Sunday, September 27, 2015

BBC gleefully slams Taiwan and misses key political point, while Reuters makes one

"Good day, sir," Drake said formally. "I must be off to New York, and your welfare is really not a major concern in my life."

"Good day," Lovecraft said, rising with Colonial courtesy. "Since you have been so good as to give me a warning, I will return the favor. I do not think your interest in these people is based on a wish to oppose them, but to serve them. I beg you to remember their attitude toward servants."
Reuters reports that China is angered by Tsai's upcoming visit to Japan.
Tsai visited the United States this year, which also angered China.

Many people in Taiwan, which was a Japanese colony from 1895-1945, have a broadly more positive view of Japan than people in China or Korea.

The first, and so far only, DPP president, Chen Shui-bian, infuriated Beijing during his term from 2000 to 2008.

China accused him of trying to push for independence, even though Chen tried to maintain stable ties.
In a piece that consists largely of media platitudes -- like saying that relations between Taiwan and China improved with Ma Ying-jeou when it was CCP-KMT relations that improved -- that sentence I've bolded stands out. Kudos to Reuters -- how many international media reports have ever put it so clearly and straightfowardedly?

Since China's "anger" is pro forma, perhaps Reuters might simply let Xinhua forward the government's press releases, and refrain from doing so itself.

...meanwhile BBC "blog" reports with unconcealed glee that Taiwan fans got Bon Jovi's China concert canceled. BBC is so excited to report that Taiwan Did A Bad that it missed the key political point of this series of events....
Sources have told the BBC that Taiwanese fans had sent the Chinese authorities pictures of those concerts, showing Bon Jovi singing on stage with images of the Tibetan spiritual leader as the backdrop.

The move, it appears, was part of a concerted campaign aimed at getting Bon Jovi's China tour scuttled so that he could play more shows in Taiwan. Indeed, shortly after Beijing and Shanghai dates were cancelled, he hastily added one more date for Taipei.

Fans were apparently inspired by American rock band Maroon 5's experience with China. When Beijing recently cancelled their shows after one band member tweeted "Happy Birthday" to the Dalai Lama, the organiser added a concert in Taipei to recoup losses.

Taiwanese Bon Jovi fans were desperate. The band had scheduled only one concert in Taiwan on its Asia tour and tickets had sold out on the first day.
...of course BBC makes the pro forma acknowledgement that no one really knows what caused BJ to cancel BJ, but it is obvious what its actual position is.

BBC then goes on to deliver the key political point...:
For years the band has tried to tap into China, and Jon Bon Jovi recently even learned how to sing one of the best-known songs in Chinese culture, The Moon Represents My Heart.
....which is, once again, that no matter how hard you struggle to serve China, China will use that as leverage to make you serve it even harder, and then go ahead and screw you in the end. This is why China can only be exploited or resisted, but can't be negotiated with. But this far more indicative and interesting insight was ignored by BBC in its haste to blame Taiwan for Beijing's decision (because everyone knows that Beijing has no agency of its own, so the blame for any actions it takes must always rest with others). *sigh*

Perhaps BBC and its writers in the Chinese world should take that lesson about serving China to heart, eh?

UPDATE: Bon Jovi has canceled the extra show and the original one, typhoon taking the blame.

ADDED: A couple of other points to be made. BBC could have taken the position that China is so easily manipulated. Or it could have done investigative work and found that perhaps the concert promoter realized he wasn't making enough money, and pulled the concert tour. *wink*

ADDED: Lots of comments, some good.

ADDED: BBC scribes:
Perhaps the lessons Taiwanese fans want to teach Bon Jovi are: don't be blinded by money; don't forget your first love in greater China - Taiwan; and get it right by singing The Moon Represents My Heart for the Taiwanese.
There's no such thing as "greater China" and claiming so is a pro-China move.

MEDIA: I should add that corporate news media (and this goes double for a state-run media organ) don't have "blogs", blogs are anti-Establishment and alternative by their nature. Renaming your column a "blog" doesn't make it trendy and insightful and interesting and alternative. It just debases the word "blog" and shamelessly parasitizes on the hard work of those of us who have struggled to make this art form a useful and informative alternative. It also lets everyone know you are so out of touch you think blogs, a medium largely passe these many years, are actually trendy.
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Daily Links:
  • New Bloom on the passport issue.
  • The latest Taiwan Communique is out, full description, links, and TOC are below the READ MORE line. 
  • FocusTaiwan ran this piece: Ten Ways You Know You're Turning into a Local in Taiwan. Actually, it should be titled: "Ten Ways You Think Taipei is Taiwan". Those of us who really are local laffed at it. A telltale sign of continued foreign-ness, as  a friend of mine pointed out: the list doesn't contain any mentions of interactions with locals.  Its point of reference remains... foreignness, not localness.  
  • Homeowner not interested in joining developer leverages law to make big bucks stealing private property project urban renewal  project has home demolished anyway.
    Citing the Urban Renewal Act (都市更新條例), Lin said that the project was approved after gaining the backing of 60 percent of property owners who together owned more than two-thirds of space allocated for the project.
    Developers typically have people purchase plots in an area they want to destroy develop, meaning that the "60%" rule is totally meaningless, since many of those voting will be working for the developer.
  • US issues Taiwan invasion report
  • Typhoon on way! Rain a'comin'.
  • PETA piece on first-ever pigeon gambling bust (actually, it's not). FocusTaiwan has an article on it here.
  • Dengue cases now up to 17000. Once again the central government has failed. 
  • DPP Presidential Candidate Tsai reaffirms commitment to Status Quo.
We are pleased to let you know that the new issue of Taiwan Communiqué is hot off the press (attached). This issue starts with an overview of the presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan, which are now kicking into high gear. We analyze the position of the three candidates, Dr. Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP, Ms. Hung Hsiu-chu of the KMT, and independent candidate James Soong of the People First party. We also discuss whether the DPP can get a majority in the Legislative Yuan.

This is followed by a summary of the developments surrounding the high school student protests against proposed changes to history textbooks. During the months of July and August 2015 this led to a tense confrontation and even a brief occupation of Ministry of Education offices, and the death of one student leader.

The next theme is the heated debate in Taiwan on how to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Asia. This led to some very different perspectives: the PRC/CCP narrative, the one by the ROC/Chinese Kuomintang, and the views from the side of the native Taiwanese, who were under Japanese rule during WW-II.

Next we focus on a related topic: former President Lee Teng-hui’s pronouncements during his July visit to Japan and his interview with a Japanese magazine in late August. Did Taiwan fight in the “War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression” – as maintained by President Ma Ying-jeou.

In our Report from Washington we present the text of an open letter to President Barak Obama regarding the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Washington. FAPA President Mark Kao urges president Obama to reaffirm America’s support for freedom, democracy and human rights in Taiwan.

We then have an In Memoriam with a tribute to human rights activist Lynn Miles who passed away in Taiwan on 8 June 2015. Mr. Miles was a pioneer in Taiwan’s human rights and democracy movement.

The electronic version will be uploaded to our websites www.fapa.org and http://www.taiwandc.org/twcom/index.html

ONTENTS Taiwan Communiqué no 152

September / October 2015


Election campaign in full swing
Tsai Ing-wen maintains a strong lead ............. 1

Hung Hsiu-chu's poll numbers keep dropping ....... 2

James Soong jumps into the race .................. 5

Will the DPP have a majority in the LY? .......... 6


Students protest textbook changes
Students rally at Ministry of Education .......... 8

Tragic suicide of student leader ................. 9

An unsatisfactory dialogue with the Minister .... 10

Highschool students win moral victory

by FAPA President Mark Kao ..... 11


Taiwan's curious WW-II commemorations
For Taiwan, a complex World War II history ...... 13

ROC-PRC competition on who led the war effort ... 14

Beijing's distorted version of events ........... 15

Lien Chan draw fire for attending PRC parade .... 16


Former President Lee speaks out (again)
Agrees that the Senkakus belong to Japan ........ 17
Taiwan did not fight "War of resistance" ........ 19

Report from Washington
Letter to President Obama re visit of Xi Jinping..21


In Memoriam

Human rights activist Lynn Miles (1943-2015) .... 22

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Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

18 comments:

Paul Adams said...

Good on you for making the point about newspaper 'blogs'. It's simply an excuse for them to print whatever the hell they feel like and then try to wash their hands of it afterwards if there's a backlash. "Wasn't us guv'nor, it was them pesky bloggers what done it!"

Anonymous said...

BBC is very left wing and wears its agenda openly. It never misses opportunities to score left wing talking points, often using selective information to use as "facts", as witnessed by their false and failed reporting on current Islamic influx of (mostly) economic (over 70% male) migrants to Europe. BBC also have a pro-China bias especially in regards to Sino-Pan Asian relationships. Often this involves portraying China as victims instead of aggressors they now are.

Jenny

Tim Keep said...

Sorry I don't follow your problem here.

I'm gonna start off with your reference to what 'a blog is' . . . You say "It just debases the word "blog" and shamelessly parasitizes on the hard work of those of us who have struggled to make this art form a useful and informative alternative."

An art form by its nature is a reaction to the world and often completely fanciful. If a blog is an art form how can you possibly use it to deliver serious commentary or discourse on world affairs? A blog was always a person personal website and a place to express yourself or share ideas.

Fair enough the BBC a huge state run organisation, with a blog. I believe its there because to release less newsworthy opinion or curiosities that can't be relayed as part of the serious news site. Its also an example of a blog to show the British youth that 'they could do that' which I believe was the point of its inception.

As for their reporting of the Bon Jovi affair well, if that's the information they've got, or got wind off and they've released like that then its because they don't know anything else but clearly the series of events happened in that order and their sources (from the Bon Jovi production camp and their considerable networks across Asia) are linking it that way. That being the case wouldn't it be completely wrong to include that as a major contribution to narrative within any international political discourse.

But for me, an Englishman living in Taiwan, I found it interesting even if I thought the English in the post and they way the story was reported wasn't great copy.

So I find it odd your bashing the relaying of a curiosity on a BBC blog page because its not made a better political point in using your 'art form'.

To quote the artists The Beetles,

"Sitting on a cornflake waiting for the van to come. Corporation tee shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday. Man you been a naughty boy. You let your face grow long."

Tommy said...

First, I think we have to ask ourselves what a "blog" is. Most definitions I have seen describe them in terms of their technical attributes rather than their content. Many establishment media blogs do have those technical attributes. BBC's blogs fit the bill if subjected to these general technical standards (such as reverse chronological content and the enabling of comments). I say this as someone who was working for an integrated communications consultancy.

I think your perception is due to the fact that, due to their accessibility for the average person, blogs originally developed in an a media environment where most bloggers (including you) happened to be "anti-establishment and alternative". This was never a requirement of the medium. Moreover, all organizations are different, and some -- even newspapers -- give the "bloggers" considerable leeway to report what they want. Not all such blogs should be tarred with the same brush.

This said, the issue I have with many newspaper and corporate blogs is more a matter of the purpose they serve rather than the degree to which they meet the criteria of what a "blog" is. Many corporate blogs are really no more than extensions of marketing and communications branches within companies. Therefore, what should be "thought leadership" (the ability to credibly moderate community discussions around topics of interest to readers that correspond to the expertise of the poster) becomes overly sanitized, thereby impacting the credibility of the poster and defeating a key benefit of using the blog medium -- the power of stimulating conversation and thought among readers.

As for newspaper blogs, they often end up looking only a little different from other news content in the paper. Is a newspaper that lists its stories chronologically, but segregated by topic, and that enables comments a "blog"? Technically, that is what China Digital Times is, for example. Many "bloggers", categorized content, contents enabled -- sounds like an online newspaper. The point is not to take down CDT, but to note that many hybrids exist. This being the case, it rarely makes sense for a newspaper to have a blog to me. Why not just host more comment pieces with comments enabled? This doesn't make their "blogs" less of a "blog".


Michael Turton said...

But for me, an Englishman living in Taiwan, I found it interesting even if I thought the English in the post and they way the story was reported wasn't great copy.

I've been following BBC and its various reporters for years. Its reporting is rarely sympathetic to Taiwan, and its deeply pro-China. I think it will only get worse with the new UK government's service to China. In the end the UK and Taiwan are both going to be deeply harmed.

There are several angles that could have been chosen. One was the political point I made -- just another example of how China will always screw you no matter how hard you try to serve it.

Another point that could have been made was if these fans had an effect, how easy China is to manipulate.

But the angle BBC chose was to emphasize that Taiwan Did A Bad. That's as entirely predictable as China canceling a concert because the DL was somehow mentioned.

The irony of BBC/Beijing predictability is painful. Painful irony, as well as shallow reporting, is what you get when you choose to serve authoritarianism over democracy, and to abuse the people who have treated you with nothing but kindness.

Michael

Michael Turton said...

I think your perception is due to the fact that, due to their accessibility for the average person, blogs originally developed in an a media environment where most bloggers (including you) happened to be "anti-establishment and alternative". This was never a requirement of the medium. Moreover, all organizations are different, and some -- even newspapers -- give the "bloggers" considerable leeway to report what they want. Not all such blogs should be tarred with the same brush.

It was never a requirement, BUT, when newspapers call something a "blog" they cash in on that cachet, so to speak. Actually the "blog" is a column with editor, etc.

But they'd probably argue that we use their words, so the exploitation runs both ways.

Tommy said...

Also, I would note that a "blog" in itself is not an "art form". It is a medium of expression. The "art form" is in the community building side of a blog. If the blog does not inspire discussion among readers, then there is no point of enabling comments. This is what makes "good bloggers" good bloggers. They know how to write for their audience. In this sense, you might describe them as artists within their medium.

Tommy said...

"It was never a requirement, BUT, when newspapers call something a "blog" they cash in on that cachet, so to speak. Actually the "blog" is a column with editor, etc. "

That is right. This is why I would probably not counsel a newspaper to use a blog. For too many of them, "blogs" are like putting band-aids on a bullet wound. My suspicion is that, at the corporate level, it is a lot harder and more expensive (and probably less effective) for a newspaper to try to improve their content than it is to say, "Hey, we will host a blog!!!" To me, blogs at newspapers are more a symptom of the increasing irrelevance of the traditional media models than they are a sign of innovation or independent thought.

Tim Keep said...


Dude Sorry,

That's your opinion, and this is your blog, and something you're are entitled to write.

Yep the BBC and British politics in general are very cautious about really going against the grain of China or any other nation for that matter when reporting opinions, or discourse, for host of reasons. But not to the point of hiding blatant atrocious reality in the name of doing the right thing but a foreign government.

The BBC do and have always tried to engage in good journalism having noted that most the British public are educated and capable of shooting them down as we pay for the service.

May I add that you seem sadly like a gun toting American that is ready to fire away at a combination of events, policy and factors from an aspect that seems to be very real for you. I'm not for a second pro China at the cost of humanist values and foreign policy derived from democratic governance but I do recognise China is a fucking complicated beast. Its president earns
$4.5k a month. Lord knows just how many 'compromises' have been met between politics, business, mafia syndicates and incumbent shadow governance. I can only believe its a nightmare at best.

Also we have similar or worse historic political wranglings in the west . I love the UK and America but we not innocent and have been led into making mistakes by members of our own countrymen that have been disastrous for other nations and world politics in general. To this day i can't get over the British/American Iranian coup of '53. I've almost apologised to every Iranian I've ever met because of it.

There are people like you in China who are sure the US is going to invade China. They have blogs, in fact in 2007 (I think) wired magazine gave links to the blogs that the Chinese intelligence service had blocked. One was followed daily by 250,000 and it was devoted to the idea the US was going to invade.

I know that I would never allow something my government to do something that could be seen to be even a shade of wrong. The world is currently seeing the effects of this need for assurance before action sadly in Syria where 10,000,000 have been displaced and we're standing at the sideline because of some many grey areas.

That being the case I think we should stop throwing up a linage of history at China that makes it out to have some crazy world dominating agenda, and recognise for what it is. It is a remarkably mixed bag of political juxtapositions at all levels that is bound to do something wrong by somebody, at sometime. However China knows and so does everyone in the word a mildly wrong move will cost it dearly thanks to both political related economies and the general world economy so there are better and more logical ways forward that will work for itself and everyone else as well.

I'd like you to see that Michael but if you don't understand what compromised/compromising is then its pointless reacting to 'state' and 'reported' news.

Michael Turton said...

Thanks for your opinion Tim. I appreciate the China apologetics, I've been listening them for many years, they usually either make me laugh or tear my hair out in frustration. Ignorance can be healed, but willing ignorance is difficult for me to handle sometimes. Good luck with that, eh?

You're welcome to keep making these comments, but I've been following BBC reporting on Taiwan for 25 years and intensively for over a decade, so I kinda know how they are ;)

However China knows and so does everyone in the word a mildly wrong move will cost it dearly thanks to both political related economies and the general world economy so there are better and more logical ways forward that will work for itself and everyone else as well.

Oh yes, people always say this, right before the general war starts. Common use of this shallow platitude that "the expansionist power knows it shouldn't expand" or "the expansionist power needs peace" is a sign that everyone realizes what the actual situation is going to be.

Michael

Michael Turton said...

Also, I would note that a "blog" in itself is not an "art form". It is a medium of expression. The "art form" is in the community building side of a blog. If the blog does not inspire discussion among readers, then there is no point of enabling comments. This is what makes "good bloggers" good bloggers. They know how to write for their audience. In this sense, you might describe them as artists within their medium.

Well put. That's how I've always thought of it. The point is the community that forms around your blog.

Michael

Mike Fagan said...

@Tim Keep

Your comment above is barely intelligible. Perhaps you should consider using the preview function to read what you write before posting comments.

Your claim that the BBC has always pursued "good journalism" may be dismissed simply by reference to, among other cases of journalistic incompetence, the damages they had to pay to Lord McAlpine a few years back.

How to deal with the BBC pro-China bias which Turton (correctly) points out? I say there's only one way to be sure.

Tim Keep said...

@Mike Fagan,

Fair enough.

I don't have anything witty or trite to say back.

I know I can clearly ignore all the remaining articles that Michael has written as ludicrous, and find another portal where I can agree who heartedly.

All the remains for me to say is some of the other articles are interesting and nice and I'll probably read a bit more sometime and I'm grateful that he's allowed my moderating voice onto his personal blog.

Best regards,

Tk

Tim Keep said...

So sorry, . . . last comment I promise.

@Mike Fagen.

If you look at the 'latest post' at the side of the BBC blog post we're talking about - "Did Taiwan fans give Bon Jovi a bad name in China?" it is called "Who is Xi Dada" http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-china-blog-34338832 and its a straight poke at a 'People's Daily' 'propaganda video' as they describe it.

That says it all really,

Tk

Anonymous said...

I've never seen blogging in these exalted terms, although to be sure there are a number of great blogs out there (including yours, Michael). Are Facebook and Twitter art forms as well? The most counter-establishment aspect is the talk-backs (think "letters to the editor"), but we all know how these end up, especially on mainstream news sources with fairly relaxed moderation (enter cranks, racists, misogynists, trolls, spammers, "first!"-ers, and other sorts whose submissions would never have made it past the editor in the old days). One important distinction would be between "niche" blogs whose audiences have rather specialized interests, and more general ones (whether news or pop culture) where the comments tend not to be so insightful.

Michael Turton said...

grateful that he's allowed my moderating voice onto his personal blog.

"moderating" lol

Mike Fagan said...

"I don't have anything witty or trite to say back."

I don't think anyone expects you to, but I expect (and possibly Turton does too) that native speakers write their comments legibly, i.e. without syntactical, grammatical and spelling errors all over the fucking place like crumbs at a pie eating contest.

I can accept it from the Taiwanese who may struggle with their English (as I may struggle with Mandarin), but not from a native speaker.

Tim Keep said...

I am truly sorry for my typos, I am British and was in a rush to express my sentiment.

Fear not, the Chinese are not invading, I have not been replaced a Chinese android and you won't have to pick up arms soon to stop the PRC from forcibly occupying the USA.

Good day.