Taiwan protests to UN for `misinforming’ exhibit

From the Taipei Times:

Sunday, Aug 14, 2005,Page 3

Taiwan on Friday protested to the UN for naming the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as one of the world body’s founding members in a 60th anniversary exhibit.

Taipei’s representative in New York, Andrew Hsia (夏立言), wrote to Shashi Tharoor, the undersecretary-general for public information, accusing the UN of “blatantly deviating from history and misinforming the world.”

The Republic of China (ROC) — later known as Taiwan — was the government in power in China at the end of World War II and one of five powers that began the process of creating the UN, which was founded in 1945.

Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) communist forces forced the government to flee to the island of Taiwan in 1949, and communist China was awarded the Chinese seat at the UN in 1971.

Hsia protested because an exhibition at UN headquarters on its 60th anniversary includes a poster with names of the 51 countries that signed the UN Charter on June 26, 1945. The People’s Republic of China was named one of them.

“I hope that this mistake has been unintentional and ask for your prompt attention and action to have it corrected,” Hsia said.

The other UN founders were the US, the Soviet Union, France and the UK.

Notice that the article says “The Republic of China (ROC) — later known as Taiwan .” Despite a recent movement to change the name, this country is in fact still officially known as the Republic of China. It is known as Taiwan almost universally in informal circumstances, but the article’s wording implies that an official name change has taken place.

This article is apparently a product of the German wire service, Deutsche Press-Agentur. Unfortunately, unlike similar American services, it is subscriber only, and there is no way for me to check and see if the original article contains this statement or if it is a result of editing by the customer (the Taipei Times).

The Taipei Times, as the English language sister newspaper to the pro-independence Chinese language daily Liberty Times, is itself unabashedly pro-independence. While I generally sympathize with their politics, they do seem to have a history of playing a bit loose with the facts when it serves their political ends-a tendency that leaves me less than 100% trusting of their coverage. Bias may be appropriate in the editorial pages of a newspaper, and even in choice and manner of events covered, but I simply don’t believe that publishing genuinely misleading copy is helpful in the long run.

Does anybody out there have access to the DPA news feed, who could find the original unedited version of this article?

I should of course mention that the factual basis of the article would be pro-Taiwan enough without this manipulative phrase. It is absolutely true that it was the Republic of China, and not the People’s Republic of China, that was a founding member of the UN, and it is irresponsible of the UN to put out such incorrect information.