Friday, September 7, 2018

Call Taiwan a "country" in public media. Yes, it really is that simple.

Years ago, I donated to Freedom To Marry, and ended up on their e-mail list. As with all such fundraising emails, I generally delete them without reading (my apologies also to Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International and Animal Welfare League of Arlington). But, I received one today with the subject line "Taiwan", which caught my eye.

Inside, I noticed this:


For the first time, I was happy I hadn't bothered to unsubscribe from such lists - if I had, I might not have noticed that Freedom To Marry called Taiwan a "country".

No fanfare, no convoluted wording, no kowtowing, no apologies, no explanation needed, just a country. No trumpets heralding the arrival of new terminology. No considering the feelings of some other country that does not rule this country, as though their opinion means anything at all regarding Taiwan's status as a country.

It is self-governed (and reasonably successfully so, despite some, uh, setbacks and issues), has its own contiguous territory, military, currency, immigration and visa process, postal know, like countries do.

Because it is a country, they called it a country.  As rational people would. Simple, effective, accurate.

This is how it should be. Not even a question. It shows how badly the media has twisted itself into knots over some other country's baby-whining about the status of this country. They try to cover it up by saying it's "neutral", "dispassionate", "straight reporting of facts without inserting political stances" when they show such cowardice in avoiding using the word "country" to describe a country, instead employing seemingly-neutral but actually offensive, pro-CCP terms like "territory" and "island" (yes, even "island") to describe Taiwan. Taiwan is not merely a territory - it has everything other countries do - and "island" is a cop-out to appease some other country's opinion of Taiwan rather than denote Taiwan's reality.

It makes sense, too. Despite marriage equality being a somewhat bipartisan issue in Taiwan (there are supporters and opponents on both sides, although the pan-greens and especially the Third Force appear to be a bit more in favor), and despite liberals in the West being kind of hopeless when it comes to understanding Taiwan, the two sides seem to have adopted oppositional "cross-strait" language on the issue. No, really: the anti-gay folks often reach for some version of "it doesn't fit with Chinese culture". The pro-equality advocates point out that this is yet one more issue which shows how different China and Taiwan are. So it makes sense that those of us fighting for recognition of the reality of LGBT+ people will tend to also use accurate, reality-based terms when referring to nations. Reality begets reality.

All that aside, it really is that simple. Just call Taiwan a country. That's all.

You don't have to do anything else, except write "country" instead of some nonsense Beijing-approved word. (Oh, you could also stop using "Mainland", "renegade province" and "separated in 1949", but frankly, using the word "country" basically clarifies all of these terms as untruthful and not descriptive of reality, so it would be natural to toss those out, too.)

The international media might want to take the box of bullshit China is forcing on the world and report as though there might be some value in it, but we can smell it for what it is. Every time we get a breath of fresh air, like Freedom To Marry just referring to Taiwan as what it is, it becomes clearer that you're just helping Beijing pass off some turds in a box.

I mean, come on, international media. We already knew you were a bunch of CCP-appeasers who regularly get up off your knees to make excuses for the way you write about Taiwan, but that others can get it right with so little fanfare really just shows how cowardly you are in starker relief.

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