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Mar 13, 2008

WaPo: Taiwan Opposition Group Calls for Boycott of Name Referendum

This is exactly what I'm talking about (the headline was later altered to "Taiwan Referendum Faces Boycott," further confusing who is full of crap).

The KMT actually called for a promotion of their own referendum, which is the news here; their boycott of a nearly identical DPP referendum is hardly unexpected. But Washington Post took its cues from the blue and Chinese media, who spun it exactly the same way, focusing on the boycott part (to boost its chances) and ignoring the KMT referendum promotion part (in hopes that blue supporters won't actually vote for it!).

In fact, WaPo goes on for five paragraphs slamming the UN referendum from all angles before finally mentioning in the sixth of nine paragraphs, almost as an afterthought, that

Wu said the Nationalist Party would continue to support the holding of a
separate referendum on U.N. membership. That measure, also on the March 22
ballot, will ask whether Taiwan should seek admission to the United Nations
under its official name, the Republic of China, or any other name deemed

Actually, he ignores that the KMT referendum measure also very specifically asks if Taiwan should enter the UN under the name ROC, Taiwan, or any other practical name. Reporter Jane Rickards is at the point of intellectual dishonesty here.

And look how he closes it!
Philip Yang, a political scientist at National Taiwan University, said the Nationalist Party's boycott call means Chen's referendum measure faces an uphill battle. More than half of registered voters must support a referendum measure for it to pass, he noted, and polls show that Nationalist supporters outnumber Chen's.
The Nationalists' proposal is equally unlikely to pass, but it is considered less inflammatory since it sticks with the island's official name and thus is not considered an indirect attempt to move toward independence.

Notice no mention that Philip Yang is pro-KMT. Also, it's not that half of registered voters must support the referendum for it to pass, but half of them have to either vote yes or no on it. If a legislator needed half of registered voters to cast a ballot for or against him to get elected, we'd have an empty legislature.

The Chinese Nationalist Party's measure is less "inflammatory?" It also mentions Taiwan. Also, Rickards fails to mention that Beijing has crushed every attempt of Taiwan to re-enter the UN under the name Republic of China for over a decade now, because apparently that too is provocative.

Let's face it -- for domestic consumption, the KMT started this referendum so they didn't get totally slammed by the DPP. Then, in a bow to China, they shut up about their own referendum, and spun it as "less provocative" when they did talk about it because of the Republic of China part (while carefully avoiding any mention of "Taiwan"). In exchange, China reprinted only blue articles about the KMT referendum and focused all its energy on slamming the DPP referendum.

And finally, the international media fell for it.


Bobapower said...

Ah Neoh,
good catch. I felt the same way as I read the WaPo article.

Its very hard to read objective Taiwan news here in the US as most of the media here is also biased towards KMT.

阿牛 said...

Thank you sir.