Sunday, August 28, 2005

"For Taiwan, A Dream Dwindles"

CNN has an article out on Taiwan's "dwindling" support of independence that seems to be rather ignorant and one-sided (but what do you expect from the Cheerleaders for Bush on Iraq?) The article quotes Emile Sheng, who appears from other articles I've seen him involved in to be a pro-KMT "analyst", and Shelley Rigger, who is normally quite sharp on Taiwan affairs. The article comes from the AP, so it is impossible to see who wrote it, but it clearly misrepresents affairs, whether out of maliciousness or ignorance is impossible to tell.

Anyway, enjoy yourselves on comments like:

The main support for Taiwanese independence has traditionally come from the descendants of people who emigrated to Taiwan from China's Fukien province beginning in the 17th century. They make up about 70 percent of Taiwan's population.

These so-called "native" Taiwanese have much looser ties to China than people whose families arrived in 1949, following the communist victory over Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists on the mainland.

Actually, guys, they make up closer to 85%, and they do not have any ties to China. Talk about re-writing history!

UPDATE: David at Jujuflop works up a brilliant and detailed analysis.


Mutantfrog said...

You could call it either 70% or 85% depending on whether or not you count the Hakka among the 'Native Taiwanese' or as a separate group. Either way, the CNN writer probably doesn't know the difference. And saying 'they do not have any ties to China' is a little bit exagerated. Some people have at least a vague sense of identity based on their ancestral homeland. It's not much, but in some cases it's at least non-zero.

Jason said...

The writer probably didn''t even bother leaving Taipei to interview all those disillusioned southern Taiwanese for the story either. As a matter of fact, he's probably sitting in Carnegies right now with a Heinekin, bitching and moaning to all the other hack foreign journalists about all the "Chinese people" he has to deal with in Taipei everyday, and how he's looking forward to his upcoming vacation to Patpong. What an ass.

mf said...

So waisheng ren are a minority in Taiwan

Tim Maddog said...

I was going to blog this, but you beat me to it, Michael.

I think it smells like Mike "China Boy" Chinoy's work. Funny the item has no reporter byline, eh?

I thought this part especially bore Chinoy's fingerprints [Emphasis mine]:
- - -
But Chen, who took office in 2000, has been unable to translate the independence dream into anything reflecting real sovereignty, engaging instead in largely superficial gestures like toying with the words on the island's passports.
- - -

I think the writer is toying with us. Changing the passports to include the word "Taiwan" may not be much, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. I'm almost amazed that it actually happened.

Notice also how the article ends by saying "the rally has so far attracted little attention, and attendance is expected to be sparse."

For those who can "do" Chinese, try this Google search for "908台灣國運動" ("[September 8] Movement for a Taiwan Republic") which returns more than 11,000 hits. It surely proves that is has attracted more attention than the writer wants readers to believe.

Let's all help to prove the propagandist wrong by encouraging as many people as we can to attend the rally and by being there ourselves.

BTW, to commenter "mf," please don't call people "waishengren." Taiwan isn't a "sheng" (province), so it makes absolutely no sense!

David said...

Jason said: The writer probably didn''t even bother leaving Taipei to interview all those disillusioned southern Taiwanese for the story either.

Probably never even went to Taiwan or maybe his trip was sponsored by the KMT. Journalism at its absolute worst I say!

David said...

My vote is on ignorance - not malicousness (as it is for 99% of newspaper articles about Taiwan). My guess is that the reporter was shocked to find out how many Status Quo fans there are in Taiwan (so to speak ...). I've added my thoughts here.

Anonymous said...

probably better to show how 100% is broken down.

pre-1949, post-1949, 'mug-blood".

i seem to recall something like

70%, 15%, 15%? but i might be wrong.

Jonathan Benda said...

Shelley Rigger has cited a study conducted by National Chengchi University in 1995: "Asked for their provincial origin (shengji), 85.2 percent of respondents identified as Taiwanese, 14.8 percent as Mainlanders. But when asked for their ethnic identity, only 30.4 percent said they identified as Taiwanese, while 19.0 percent said they were Chinese and the majority--50.6 percent--said they were both" (547). Identifying who is from what background is also made more complicated by considering the children of Mainlander-Taiwanese intermarriages, members of the Hakka ethnic minority, members of Taiwan's Aboriginal groups, and children of intermarriages between any and all of these groups.

(Rigger, Shelley. "Social Science and National Identity: A Critique." Pacific Affairs 72 (1999-2000): 537-552.)

Michael Turton said...

Yeah, I don't think any of the Big Four categories really captures the ethnic complexity of Taiwan. But that's a 1995 poll. Do you know of something more up-to-date? Of course, fresh out of martial law, people were still cagey back then.


Wolf said...

The writer is Peter Enav, and no, I have never heard of him either.
(Who said it was "impossible" to find out who wrote the article? ;)

David said...

On the figures: I'd also heard the 70/15/15 breakdown of Fujian/Hakka/49ers. I have no reason to doubt it because it was stamped on everyones ID cards until recently.

As to whether people consider themselves Taiwanese or Chinese, the latest I've seen is 45/45/6 for Taiwanese/Both/Chinese.