EMILY ROCHA WRITES – Media coverage of the recent monumental meeting between Chinese and Taiwanese presidents differs between the two states, as each attempts to push their own agenda.
On November 7, in Singapore, a historic handshake between the Beijing and Taipai leaders occurred, the first since the declaration of the People’s Republic of China during Chinese revolution in the late 1940s. But just as the men refused to acknowledge the official title of the other, rather referring to one another as “mister” rather than “president,” the Chinese and Taiwanese coverage offered nearly opposite perspectives of the encounter.
The Chinese media, including Xinhua News Agency, the Global Times, and the People’s Daily, wrote in support of their president’s efforts in meeting with the elected leader of Taiwan, stating that unification between the two states is “[President] Xi’s ‘Chinese dream,’” along with a demonstration of China’s commitment to regional stability, development and peace. Additionally, the state-aligned media argued that the meeting was an example of China’s ability to problem solve, especially with an issue as old as Taiwan. Said outlets used this interaction as an opportunity to propagandize an imagined newfound “unity” with Taiwan. Interviews conducted by Xinhua News Agency of Taiwanese businesspersons and students expressed a massive yearning for reconciliation with the Chinese mainland.
By contrast, articles published in free Taiwanese papers expressed concern and criticism over the Singapore event. Apple Daily, which is regarded as one of the only independent papers in its country, condemned their President Ma for not expressing the democratic, and independent, nature of Taiwan, therefore undermining these values altogether. Taiwanese persons expressed contempt over the meeting via social media, altogether threatening to vote the governing party out of power when election season comes. Taiwan President’s cannot be re-elected after serving two terms, the Constitutional-max; and of course China’s president is not an official elected by the people.