When a trick works, you do it again. Thus Beijing's approach to international media coverage of the Taiwan issue.
The global media's lack of understanding of the complexities involved in the Taiwan Strait, its carelessness with historical facts or, worse, its ideological, commercial and political beliefs, have often led wire agencies and the news organizations that depend on them to take a position that, wittingly or not, benefited China and belittled Taiwan.
The instances of abuse are rife and repetitious, including -- but sadly not limited to -- the contention that Taiwan and China "split in 1949 after a civil war," that Taiwan is a "breakaway province" waiting to be "reunited with the mainland," that it is a "competitor" to China, or that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and the Democratic Progressive Party are nothing but "troublemakers," "splittists," "extremists" or responsible for the "terrible" state of the economy in the past eight years.
Like coverage on other complex issues, the repetition of simplistic stock phrases soon results in them taking over reality, even if the premise is misleading or altogether false. When reductionism gives the illusion that we can make sense of what is otherwise a complex and intellectually demanding subject matter, the tendency is usually to adopt it. The media does that, and so do governments and the masses.
Misleading "facts" have played in Beijing's favor (mostly because it initiated them) and the Chinese leadership has become a master at using the key words the global media is intoxicated with to cast Taiwan as a "troublemaker" that should be blamed for the "tensions" in the Taiwan Strait and for "endangering the peace." So powerful has the grand illusion become that, by accepting the argument that Taiwan threatens (and China seeks) peace, consumers of news have become hypnotized into believing that the 1,400-odd missiles that bristle in Taiwan's direction are irrelevant.
One would think that the election on March 22 of Beijing's favorite, Ma Ying-Jeou (
But Beijing doesn't care about such little details as the truth. If the "1992 consensus" opens up a new front in its propaganda war against Taiwan and if it allows it to successfully portray itself, through gullible global reporting, as the "responsible" side in the conflict, then so be it. It knows it can count on wire agencies and the news outlets that recycle that information to skirt the complexities of the subject and proliferate that belief until the world is convinced that there is, indeed, such a thing as the "1992 consensus" and that a refusal on Taiwan's part to recognize it would yet again be proof of its "irresponsible" behavior.
Following recent developments in Tibet, Beijing has repeatedly accused Western media of being biased and irresponsible, of twisting and misreporting the facts. Oddly, when that irresponsibility plays to its advantage, Beijing doesn't seem to mind.
“Testy,” “divisive,” “frigid,” “an exchange of insults” were some of the media descriptions of last month’s meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and their Chinese counterparts. Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass said that, rather than the “deft handling” needed in US-China relations, this encounter was “mishandled, a terrible start [with] way too much public signaling.” Yet, contrary to conventional wisdom, the acrimonious encounter with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) and Chinese Central Foreign Affairs Commission Director Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) was a great success for US diplomacy
In studies of Taiwan’s demographic changes, the Institute of Sociology at Academia Sinica has found that a mere 36.5 percent of men and 19.6 percent of women think getting married is an important life event. The institute also found that the government spending money or amending laws and regulations in order to encourage families to have children is having no impact on the birthrate. Opinions differ on whether this kind of change is a matter of national security, as Japan faces a similar situation, without having a negative impact on its economic strength. Fewer women are willing to marry and the divorce
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