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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

AP, cut the crap!

Update: Instead of improving the quality of reporting, the links that I referred to in AP's news were all disabled now as if the news never had existed in the first place.
Just to prove that they did exist, I now link them to the links of the subscribers of AP.

Associated Press has declared its mission to be “providing distinctive news services of the highest quality, reliability and objectivity with reports that are accurate, balanced and informed.” However, its reporters have in many instances fallen short of this. While errors may occur from time to time, repeated errors of the same issue should not occur. Biased reports in favor of a specific group obviously tarnish AP’s reputation and its mission statement.


Only a lazy or intentionally biased journalist who doesn’t do his (or her) history homework would conclude his (her) writing about Taiwan by saying that “China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949…”

Dec 17, 12:11 AM EST
China to send pandas to Taiwan on Dec. 23
By GILLIAN WONG Associated Press Writer

new link:

Note: This link was the link for the report with the above title on Dec. 17th, but on Dec.22, the report below had replaced the above report by occupying the same link, why does AP do this? and the reporters are different by first names, what a coincident!

Dec 22, 4:13 AM EST
Heavy security for pandas' departure from China
By ANDY WONG Associated Press Writer

new link:

Note: This report was again replaced by the one below, using the same link.

Dec 23, 3:40 PM EST
China sends pandas to Taiwan in charm offensive
By PETER ENAV Associated Press Writer

new link:

“The delivery to Taiwan - more than three years in the making - comes amid rapidly improving relations between Taiwan and China, which split amid civil war in 1949.” and “His (meaning Ma’s) steps contrast sharply with predecessor Chen Shui-bian's efforts to emphasize Taiwan's political and cultural separateness, which enraged Beijing and prompted it to reaffirm long-standing threats to use military force against the democratic island it claims as its own.”

In all of the 3 reports mentioned above, Taiwan was presumed to be “together” with China by AP reporters, and “split amid civil war in 1949”, AP has never mentioned the fact that Taiwan was legally governed under the sovereignty of Japan since 1895.

Further, Enav stated that China’s deployment of missiles reaffirmed because Beijing was enraged by the stand of Taiwan’s former president Chen, so Taiwan was to be blamed for the expansion of China’s missile deployment. Can you believe this kind of logic? Why Taiwan’s “friendly” current president Ma failed to commit China to destroy all its missiles aimed at Taiwan?

Related background on whether China and Taiwan split in 1949:

“In 1949 Taiwan was under the technical sovereignty of Japan, and would remain so for another three years, until the San Francisco Peace Treaty went into effect. Taiwan had been a legal and undisputed possession of Japan since 1895. Prior to that, it had been [only] partly controlled by the Qing Dynasty [and even then, the part it controlled was only considered an actual province for 8 years], a foreign dynasty, and prior to that, a pirate holding and a Dutch possession. Taiwan and China never split, because Taiwan had never been part of China [either the ROC or the PRC]. Further, it wasn't Taiwan and China that split in 1949, but the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China. [Saying so falsely equates Taiwan with the ROC and/or the KMT.]” Read the entire text on Taiwan Matters!
“15. Conclusion: Japan held undisputed sovereignty over Formosa from 1895 to 1945. After Japan's defeat in war in 1945, Formosa's surrender was accepted and the island occupied by representatives of Chiang Kai-shek, as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the China Theatre. In 1951, Japan renounced sovereignty over the island without making provision for a transfer of sovereignty. The Treaty of Peace in which Japan renounced sovereignty over Formosa declared Japan's commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter, which includes a commitment to self-determination of peoples and which implicitly transferred sovereignty over the island to her inhabitants. In the absence of formal agreements regarding sovereignty over territory, current international law favours self-determination as the means of establishing sovereignty. No other agreement since the 1951 Treaty has clarified the issue of sovereignty over Formosa.” Read the entire text on Taiwan Document Project.

Related background on the diplomatic implication of accepting PRC’s panda offer:

“According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, pandas can only travel in China. When Taiwan accepts two pandas from China, does that imply that the Ma government accepts the notion that Taiwan is part of China? How can he state that he will not budge an inch on sovereignty, but actually take risky action which might give China the wrong impression?” Read the entire text on “Questions for the media” of the 2008-11-05 Taipeitimes letter to the editor.
“In 2005 mainland China offered two pandas (later named Tuantuan & Yuanyuan, meaning "Unity") to Taiwan (Republic of China) during KMT (then opposition) party leader Lien Chan's visit to China. While the idea was popular with the Taiwanese public, Taiwanese Prime Minister Frank Hsieh said his Democratic Progressive Party government was unlikely to accept because to do so would acknowledge the PRC's "one China" position.[5] China maintains that because Taiwan is part of China, the pandas are a "domestic transfer" and the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species does not apply.” and “On March 31, 2006, Taiwan rejected the offer, with Deputy Director Lee Tao-sheng (李桃生) of the Agricultural Council explaining that Pandas, as endangered species are better left within their natural habitat and that the animals could not receive the required care on the subtropical island.[6]” Read the entire text on Panda Diplomacy of the wikipedia.

This justified the main reason why former DPP government had not accepted the pandas because it realized that the issue of sovereignty was to be determined by Taiwan’s 23 million people, further, the former president understood that he was president for all the people in Taiwan. The current president, on contrast, ignored the rest of the people who didn't vote for him and cared only about his own political agenda.

But all Peter Enav could come up with is the previous DPP government’s bureaucratic obstacles as he stated “The offer to send Yuan Yuan and Tuan Tuan to Taiwan was first made in 2005 when the pro-independence Chen was still in charge. Citing various bureaucratic obstacles, his government rejected it, but after Ma's inauguration in May, the way was cleared to reverse that decision.”

Enav totally ignored the reasons of consideration for panda’s better living condition in its natural environment, and China’s plot to use panda to take advantage of the sovereignty issue.

While Enav concluded his report by stating that “While most Taiwanese support Ma's panda stand and his overall policy of greater China engagement, they still reject unity with the mainland, seeing it as a direct threat to their hard-won democratic freedoms.”, he has failed to observe that Taiwan’s alternative media, Social Force, has reported the disapproval of Ma’s panda stand due to the fact that the unemployment rate has been increasing since Ma took office, and many people actually prefer the reallocation of budget from caring for pandas to rescuing the needy families of unemployed. “台北市政府欠繳勞健保費總額超700億元,馬英九沒道理不追還這些款項、還要讓台北市政府用來養熊貓!我們可以請小學生來做個簡單的算數問題:請問拿回台北市政府欠款700億元,養活50.7萬個失業的勞工家庭半年,每個家庭可分多少?” as stated in the link.

Related Background on panda import policy of US Fish & Wildlife Service:

“The primary goal of the policy is to ensure that permitted activities will directly contribute to the survival and recovery of the wild panda population. To accomplish this goal, the Service will review an application to determine that it is a proposal for scientific research, enhancing the sustainability of the captive population, and contributing to the recovery of pandas in the wild.” Read the entire text on Giant Panda Policy Questions & Answers or summarized as follows:

Under the policy, permits can be issued for the following:

Scientific research if the research is directly linked and will contribute to the recovery of pandas in the wild.
A combination of both research and conservation activities that enhance the survival of the species.

Before the Service can issue a permit, it must make the following findings under CITES and the ESA:

Import is not for primarily commercial purposes.
Purpose of the import is not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild.
Importer has facilities and expertise to care for the pandas.
Purpose of the import is consistent with the ESA (i.e., for scientific research or for the enhancement of the survival or propagation of the species—purposes which benefit the panda in the wild).
Import will not jeopardize panda populations in the wild.

Obviously, both China and its pursuer Ma both see panda diplomacy more important than the preservation of pandas. The above strict rules for import / export are not been practiced by either side. So what can Taipei city zoo contribute to the enhancement of the protection of wild panda population? Perhaps not much. However, more money collected from zoo visitors could be channeled through to China, so China can build more missiles to aim at Taiwan.

Related Background on panda profit by PRC:

The Critics question China's worldwide panda profit April 5 2003
“China is capitalising on panda power, reports Audra Ang, at Wolong research centre.” , “Critics have complained that the "rent-a-panda" operation made big profits for some zoos without boosting efforts to save wild pandas.” , and “America prohibited panda imports for five years during the 1990s but lifted the ban in 1998 after the US and Chinese governments agreed to avoid lending pandas for purely commercial purposes.”, Read the entire text

A final word:

Only Taipei City, the strong-hold of the governing KMT party, may welcome China’s pair of 4-year old Pandas. People in other parts of Taiwan just don’t feel the same, neither from the wildlife protection point of view, nor from the sovereignty point of view. Southerners in Taiwan will joke about the unfortunate choice of names for the pair, because the sounds could also mean “Tuan Tuan” (斷斷meaning break break), and “Yuan Yuan” (遠遠 meaning faraway faraway). I bet the Chinese officials who gave the panda pair their names haven’t thought about this yet.

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