Archive for July 27th, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Regent Street Flag Incident: Taiwanese Press Review

CNA [July 27]

[Reacting to] the pushed removal of the Republic of China’s flag at London’s Regent Street, former ROC Vice President Vincent Siew said that if cross-strait relations should continue to relax and improve, Taiwan needed to be treated reasonably within the international community, and not be unjustifiably suppressed.



Siew told this CNA reporter in London that he only learned about this matter after he landed in London on Wednesday. Cross-strait relations had relaxed and improved over the past few years. If this should be further implemented, Taiwan should not be unjustifiably suppressed in the international community. Compatriots expected a display of good intentions.


He said that the British media had covered the issue broadly, and hoped that the British people and the international community would attach importanc to and understand the feelings of the Taiwanese about the change of the flag. The straightforward way Taiwan’s representative in Britain, Shen Lyushun, had handled the issue also deserved praise.



CNA / Radio Taiwan International (RTI) [July 27]


Vincent Siew and his wife are attending today’s opening ceremony at the invitation of Acer company, one of the sponsors of the game, and will also watch competitions and visit sporting venues during their stay.


UDN[July 28]

Concerning the Republic of China flag which was removed at Regent Street, people at home and abroad have started patriotic flag movements, and president Ma instructed the foreign ministry to explore the issue. Foreign-ministry spokesperson Hsia Chi-chang [Steve Hsia] said that this [the removal of the flag] was the spontaneous decision of the [Regent Street] business people. The foreign ministry would continue to communicate and explain, and strive for the flag to be put back, and also to be flown at other appropriate places in London.


Concerning the photos of the flag in Regent Street, compatriots and tourists had taken photos during the past days, and started a patriotic movement. Presidential spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi said that president Ma was touched. Fan Chiang Tai-chi said that the flag’s removal by business people in London and the entire issue’s situation weren’t clear yet. President Ma had instructed the foreign ministry to explore, and if it was confirmed that the issue was related to pressure from mainland China, this would be no helpful development, and our side would express its serious and principled position to mainland China.


Fan Chiang Tai-chi said that in recent years, cross-strait relations had gradually relaxed, and [the presidential office] had promoted “flexible diplomacy” which had opened windows of opportunity and led to some concrete effects which hadn’t been feasible before. However, the problems of previous decades could not be solved overnight, and the future would continue to hold many problems that needed to be overcome. This was precisely why the [presidential] office would continue to exert efforts on broadening [Taiwan’s] international space.


CNA (English) —[July 27]

[…] Meanwhile, former opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said on her Facebook page that she hopes the Taiwan government would be more proactive in its handling of the matter so China would learn the importance of mutual respect.

If China continues to alienate and humiliate the Taiwanese people, no one will benefit from a buildup of negative emotions, she said.



» ROC Flag removed, July 24, 2012


Friday, July 27, 2012

London Olympics: the, umm, correct flag …

If there is something remarkable about the Taiwanese / Republic of China flag in Regent Street, and the way it was removed, it’s that all kinds of stakeholders were discussing it – except those who, allegedly, reportedly, took offense, i. e. the Chinese embassy in London. According to AFP, the Chinese embassy did not respond to repeated requests to comment.

It’s probably a wise move that the Taiwanese president – if at all – wants the issue to be raised with China, rather than with Britain. Let the Chinese antagonize at least some in the European public, and don’t antagonize the European public against Taiwan – by calling us out on our servile efforts to please Beijing, for example. That would make us very angry, wouldn’t it?

But as Europeans, and among ourselves, we should look at the incident, feel ashamed, and try to improve.

What strikes me about as much our embarrassment to see a free country’s flag in a highstreet is an apparent online trend to react to symbolic incidents, rather than to real trends. I mean, this blog had only seen modest traffic since early summer. It’s the same every year; once summer has arrived on the northern half of the globe, clicks go down.

But once I had posted about the flag removal on Regent Street on Tuesday, traffic skyrocketed.

Not entirely surprisingly though – after all, there wasn’t much coverage during the first one or two days, except by the BBC‘s Mandarin service. But the way the internet public gets excited – or bored – also suggests that the global village isn’t really interested in politics, not even where it ostensibly talks politics most of the time.

Among a European public, the story doesn’t sell. Stories like these tell us more about our moral weaknesses than we want to hear.

A guy called Mitt Romney” who apparently managed to hurt the feelings of some, many, or no Londoners seemed to matter much more.

The BBC‘s English website does mention the Chinese “intervention”, however, even if only as a footnote here:

London 2012 organisers said the business association behind the display decided to put up the “correct flag… the one used for Olympic Games”.

But they could have decided to keep the actual flag up there, too.

Or couldn’t they? Maybe the answer to the question follows one paragraph further down:

A global investment conference in London kicked off a series of business summits intended to showcase the UK …

That’s where the symbolism ends, and real life begins. If you believe that the Olympic Games are about sports, think again.



» The Sporting Spirit,, accessed July 27, 2012


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