Band leader plays Taiwan anthem at China event

Band leader plays Taiwan anthem at China event
Bevin Chu
February 08, 2007

Above all it is essential to refer to things by their correct names. If things are not referred to by their correct names, then our language will not reflect reality. If our language does not reflect reality, then our actions will not reflect reality, and will be exercises in futility.
— Confucius, The Analects, Chapter 13, Verse 3


As the following “News Bizarre” news story unwittingly demonstrates, Confucius was right.


The News Bizarre: Band leader plays Taiwan [sic] anthem at [mainland] China event

The News Bizarre
Feb. 7, 2007, 10:08AM
Band leader plays Taiwan anthem at China event

By MICHAEL BASCOMBE
Associated Press

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada — The leader of a Grenadian police band that performed Taiwan’s [sic] national anthem at the inauguration of a [mainland] China-financed stadium has been temporarily relieved of his music duties, an official said Tuesday.

Inspector Bryan Hurst will not lead the Royal Grenada Police Band while investigators determine how his ensemble came to play the anthem of Taiwan [sic] instead of its rival to open the $40 million Queen’s Park stadium on Saturday, according to police spokesman Troy Garvey.

Garvey said the inquiry into the diplomatic gaffe will “utilize all the resources” of the Caribbean island’s national force and that Police Commissioner Winston James was expected to formally apologize to Chinese Ambassador Qian Hongshan.

Qian and scores of blue-uniformed Chinese laborers who built the stadium were visibly uncomfortable as Taiwan’s anthem [sic] reverberated inside the 20,000-seat venue, which will host matches during the cricket World Cup beginning next month.

Chinese Embassy officials did not immediately return calls for comment on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Chinese delegation did not attend a reception hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for foreign dignitaries Monday evening.

China and Taiwan split in 1949 amid a civil war, and Beijing claims the democratically run island is a renegade province that should not have diplomatic ties with other countries.

[correction: This is a stock phrase among the mainstream media, which reflexively cuts and pastes it into every news article ever written on cross Straits relations. As readers of The China Desk know, it is both biased and inaccurate. An unbiased and accurate description would be: “The mainland region and Taiwan region of China fell under the control of rival Chinese governments in 1949 amid a still unresolved Chinese Civil War. Beijing claims that its rival in Taipei is no longer the rightful government of China, and should not have diplomatic ties with other countries.”]

The Asian rivals [correction: Chinese rivals] have both campaigned aggressively to win the allegiance of Caribbean nations. Grenada switched diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China [correction: “from Taipei to Beijing”] in 2005.

Comment: The mainstream media reporter who covered this story just doesn’t get it. Even after investigating this tempest in a teacup and writing it up, he still doesn’t understand why Inspector Bryan Hurst of the Royal Grenada Police Band mistakenly played the wrong anthem.

The band leader played the wrong anthem, and the AP reporter assumed that the band leader’s understandable error merited inclusion under “News Bizarre,” because the mainstream media has failed in its professional responsibility to refer to things by their correct names.

As Confucius sagely noted, “If things are not referred to by their correct names, then our language will not reflect reality. If our language does not reflect reality, then our actions will not reflect reality, and will be exercises in futility.”

Allow me to make a wild guess about what happened.

The mainstream media chronically and habitually refers to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as “China,” and the Republic of China (ROC) as “Taiwan.”

As I have complained time and again, this is wrong, wrong, wrong!

Whether the mainstream media insists on doing this out of plain ignorance or sheer malice depends on the mainstream media “professional” in question. The fact remains that virtually all of the mainstream English language media persists in doing so.

The result of the mainstream media’s unprofessional semantic sloppiness, whether ignorant or malicious, is widespread confusion about the actual relationship between the PRC and the ROC.

In fact, China’s current situation is nearly identical to that of East and West Germany prior to German reunification.

What most people referred to as “East Germany” was in fact the German Democratic Republic. What most people referred to as “West Germany” was in fact the Federal Republic of Germany.

Similarly, what many people sloppily refer to as “Taiwan” is in fact the Republic of China. What many people sloppily refer to as “China” is in fact the People’s Republic of China.

Those who know China know that mainland China and Taiwan are both part of China. China has two rival governments. One is the ROC government in Taipei, the other is the PRC government in Beijing.

The ROC government’s current jurisdiction is limited to Taiwan, but that does not mean therefore that “Taiwan = a nation.” The PRC government’s current jurisdiction is limited to mainland China, but that does not mean therefore that “mainland China = China.”

Mainland China is not China. Mainland China without Taiwan is not China, it is merely part of China, the bulk of China.

Likewise, mainland Australia is not Australia. Australia without Tasmania is not Australia, it is merely part of Australia, the bulk of Australia.

The band leader was almost certainly misled by Taiwan independence media spin control, knowingly propagated by a fellow traveler mainstream media, into believing that “mainland China is China, and Taiwan is Taiwan.”


Not so subtle mainstream media attempt to abet Taiwanese secession by applying a different color to the Taiwan region of China. Even the lettering for “TAIWAN” is in DPP green!

The hapless band leader dutifully obtained the sheet music for the “National Anthem of the Republic of China,” assuming it was the “National Anthem of the People’s Republic of China.”

He committed this error because Taiwan independence media spin control, abetted by Taiwan independence fellow travelers within the mainstream media, misled him into assuming that any anthem with the word “China” in it, could only be the anthem for the People’s Republic of China, rather than the anthem for the Republic of China.

He committed this error because, thanks to the mainstream media, he probably didn’t even know that there was such a thing as the Republic of China. He probably believed, as the DPP would like him to, that there is such a thing as a sovereign and independent nation named Taiwan.

See:
An All Too Common Mistake
East and West Germany, East and West China

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