Ah, AFP. It had a moment in the sun with several excellent and very balanced pieces recently -- causing much wondering email to flit between myself and others who watch the international media -- and now it has reverted to form. The AFP report on the decision of the Kaohsiung Film Festival to screen 10 Conditions of Love despite pressure from China and its servants in Taiwan...note how the AFP report consists entirely of Beijing-centric statements, except for a section lower down with remarks from Kaoshiung Mayor Chen Chu:
Taiwan's second-largest city on Sunday said it will show a controversial documentary about exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer in the coming days despite objections by China.Pro-Beijing media formulae abound....
Kaohsiung, a stronghold of the pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was planning to screen the biopic at the Kaohsiung film festival in October but has moved the screening forward.
The China Times newspaper here quoted hotels in the southern city as saying they'd had thousands of cancellations from mainland tourists after Chinese authorities instructed tour operators to stay away temporarily from the city.
Beijing, which has labelled Kadeer a "criminal" and accused her of inciting ethnic violence in China's far-west Xinjiang region in July that led to nearly 200 deaths, warned the Kaohsiung authorities not to harm cross-strait relations.
**AFP cites the pro-KMT China Times without informing readers that it is pro-KMT, and then repeats what it says without caveats or alternate points of view. The Taipei Times, more balanced, posted both sides of the claim that the cancellations were the result of screening the film yesterday and again today, the other side saying:
According to Lin Kun-shan (林崑山), the chief of the city’s tourism bureau, however, the occupancy rate of hotels has dropped nationwide because of the recession and the devastation wrought by Typhoon Morakot.**We are told what Beijing thinks of Kadeer, but not what Kadeer thinks of Beijing. No bias there!
“From January to August this year, the rate declined by 10 percent in Taipei City and Hualien County compared with the same period last year. In Kaoshiung City, it dropped by between 3 percent and 5 percent,” Lin said.
**"...independence from China":
The DPP favors independence, period. It doesn't believe Taiwan is part of China (it isn't).
Chen, a top official of the DPP, which favours formal independence from China, tried to play down the significance of the film about Kadeer, called "The 10 Conditions of Love".
**The Dalai Lama strains ties:
Ties between Taiwan and China, which have improved markedly since the Beijing-friendly government of PresidentHere the AFP reporter simply regurgitates the Beijing line that the DL was bad for "relations" between "Taiwan" and "China." Those of us here on the Beautiful Island know that Taiwan has no relations with China -- the KMT has relations with the CCP, and the DL's visit had no effect on those (as the KMT's eager service to Beijing on the Kadeer biopic shows). There were a few delays of visits by emissaries just for show, but the sell-out goes on apace, and really major stuff, the MOU that will permit Beijing to hollow out our financial industry like a gourd, is on track for October, with the ECFA a couple of months behind. The DL had zero effect on that. took office last year, looked fragile again as the Dalai Lama's visit strained the relationship.
Once again, the "tension" only happens in the media. In the real world there is no tension between the CCP and the KMT, just political theatre.
Really, why does AFP even bother to have media reps out here? I feel sorry for the good people of France having to read Xinhua twice every day....
The Foreigner had a good spot today on this topic, writing:
From Taiwan's China Post:But as the Taipei Times pointed out, while the KMT itself might be leaping to do Beijing's bidding, the Executive Yuan commendably said the government would not interfere, as there is free speech in Taiwan.Mr. Deputy Secretary-General, free speech IS the public interest of Kaohsiung. And Taiwan too...
. . . ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Deputy Secretary-General Chang Jung-kung, who handles the party's ties with China, warned [the mayor of the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung] of the risks of screening [a film about Chinese Uigher leader, Rebiya Kadeer].
He said the mayor should give top priority to the public interest of her city, and should “think carefully” if the move affects Kaohsiung's [influx of Chinese tourists].
UPDATE: Some excellent comments below. I think it is a good idea to move the screening -- we made our political point, and there is an election soon....
- Awesome post from Claudia Jean on Taiwan's environment and land restoration under threat. Not to be missed.
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