Xinhua News Agency, China’s official press agency, recently released a list of rules regarding the use of certain terms in official reporting, ranging on topics from daily life, legal jargon, religion, and of course, any reporting concerning Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao. As China places tight control over its press and media, a Chinese person who has never stepped outside of his/her country is unlikely to realize that the rest of the world does not report the news the way it is done, and will probably believe whatever is written as facts.
Looking at the points concerning Taiwan, I can’t help but shake my head at how petty some of them are. But then again I guess China isn’t exactly taking any chances on anything that might suggest Taiwan is a separate country. Among the interesting points, we have the following:
Taiwan’s foreign ministry released a video ahead of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assembly in Montreal, Canada, calling for Taiwan’s inclusion. The video has since gone somewhat viral on YouTube and Facebook page of Trending Taiwan, both managed by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Taiwan was unable to attend the assembly this year, and press was also kept out from covering the events. Other ICAO members were told that their microphones will be muted if they speak on behalf of Taiwan.
After four+ months in office, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said that she hopes “mainland China does not misinterpret or misjudge the current situation, or think that it can make Taiwanese bow to pressure,” in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. While many in Taiwan are not satisfied with how her government has been trying to please everyone and going back and forth on some of its pre-election promises, I think her China policies are relatively neutral, if not conservative. China, naturally, believes the contrary. Read the full interview in Chinese and English.
Many people place the blame of Taiwan’s decreased participation in international organizations on her refusal to recognize the One China principle like the previous Ma Ying-jeou government. But I think it is a good thing for Taiwanese people to be reminded that Taiwan is not the troublemaker here, and we shouldn’t be backing down from insisting our independence in exchange of participating in international organizations, knowing full well that China could decide to stop being friendly (the way it is now) and prevent Taiwan from being seen or heard around the world.
Taiwan has been excluded from the United Nations since 1971. But discontent is mounting, and despite it being fairly close to impossible that Taiwan will actually be included, we press on. We are still lucky that we have some friends that are willing to speak up for us, but nothing has changed. Here are just some tidbits.
I would like to address the situation of Nauru’s close friend, Taiwan. According to the UN Charter, our mission here is to “reaffirm faith in the fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”
Mr. President, therefore, the twenty three million people of the Republic of China should enjoy these same fundamental rights. Taiwan has contributed to the World Health Assembly (WHA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). They are promoting the Sustainable Development Goals domestically and internationally, and they are helping lead the way to a low-carbon economy.
Taiwan is a key stakeholder in the international community and we should make efforts to regularize their participation throughout the UN system so that we can all benefit from their substantial contributions.
Ever since President Tsai Ing-wen and her government refuse to confirm the so-called “1992 Consensus”, which China insists is the foundation for friendly cross-strait relationship, several incidents have happened to show us what happens when Taiwan stops going along with the “One China” principle. Tour groups from China have decreased, and China has been more aggressive in reducing Taiwan’s international participation. China could do that because it is a major international power and has a large and lucrative consumer market foreign companies want access to. Like most rich and powerful bullies, it can afford to bully Taiwan and get away with it, and certainly is not apologizing for any of it.
Here are just some of the more recent incidents that major international media don’t really report, and I am sure more will come: