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the CCP. You simply seem to refuse to see Wang Ting-yu helping Zhang Qingming off the ground and to hear/read about Zhang threatening Taiwan that very morning. I can lead you to the facts, but I can't make you think.

Paragraph three of your above comment: Adding a tag for "Liberty Square" wouldn't hurt your chances of finding buyers -- in fact, it should help (unless you're only interested in pro-CKS buyers). If people "don't know the other names" -- as you say people in your circles don't -- enlighten them, even at the risk of them ignoring you the way you ignored my suggestion of referring to Liberty Square by its current name. I mentioned it once on your Flickr page and then dropped it when it appeared you had your mind made up. I only mention it again here because it reveals a problem with your statement about being "neutral."

Paragraph four: Those people look like they're greeting Chen Shui-bian. I don't see a single "protest" poster in this photo from the same event. Although I see it wasn't specifically a pro-Chen rally (as I said above), Chen was there to greet the people participating in the Walk Against the Wind ***to Love Taiwan*** march. They weren't protesting Taiwan. Chen was not protesting the marchers. And the other people weren't protesting either the marchers or Chen. (I had a hard time finding that because the China Post referred to the location as "Liberty Plaza," but by varying my search terms, I got it.)

Paragraph five: Calling me a "troll" on my own blog -- that's pretty bizarre!

Paragraph five: Craig, you can stop anytime you want.

Tim Maddog

 
At 10:22 PM, Blogger cfimages said...

I don't deny Zhang said those things or that Wang helped him up. I don't know where you're getting that idea from. Making stuff up doesn't make it true and it still doesn't change the fact that Wang was out of order and assaulted Zhang.

All my photos of CKS/Democracy Hall are actually keyworded with all possible names in the places that matter. Flickr only has generic names because it's a social media / image dump site - I only put the very basic stuff on there. It's not my job, nor am I interested in trying to educate viewers about whatever name it is this week. Your note about
"KMT buyers" is obviously done from ignorance, so here's an experiment for you. Go to http://www.alamy.com which is one of the largest photo agencies in the world. Type "Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall" in and see how many results are returned. Now type "National Democracy Memorial Hall" and see how many results there are. If you click on any of the photos, you'll get the photographer's name. And then tell me why I should give up a marketing advantage by tagging it as such on Flickr.

I don't know where you got the idea that I said the people were protesting against Chen, Taiwan or the marchers. I never said that. I captioned them as DPP protesters.

The China Post article (that's your idea of a good source? What next - Fox news?) you linked says itself that the march was in part to call attention to the lack of support at the UN - which sounds a lot like a protest to me. Regardless, I already said I got the info from the CNA - complain to them if you must.

It's one thing to have a different understanding of events as portrayed in the media, or to have a difference of opinion about them, but when you try to put words into my mouth, take things so far out of context that it changes the meaning, assume you know things about me that you don't and flat out make stuff up it shows that you're not really interested in any opinion other than your own and those that agree with you.

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger Taiwan Echo said...

It's a joy to see someone goes into hibernation by saying "this'll be my last comment on the issue" when he failed to acknowledge several loopholes in his logic, and then resurfaces after a while to resume talks on something else.

It sure is an easier way to secure a false sense of invincibility, isn't it ?

And, I wonder why people would claim his/her position is neutral. When you talk with people, your words determine where you stand, not your claim. Claiming to be neutral won't make any one more neutral.

Not to mention that this "positioning" itself is meaningless. You earn respect when your logic makes sense, and you have the courage to acknowledge when it's not. Pro-blue, pro-green, or even pro-red, doesn't matter; any one can earn respect if they have these qualities. And certainly a person who "claims to be neutral" will earn nothing if he/she fails on either one.

 

Post a Comment

What links to this post?:

Create a Link

<< Home

Earlier Posts