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Warum diese Zeitschrift nicht spannend, aber wichtig war

Vielleicht haben Sie es mitbekommen: Eine Taiwan-Ära auf Deutsch ist dieses Jahr zu Ende gegangen. Die Zeitschrift „Taiwan heute“, herausgegeben von der Regierung in Taipeh, gibt es nicht mehr.

2014-12-22 18.48.06

Über 25 Jahre lang hatte „Taiwan heute“ über alle Aspekte des Lebens in Taiwan berichtet (mehr …)

Bei mir hatte Sean Lien schon gewonnen

Nun hat Taiwan also gewählt, und auch wenn es nur Lokalwahlen waren, haben sie das politische Gesicht des Landes verändert. Und zwar so:

Taiwan Election Results 2014 Before and After15* Städte und Kreise waren bislang blau, also von der Kuomintang (KMT) regiert. Künftig werden es noch sechs sein.

Verloren hat die KMT: (mehr …)

Let’s talk about Taiwan on YouTube

If you are interested in Taiwan and spent any time on YouTube recently, you probably noticed some very popular videos in which foreigners share their opinions about Taiwan, for example „Taiwanese Girls Are Not Easy“ or „Taiwan’s Unreasonable Working Conditions“.

These videos are not only massively successful, they also offer perspectives on a lot of interesting questions. So who is the person behind this new voice in Taiwan’s social media sphere? I decided to find out and ask him why he is doing it.

Although this guy is the face of many of Stop Kiddin‘ Studio’s most viewed videos, he is not the director.

American Taiwan Youtube Guy

Responsible for the videos is 30-year-old Johnny Chiang, a Taipei native who recently (mehr …)

How Taiwan president Ma addressed the foreign press

The other day, the Taiwan Foreign Correspondents‘ Club welcomed President Ma Ying-jeou to an international press conference. All members had the right to raise questions. After asking you, dear readers, I decided on one that I found especially important. Watch how Ma replied.

Cardboard President Ma

(No, this is not the real Ma on the photo. It’s a cardboard version at the Presidential Office. Although I would love to ask him if he likes my Doraemon shirt.)

Human rights in Taiwan: Suggestions that must not be forgotten

The question I decided to ask had been suggested in a comment by David Reid, an Australian blogger with a long interest in Taiwan.

It’s about the state of human rights in Taiwan and the government’s promise to voluntarily reach UN standards. Taiwan has ratified the United Nations‘ human rights conventions, even though it cannot be a UN member. To show they are serious, the government in early 2013 invited an international group of reknown human rights scholars to review Taiwan’s first Human Rights Report and draw up suggestions on how to improve.

Human rights: Nowak, Wu, Ma

I met with the experts in Taipei. They told me that they were basically simulating an official UN Human Rights Council assessment, and that they had direct access to all kinds of civil rights groups during the process, taking their suggestions and complaints into account. They said they never had a comparable opportunity anywhere else, since usually the official UN assessments take place in Geneva and not on the ground. They praised the open and transparent way in which the Taiwanese government had structured the process.

Still, they did come up with a long list of suggestions (82 points) where Taiwan should revise its laws and regulations to better adhere to internationally accepted human rights standards, as laid out in the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

You can download the complete Concluding Observations and Recommendations at the Ministry of Justice’s website. There, you’ll also find more background information.

Some time has passed since then, so I decided the time was right to find out what the government plans to do now, or if the list is going to end up in some office drawer. Also, I wanted to take the opportunity and remind my reporter colleagues of the subject.

So when, unexpectedly, I had the opportunity to ask Ma the very first question at the press conference, this was it:

Mr. President, earlier this year your government has invited a group of international human rights experts to come to Taiwan and review the human rights situation in Taiwan. They came up with a list of more than 80 suggestions on how to bring Taiwan’s laws more into line with international human rights standards. Very detailed. My question is: Which of those suggestions will you implement in the near future?

This is how the president replied (video):

As I somehow expected, Ma evaded mentioning any specific measures or areas with a need for improvement. He is media-savvy political professional, after all, and (like German chancellor Merkel), these guys really know how to duck questions they don’t want to answer.

Still, what I am taking away from his answer is:

  • Ma is familiar with the subject and was immediately able to come up with some relevant numbers and data
  • There will be an implementation report at some point in the future that I am looking forward to

Ask English, reply Chinese: The complete Q&A

After my first question, the Q&A went on. Ma, however, realized that despite his English ability, which is usually regarded as excellent, the original plan was to answer all questions in Chinese. So mine was the only question that got an English answer.

After he had originally been very fond of giving English interviews to the international press, Ma adopted this strategy after he felt being misquoted in an Associated Press interview in 2010.

Watch more videos of Ma Ying-jeou speaking English

So this is how the rest of the event played out. Most reporters focussed on Ma’s China policy and subjects like peace talks, political negotiations, military threats, and the trade and services agreement with China. However, there were also questions about gay marriage and Taiwan’s energy and nuclear policy.

You can jump directly to each question using the links in the video description.

Read more about the human rights reports

These are some texts I wrote about the human rights experts‘ visit to Taiwan:

About me

I am a German reporter living and working in Taiwan. Read more English posts on this otherwise mostly German blog. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, and Google Plus.

English posts you might want to have a look at:

Anything you want to know from Taiwan’s president?

On Friday morning, President Ma Ying-jeou will give an English press conference for the Taiwan Foreign Correspondents‘ Club. Like all members, I will have the chance to ask him one question. What would you suggest?

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou

What do you want me to ask Ma Ying-jeou?

Please leave a comment with your suggestion.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Only serious suggestions. I will not publish anything else here.
  • No arguing. I am only interested in suggestions.
  • Not too uncritical. Even if you like the man or his politics, I believe that journalists should always have a critical attitude towards those in power. Also, it would be a wasted opportunity.

    Negative example:
    „President Ma, please explain how you will improve the relations with Beijing even more.“

  • Not insulting or confrontative. Even if you dislike the man or his politics, he is a duly elected head of state, and foreign media ought to respect his status.

    Negative example:
    „President Ma, don’t you agree you should step down, since you obviously lost the public’s support?“

  • Not too predictable. Ma is a seasoned professional when it comes to dealing with media, and you can be sure that he has a lot of stock answers prepared in the back of his head.

    Negative example:
    „President Ma, there are people who accuse you of selling out Taiwan. How would you reply to these accusations?“

  • Not too long. Everyone only has 30 seconds to ask his question.

Your comments will appear after I’ve approved of them. No need to post more than once.

What then?

I will take all suggestions into consideration and then try to ask Ma the question I find most interesting on Friday morning.

Please note: There is no guarantee that I can actually ask a question. The whole event is limited to an hour, and the moderator will select questions through a show of hands. There will probably not be enough time for everyone to ask.

In any case, I will try to post a video of the whole press conference as soon as possible.

„We are an independent country“ *

Over the years, I’ve seen Ma Ying-jeou address the foreign press in English on at least five occasions.

Ma last addressed the Taiwan Foreign Correspondents‘ Club in 2010. Back then, I filmed this video with a key quote:

It was even featured on an Al Jazeera program in the run-up to Taiwan’s 2012 presidential elections.

(* Note that Ma carefully says „we“ and not „Taiwan“, so he probably means the Republic of China. Nothing spectacularly new in this statement, really.)

More videos of Ma Ying-jeou speaking English

2012, international press conference ahead of the presidential elections (video):

2013, welcoming a group of international human rights experts (video):

What did the scholars say about Taiwan’s human rights situation?

About me

I am a German reporter living and working in Taiwan. Read more English posts on this otherwise mostly German blog. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, and Google Plus.

English posts you might want to have a look at:

Warum Taiwan keine „abtrünnige Provinz“ ist

Auf der deutschen Huffington Post habe ich mir heute den Frust von der Seele geschrieben – den Frust über die deutsche Taiwan-Politik. Da gilt nämlich viel zu oft: Taiwaner müssen draußen bleiben.

Wenn Sie über die Huffington Post den Weg hierher gefunden haben: Herzlich wilkommen! Sehen Sie sich ganz in Ruhe um. Falls Sie mit Taiwan noch nicht vertraut sind, könnte mein kurzer Abriss zur Geschichte Taiwans bzw. der Republik China interessant sein.

Soldaten der Republik China in Taipeh

Ich möchte die Gelegenheit nutzen, um hier einige Begriffe aufzulisten, die in deutschen Medien häufig in Verbindung mit Taiwan gebraucht werden – leider. Aus dem einen oder anderen Grund sollte man sie lieber auf den Phrasen-Müllhaufen verbannen.

Taiwan-Phrase #1: „Abtrünnige Provinz“

Warum nicht?

Die Volksrepublik China betrachtet Taiwan nicht als „abtrünnige Provinz“ oder „renegade province“. Auch, wenn die Medien immer wieder auf diese griffige Floskel zurückgreifen: Mir konnte noch niemand eine Quelle zeigen, in der die chinesische Seite sie verwendet. Sie muss also als Medien-Erfindung gelten.

Was dann?

China nennt Taiwan gern einen „unabtrennbaren Bestandteil des chinesischen Territoriums“.

Taiwan-Phrase #2: „Abgespalten“

Warum nicht?

Taiwans hat sich nach dem Ende des Chinesischen Bürgerkriegs 1949 nicht „abgespalten“. Die unterlegene Regierung der 1911/12 gegründeten Republik China zog sich mit den Resten der Armee und dem gesamten Staatsapparat nach Taiwan zurück. In der Folge beschränkte ihr Herrschaftsgebiet sich auf Taiwan und einige Inselgruppen.

Was dann?

Wahrscheinlich wäre es korrekter, zu sagen: Die Volksrepublik China hat sich von der Republik China abgespalten.

Taiwan-Phrase #3: „Staatsgründer Chiang Kai-shek“

Warum nicht?

Chiang Kai-shek hat keinen Staat gegründet. Nicht die Republik China, denn die bestand schon lange, bevor er sich nach Taiwan zurückzog. Und ganz bestimmt keinen Staat „Taiwan“. Den gibt es offiziell sowieso nicht.

Taiwan-Phrase #4: „Wiedervereinigung“

Warum nicht?

Was sich wiedervereinigt, muss ja schon mal vereinigt gewesen sein. Taiwan ist aber nie von der Volksrepublik kontrolliert worden. Und eine „Wiedervereinigung“ von Volksrepublik und Republik China würde bestimmt nicht auf Augenhöhe stattfinden. Peking würde die Bezeichnung „Republik China“ weder anerkennen noch die Bezeichnung der Volksrepublik ändern.

Was dann?

„Vereinigung“ oder „Anschluss“.

Taiwan-Phrase #5: „Das andere China“

Warum nicht?

„Anderes China“, „freies China“, „kleines China“… bequeme Medienfloskeln, die vermeintlich Vieles in Kürze auf den Punkt bringen, tatsächlich aber die komplexe Realität verkleistern. Zwar besteht auf Taiwan offiziell noch die „Republik China“, aber die Menschen hier sind sich selbst überhaupt nicht einig, was das denn nun bedeutet. Manche lehnen die Bezeichnung rundweg ab, andere bezeichnen sich als Taiwaner und als Chinesen. Nur eine Minderheit sieht in Taiwan nach wie vor nicht mehr als einen kleinen Bestandteil der (eigentlich) großen Republik China.

Was dann?

„Das demokratische Land“, „Die Inseldemokratie“, „Taiwan“

Also, wenn Sie mal wieder einen Medienbericht über Taiwan lesen: Achten Sie darauf, wie viele Floskeln Sie entdecken können.

(Nachtrag: Ja, wer fleißig Google anschmeißt, findet vielleicht auch in meinen eigenen Berichten solche Negativbeispiele. In mindestens einem Fall hat die Redaktion es mir nachträglich reingeschrieben. Die anderen habe ich verdrängt. Man lernt im Lauf der Zeit ja auch dazu.)

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