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

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

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.

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Screenshot from the Google cache of the page
(Click thumbnail to enlarge)


"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 Taiwan Matters!

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