Thursday, August 23, 2018

A little light sado-masochism: my eyes are bleeding

Masochism because I read this despite knowing what was inside, sadism because I'm sharing it with you.

Inside a fairly innocuous article about reducing scooter emissions on a niche website few people read,  among other wonky English ("Taiwan praises itself to have the highest motorcycle density in the world?" Okaay), we get this (emphasis mine):

Different from other countries that plan to introduce a ban, Taiwan that officially belongs to China, does not only intend to block more fossil-fuelled vehicles from taking to its roads but has effectively written the proposal into law already.


Okay. Whew. So.

What's interesting to me about this is that the source material, a thin wisp of an article on Xinhua, doesn't even use this language. Content creator Nora Manthey added it in for literally no reason at all, except to be a jerk to Taiwan I guess.

Also, "officially" according to whom? Who decides what's "official" for the entire world? There's China's claim, but that's limited to China. What is "official" about this, and who are the officials in question who say so? Where are their offices?

That's what worries me: even in these little articles on niche industry websites on totally unrelated topics, even when Chinese state media which is obligated to be anti-Taiwan - as it's controlled by the Communist Party - doesn't put language like that in articles that are used as source material, even when it's just a totally innocuous thing where the content mill worker has no reason at all to include such language and probably has no political position him/herself on the issue, this crap still ends up in articles like this. 

I truly have no idea why. Any thoughts? Anyone?

I don't even have to tell you that Manthey is wrong, if you're reading Lao Ren Cha, you already know that. But just in case you didn't:

The status of Taiwan is undetermined. Under pretty much any interpretation of international law this is the case, and a case can also be made that it is sovereign (it has its own government, military, currency, contiguous territory etc.) The series of treaties and agreements following the end of WWII did not put to rest the status of Taiwan; the only ones that explicitly refer to it as belonging to China (such as the Cairo Declaration) are non-binding. Major powers do not recognize China's claim on Taiwan, they merely acknowledge that the claim exists (this is a common source of confusion). I could go more into the history of this issue - e.g. Taiwan's status 1945-1949, the Japanese colonial era and the treaty that put that into motion, Taiwan's status as a colonial holding of the Qing - but I don't need to.

You know, just in case ya weren't already aware.

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