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.
Due to enduring the Kafkaesque situation of having two accidents in 30 minutes, one involving an accident with an ambulance, I would like to share my personal experience. Both cases show the loopholes of Taiwanese law, which is a driving factor for the terrible traffic conditions in the nation. I was driving my scooter on the main road in Taoyuan’s Yangmei District (楊梅). Despite there being no cars behind me, a young man in an old car made a sudden left turn and I bumped into his vehicle. At first, the man tried to run away, but was blocked by other
The pre-eminent authority on the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), last month issued an update to one of its entries, adding the term “Chinese dragon” to its lexicon for the first time. The Chinese word long (龍) has for a long time been translated simply as “dragon,” but many commentators opposed this, believing that the traditional Western concept of a dragon is represented by the embodiment of a fearsome, wicked monster that must be killed. It was deemed unsuitable to use a wicked and inauspicious Western dragon to refer to an auspicious Chinese dragon, so it was recommended that a
My recent trip to Taiwan to vote in the presidential and legislative elections was a simple civil duty. Yet, it was still an eye-opening experience for a long-time US resident, given the similarity in political divisions of the two-party system in both countries. As the Washington Post said: “This isn’t just an election year. It’s the year of elections.” Taiwan’s election was to choose between pro-democracy and pro-China. To a good extent, the US election in November would also be the decision time for defending democracy. The strength of a democratic society lies in the quality of its people, who
It has been a year since China relaxed the “zero COVID-19” measures that had been stifling economic activity, but the country has yet to experience the rebound that policymakers and pundits anticipated. Instead, economic indicators from last year have painted a disheartening picture. The fallout from the massive property developer Evergrande’s 2021 collapse is far from over, and the sector continues to struggle, even after the Chinese government relaxed purchasing restrictions in cities like Guangzhou and Shanghai. China’s financial health has also declined as local government debt has snowballed, leading Moody’s to downgrade the country’s credit outlook in December last year.