Wednesday, September 26, 2007

China Contrasts

Today the headline for an article on China's CCTV noted that China Condemns Taiwan for Separatist Move. Meanwhile the International Herald Tribune reported via AP -- same news, spun positively -- China Reaches Out Following Olympic Feud. To wit:
Speaking at a regularly scheduled news conference on Wednesday, Li Weiyi, spokesman for the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, said Beijing Olympic organizers had demonstrated "extremely full sincerity and patience" in the negotiations.

"At this stage, I can only express regret," Li said.

"However, as regards this matter, we still strongly welcome Taiwan compatriots to actively participate in Olympic Games-related activities such as sports culture exchanges, Olympic training and competition activities, Olympics-related volunteer activities and so on," Li said.

Taiwan, which has never been included in an Olympic torch relay, had objected to its placement on the route ahead of Hong Kong, saying that it would make it appear to be part of Chinese territory. Taipei also accused Beijing of introducing last-minute conditions on the display of Taiwanese flags and national symbols along the route.

Beijing, which claims the self-governing island as its own territory, said Taiwanese Olympic officials had signed an agreement on the island's inclusion in the relay, but raised objections in April after Beijing announced the route.

It's funny to imagine this as an act of reaching out. If Beijing wants to reach out, it can open negotiations with the legitimately elected government of President Chen Shui-bian, remove its missiles from their sites just across the Strait, or stop suppressing Taiwan's international space. You know, concrete stuff. This is pure theatre. Sad that AP reported it this way.

Despite the positive slant for Beijing, the article does contain an interesting formulation that is extremely rare to see in a western paper:

The comments Wednesday followed last week's clanging end to 10 months of negotiations on taking the relay to Taiwan, which fell apart over Taiwan's opposition to its position in the relay ahead of Hong Kong and Chinese conditions that no signs of Taiwanese nationalism be seen.

Pinch me friends, that's Taiwanese nationalism right there in print.


StefanMuc said...

China is getting more and more adept at having the political dialog on their terms. China's fragile feelings have become the baseline. This here might interest you:,1518,507808,00.html

The German chancellor meets with the Dalai Lama - in Germany. This "hurts Chinese feelings" and apparently is an interference in *China's* internal affairs...

Really, trying to tell other nation's governments who say can or can not meet - those are China's internal affairs. It wasn't too long ago that European politician's visiting China felt obligated to make a statement regarding human rights. Now the Chinese have the initiative. This is only possible because they let them, and the results of that are becoming visible.

Michael Fahey said...

But the AP formulation about Taiwanese nationalism is in a certain sense wrong. Surely they were worried about seeing ROC flags and the national anthem there. I'm sure there would have been some DPP flags there-hell I would have brought one--but I don't think many people in the PRC know what they are.