Thursday, January 05, 2017

Me in the Diplomat: Taiwan's Terrible Tourism Year and Other Media Fables

The Diplomat was kind enough to run a piece by me: Taiwan's Anno Horribilis in The Diplomat
The constant use of terms like “lucrative” or “suffering” to describe the effects of Chinese tourism in Taiwan highlights their key political role: Chinese tourists are aimed squarely at local Taiwan politics and at the international media. By sending in flows of tourists Beijing builds local patronage networks. They also offer Beijing a way to generate and then manage foreign media reporting through “goodwill” or “tensions” as needed, which costs Beijing nothing (outbound tourism is an import and cutting it helps Beijing’s trade numbers) yet has little real effect on Taiwan. When cut off, its patrons in Taiwan can be expected to scream loudly, and be heard in the dutifully unskeptical international media. Beijing’s tourism taps may not be an economic success, but they make effective political theater.
If the international media hadn't fallen dutifully into line with Beijing's intent in reporting on the protests without reporting on their political context, perhaps my taxpayer dollars wouldn't be going to subsidize these businesses which had cynically invested in Beijing's tourist flows...
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Anonymous said...

It seems that the drop in Chinese tourists is happening also in Thailand. It is a punishment for the Thai government ?? Or the chinese government can always enjoy a free ride thanks to the crass stupidity of the MS western media?

Anonymous said...

My new year's resolution is to hate people less and strive to see the common humanity in all of us regardless of where we are are from.

I hope more Chinese come to Taiwan, because then they can understand why Taiwanese are passionate about their democratic ideals first hand.