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Dec 5, 2011

Ma's muddling of identity

Forget that Ma Ying-jeou is trying to have it both ways, calling Taiwan a "country" for the first time to gain political points, while at the same time maintaining an official policy that relegates Taiwan to one of many provinces of China.

The President himself made one mistake and one telling claim when explaining how using "Taiwan" as a moniker for the ROC mirrors international practices.

Ma noted that the Netherlands is often known as Holland abroad. It's true that English speakers use the Netherlands and Holland interchangeably; not so much the Dutch themselves. The provinces of North and South Holland account for two of that country's twelve provinces, so this is a case of pars pro toto, whereby foreigners who don't know much better take the two terms to mean the same thing. Actually, this is a very apt analogy, as Ma is trying to get people to think he's equating Taiwan with the ROC when he's really claiming Taiwan is but a small part of the ROC (which for him, includes Hong Kong, China, and parts of neighboring countries).

Ma then incorrectly formulates that England = Great Britain = United Kingdom, when in fact these are each distinct political entities. I'm sure you can look that one up yourself if you're not clear on the distinctions.

Actually for me I guess the biggest surprise was just seeing the Want Daily's news articles linked on Taiwan's Yahoo! News. That's a new development for me. As far as I know, they are not printing but just web posting (their print paper is the China Times). Their slogan of "Taiwan First, Best [paper] on Either Side of the Strait" says all you need to know about their focus. 

1 comment:

Stefan said...

As the famous "Oxford History of England" demonstrates, England used to be the term applied to GB, UK - even the entire British empire.

Usage within the UK has changed, but in other languages the original convention is still more common, I believe. (Angleterre, Inglaterra, England...)