Burger King Taiwan on Wednesday last week posted an update on Facebook advertising a new “Wuhan pneumonia” (武漢肺炎) home delivery meal, catering to customers hankering for a Whopper, but who wished to avoid visiting one of its outlets.
“Wuhan pneumonia” is the term commonly used in Taiwan to describe COVID-19.
Beijing has been waging an extensive propaganda campaign against the use of the words “Wuhan” or “China” in reference to the novel coronavirus, calling it racist and discriminatory. Meanwhile, Chinese officials have claimed that the coronavirus might have originated in the US.
The intention is obvious: to distract attention from the Chinese Communist Party’s cover-up and epic mismanagement of the outbreak.
Burger King China on Sunday posted an apology on Sina Weibo (it could not post on Facebook as the social media site is blocked in China).
“Burger King Taiwan Region used the phrase ‘Wuhan pneumonia’ in a post on Facebook. Although Burger King China and Burger King Taiwan Region are separate companies, we would like to express our anger at the inappropriate language,” it said.
Burger King Taiwan then decided to remove its post and substituted any previous mention of “Wuhan pneumonia” with “novel coronavirus.”
Furious Taiwanese immediately plastered the page with a torrent of invective.
The BBC on Thursday last week published a report that quoted the mother of a British woman who was quarantined in Taiwan.
The mother claimed that her daughter was being kept “in prison-like conditions” in a “filthy” room with no hot water and nowhere to wash her clothes.
Taiwanese expressed their anger on social media and it was not long before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was pressed into action.
The ministry sent the BBC a lengthy rebuttal, which was added to the report on the BBC News Web site. Several hours later, photographs showing a spotless room and a wide, airy balcony also appeared.
Taiwanese social media users this week criticized the government’s donation of masks to nations most severely affected by the pandemic, even though the recipient nations used Twitter to publicly thank Taiwan, some including the ministry’s #Taiwanhelps hashtag in their posts.
All of this was reminiscent of a special Taiwan edition of Japanese men’s magazine Brutus in 2017, which featured a photograph of a typical night market scene in Tainan on its cover.
While many Taiwanese would presumably be delighted at the positive coverage of their nation, some criticized the magazine online, saying that the image was “insufficiently beautiful.”
Before reaching for their keyboards, Taiwanese should take a moment to consider whether their actions are causing more harm than good.
Expressing dissatisfaction with “negative coverage” that “spoils Taiwan’s image” runs the danger of making Taiwanese appear thin-skinned and churlish.
Taiwanese complain about their nation’s diminished international profile, but now that more attention is being focused on the nation — the vast majority of it extremely positive — Taiwanese need to learn to take the rough with the smooth.
There cannot be many nations whose foreign ministries rebut such trifling news reports.
As for Chinese interference, the school bully analogy is appropriate: just ignore it. Reacting simply emboldens the bully.
Instead of complaining, Taiwanese should get behind the government’s attempts to help other nations in their battle to contain the pandemic, and take pride in and promote their nation’s achievements in disease prevention.
China took advantage of the vacuum left behind when US carriers stayed out of the western Pacific Ocean due to COVID-19 outbreaks on several US Navy warships. The Chinese government is solidifying its hold on artificial islands in the South China Sea by moving in missiles and surveillance equipment, and formalizing its occupation by creating two municipal districts in the region under Hainan Island’s Sansha — Xisha District on Woody Island (Yongxing Island, 永興島) to administer the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) and Nansha District on Fiery Cross Reef (Yongshu Reef, 永暑島) to administer the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) —
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) yesterday wrapped up its annual party conference-cum-national decision-making forums in Beijing: the National People’s Congress (NPC) and National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), known colloquially as the “two meetings.” They are normally tightly choreographed affairs, designed to project an image of stability and unassailable strength, but several events leading up this month’s sessions provided strong indications that all is not well in the state of Denmark. The first sign of major discontent came in March, at the height of the COVID-19 crisis in China, when an article by real-estate tycoon Ren Zhiqiang
French firm DCI-DESCO in April won a bid to upgrade Taiwan’s Lafayette frigates, which has strained ties between China and France. In 1991, France sold Taiwan six Lafayette frigates and in 1992 sold it 60 Mirage 2000 fighter jets. To prevent arms sales between the nations, China negotiated an agreement with France and in 1994 in a joint statement, France promised that there would be no future arms sales to Taiwan. From China’s point of view, the DCI-DESCO deal constitutes a breach of the agreement, but the French stance is that it is not selling Taiwan new weapons, but instead providing a
Chung Yuan ChristiaN University is clearly in bed with the People’s Republic of China. This can be the only explanation why the school’s authorities have done their utmost to shield a student, who lodged a complaint against an associate professor, and then used thuggish tactics to compel the teacher to issue two separate apologies to China. The original complaint, filed by an unnamed Chinese student, was for remarks by associate professor Chao Ming-wei (招名威) during a class on the origin of COVID-19. A second complaint was filed by the same student after Chao, during an apology, stated that he was a