Chinese state media blasted television host John Oliver’s comedy segment on Taiwan, saying that he “dodged facts” and misled the public about the nation.
“As a comedian show that sometimes covers politics, it is not surprising that it didn’t take the issue seriously,” the Global Times said in an opinion piece on Tuesday.
“Yet it reflected that most Westerners don’t know why the Taiwan question matters and they don’t care about it,” the op-ed added.
The English-language newspaper is the Chinese government’s main vehicle for communicating unofficial government messages to Western audiences.
During the segment, Oliver sought to untangle the complicated relationship between Taiwan and China for a US audience.
Mixing historical narratives, pop culture references and salty language, Oliver concluded that Taiwan’s fate should be left up solely to its residents.
US-China tensions have climbed over Taiwan, with Beijing sending scores of aircraft into the nation’s air defense identification zone over the past few months.
US President Joe Biden has said that the US would defend Taiwan from attack, a statement that appeared to shift US policy away from one of “strategic ambiguity” in the case of a Chinese invasion.
White House officials have since said that US policy on Taiwan remains unchanged.
On Tuesday, a senior Taiwanese government official took to Twitter to playfully chide Oliver over the segment.
“I firmly support our soldiers’ dancing and demand a apology from John Oliver,” Presidential Office spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka wrote in the post, adding a grinning, squinting emoji face.
Oliver had on Sunday poked fun at a recruitment video for Taiwan’s military during the almost 20-minute segment of the HBO series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
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