"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

BBC has news about Taiwan totally backwards

With writing this bad, it's gotta be on purpose

In a spot-on impression of the "Newspeak" of George Orwell's 1984, yet another BBC article without a byline has distorted Taiwan with its "reporting." Somebody could start a whole blog just to expose the mess the BBC makes whenever they write about Taiwan. For now, you get to watch me rip another one of their articles to shreds.

Who hit whom first?
Right off the bat, the article sucker punches the observant reader with this headline:
China hits back at Taiwan leader
Rarely will they call Chen Shui-bian "president" in a headline, so I'm disappointed, though unsurprised. However, in order to "hit [someone] back," the other person has to "hit" first. For your information, this seems more like a first "hit" to me:

The article presses forward with this remarkably ignorant subhead:
A Chinese government spokesman has accused Taiwan's president of trying to ruin ties with the mainland.
How can you "ruin" something that's not good to begin with? And wouldn't it have been better to put "president" in the headline and "leader" in the subhead, or would that have made China's unelected leaders cry like they had Tabasco® in their eyes?

Skipping down to the third single-sentence paragraph below that subhead, we get this copy-and-paste piece of easy-to-repeat nonsense:
China sees Taiwan as part of its territory.
While that's essentially true that China "sees" things that way, the BBC's unnamed writer could have just as easily pasted in, "The people of Taiwan see China as a foreign country which constantly threatens their sovereignty." Rebecca MacKinnon once told me in all seriousness that this is simply the result of "journalistic laziness." If that were the case, I would seriously recommend that they try my equally-accurate version sometime. (I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.)

Fists of factuality?
In a brief respite from the diligent "laziness," we get some facts about what President Chen said in his New Year's Day speech:
"Only the people of Taiwan have the right to decide on the future of Taiwan," Mr Chen said in his speech on Monday.

"Taiwan's sovereignty belongs to 23 million people. It definitely does not belong to the People's Republic of China," he said.
That, dear readers, is what the BBC implies to be a "hit" in its misleading headline. However, it is a simple historical fact that the PRC has never controlled Taiwan -- not even for a single day.

Here's how China responded to those historical facts:
A day later, the Chinese government made clear that it was not happy with Mr Chen's remarks.

An unnamed spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office told the state-run news agency, Xinhua, that Mr Chen "spares no effort to make disturbances".

"Chen intends to unreasonably restrict cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation... and ruin the peaceful and stable development of cross-Strait ties," he said.

"We will... never allow secessionists to separate Taiwan from the motherland in any name or by any way."
Every time Chen Shui-bian wakes up in the morning and brushes his teeth in the free country that is known as Taiwan, the leaders of the foreign country known as China are "not happy." Xinhua (新華, which is quite fittingly a homophone for 新話, or Newspeak) "spares no effort" to distort the truth. President Chen once again opened trade with China even further, probably to the dismay of many, and China's "anti-secession" law (which "legislates" the arbitrary use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan) hardly dictates that "cross-Strait ties" be described as "peaceful and stable." Furthermore, you can't "sece[de]" or "separate" from something you're not part of. It's both a physical and a logical impossibility. Taiwan is its own "motherland."

Here are two more muddled paragraphs:
China remains deeply suspicious of the Taiwanese leader and his independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, accusing Mr Chen of planning constitutional changes that would destroy hopes of eventual reunification.

But despite his tough talk, Mr Chen has also made clear many times in the past that he has no plans to declare official independence except in the event of a Chinese invasion.
What "tough talk" are they babbling about? Did Chen threaten China when I wasn't looking? Despite what might superficially resemble balance in those two paragraphs, the article taken as a whole definitely leans way over towards China's bellicose perspective.

The final two paragraphs of the article provide more faux balance which observant readers would realize favors China by omission:
Tensions, though, are still high. Late last month China announced plans to upgrade its military, highlighting its dispute with Taiwan as one of several regional security threats.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese legislators have recently been discussing a controversial and much-delayed US arms deal package.
Balanced? Think again! The "arms" being offered to Taiwan are purely of a defensive nature, and if whoever wrote that doesn't know it, they have no business writing about Taiwan.

There's not much I left out, but if you so desire, follow the link up top and go read the rest of the nonsense. Just be sure to question everything written about Taiwan by the BBC.

* Transcripts of President Chen's New Year's Day speech can be read at the following links. [Hanzi] [English]
* A Taipei Times article about unelected Chinese "leader" Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) same-day speech, "Hu stresses sharing the wealth in New Year's speech" (while number of missiles keeps increasing, "anti-secession" law still in place)
* Previous reamings of the BBC on Taiwan Matters! (all within the past 3 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?

Seeming defiers of the laws of physics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!
eXTReMe Tracker
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?