Slanted Time reporting on Taiwan's UN bid
Kathleen Kingsbury’s piece “Taiwan’s War of Words with the U.S.” published in the Sept. 17 issue of Time magazine was replete with the one-sidedness and bias of the kind that Robert Fisk (Pity the Nation, The Great War for Civilization), Edward Said (Covering Islam), Richard Falk and Howard Friel (Israel-Palestine on the Record) have deplored in reporting on the Middle East. Not only does it completely fail to provide counterarguments to the overtly pro-Beijing position, but its portrayal is entirely predicated on the views of an old Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) hand past his prime as well as on recent comments by a handful of US administration officials who, despite their rhetoric, can hardly be said to be democracy’s best.
The allusion of Taiwan as a child used in the article plays right into Beijing’s hands, which has always portrayed Taiwan as a youngling that needs to be smacked (as are the Palestinians in the equally biased reporting on their struggle). It is disheartening to see that an otherwise reputable magazine like Time would choose to treat a democracy as an unreasonable child while painting a repressive authoritarian regime as a responsible father figure.
The voices of millions of Taiwanese and their supporters all over the world were completely silenced by the report, an omission — intended or otherwise — that can only but harm a worthy and by no means lost cause.
The article also contains a few inconsistencies regarding Taiwan and the UN. First, while a vote did take place at the UN to give the People’s Republic of China (PRC) a seat in 1971, the Republic of China (ROC) was not expelled; Chiang Kai-shek pulled the ROC out of the UN because he could not stand dual PRC-ROC representation in the world body.
Secondly, Kingsbury writes that “Taiwan has tried — and failed — to regain membership,” (my italics) in the UN, which would mean that (a) at one point in the past Taiwan (not the ROC) was a member of the UN; and (b) that given (a), Taiwan must be a country, as membership (which it is trying to regain) is contingent on that precondition being met.
Time would do itself and its readers a great service by publishing a corrective on the matter, one that tells the other side of the story.