Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tempest in a National Unification Soy Sauce Vat

Kenneth Bradshear had another good article in the International Herald Tribune, this time on Chen Shui-bian's proposal to abolish an office dedicated to "national unification."

Taiwan, China and the United States often tussle at a level of obscure symbolism seldom rivaled anywhere else in the world. But even by the standards of this relationship, the latest fracas in Taiwan over the island's National Unification Council is especially abstruse.

Theoretically charged with reviewing an eventual political unification of Taiwan with the mainland, the council has not met since April 1999. Its budget has been cut to $31, not enough for a single member to have lunch in a good Taipei restaurant. Government officials on other agencies' budgets conduct the council's few administrative tasks.

Yet the council's mere existence is still enough to inflame passions, as President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan demonstrated Sunday, when he merely mentioned an interest in abolishing the council and the guidelines it administers.

As usual, Chen did not consult with his allies:

Adam Ereli, the deputy U.S. State Department spokesman, voiced surprise Monday at Chen's remarks and volunteered at the start of his daily news conference a statement that the United States opposes any unilateral change in the status quo by either side.

It might be a good idea to seek approval and support from a nation that you want to come to your aid when the expanionists across the Strait make their move before making such remarks, Mr. Chen.

One usage that perhaps Bradshear should pay more attention to is here:

Taiwan's Nationalist Party, which favors eventual reunification, also denounced Chen's remarks.

The KMT is not a Taiwan nationalist party, but a Chinese nationalist party. It is not Taiwan's either, but a foreign import, first appearing on our shores in 1945. This usage is misleading, and highly favorable to the KMT (this is an oversight; Bradshear usually appears evenhanded). The Taipei Times has of late taken to calling the KMT by their correct name, the Chinese Nationalist Party, and I think the international media should follow suit. It would enormously clarify the situation for readers far away.

UPDATE: Maddog spanks me in the comments below.

1 comment:

Tim Maddog said...

Oh, no, not Bradsher again!

His use of "Taiwan's Nationalist Party" was most certainly not an "oversight" as a Google search for his name and that phrase brings up 84 hits. He also "catapults the propaganda" when it comes to memes like "breakaway province" (184 hits).

Check out this revealing story [Emphasis mine]:
- - -
Case in point: Keith Bradsher of the New York Times with his March 7 article which described the Taiwanese (Mainlander-dominated) police's announcement of a suspect in the assassination attempt on Chen as "spinning the sort of story once found in dime-store novels." Bradsher sent the dispatch from Hong Kong, only a few hours after the police's disclosure in Taiwan; he never set foot to Taiwan for that article and based his subjective claim entirely on hearsay out of Hong Kong.
- - -

That's precisely why he's on my shitlist!