Monday, March 27, 2006

Newsweek Panda Article

I have no time tonight to comment. The panda media offensive continues as Taiwan nears a decision on April 3. Evidently Beijing has stimulated a new round of media interest in the issue, in an effort to paint Taiwan as churlish and childish and put pressure on the Taiwan government. This article from Newsweek is the latest outgrowth of this campaign. The article gets quite a bit right, actually, correctly understanding the hidden sovereignty issues involved here, although it doesn't get into the conservation issues, nor mention the cost problem, except by indirectly noting the vast investments required for local zoos (the size of the investment seems to indicate that Someone already knows what the outcome will be). China has been successful in suppressing those in articles in the US media, and has done a good job controlling the presentation. Note how the last paragraph ends not on a discussion of the animals' endangered habitat, but on a discussion of the success of the center in China in caring for the pandas. Positive press for China -- I also like the way they got the Chinese pandakeepers to piously intone that this has nothing to do with politics.


Anonymous said...

Did this make it to the American print version?

Michael Turton said...

No clue. Haven't seen the print version.

STOP_George said...

Whatever Chen does, the panda lovers have a good chance of getting their wish sooner or later.

Really? Why is that?

Chen's term expires in two years.

Two years, huh?

His approval ratings have sunk to dismal levels

I just thought you said he wasn't running in 2008?

and his pro-independence party lost badly in recent local elections.

Oh, well say no more! Send in the Pandas!! Pssst...did anyone tell this "journalist" that Chen's hardline apporoach has increased since those elections?

Meanwhile, Beijing has been waging a charm offensive, cutting duties on goods from Taiwan and inviting Chen's leading political adversaries to visit the mainland. Mainland officials say that Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan are nothing more than a continuation of that policy.

There's that ridiculous "balancing the two sides that aren't balanced" approach again. Inviting Chen's leading political adversaries (which this panda deal was a part of) to the mainland, but refusing to talk to Chen. And all this "journalist" can write is "they say".

"It's absolutely inappropriate to call them 'Trojan pandas'," says Zhang Hemin, director of the Wolong Giant Panda Research and Conservation Center in Sichuan province, where the cubs were born and raised. His deputy, Li Desheng, agrees: "Pandas symbolize peace and friendship. This has nothing to do with politics."

Absolutely! and pandaMa Ying-jeou and the KMT symbolizes peace, friendship and all that is good and wholesome (where the hell is Wilfred Brimley?). Isn't it obvious!

Gee, you'd think the fact that the KMT and China are now arm and arm together with this new PR tactic (reciting the same talking points, for chrissakes!) would gain attention by any "journalist" worth a dime. Wait a minute!! There's 2 "journalists" writing this piece!! LOL!!!

Naruwan said...

'Panda trojan' illustration from article in Next magazine last year.

or go to
if the link does not work.

Taiwan's Other Side said...


"Chen's hardline apporoach has increased since those elections?" is everyone's nightmare - starting a war because he has nothing to lose and is desperate for attention.

Is it so bad that the "KMT and China are now (supposedly) arm and arm together" in the political arena? Like it or not, Taiwan and China are arm in arm in economics and culture. Denying the relationship is irresponsible, as is fomenting unnecessary conflict.