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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Big Lie: Sun Moon Lake Cycling and Other Links


If you repeat a lie...

Taiwan Today had a recent article detailing the Merida cycling event at Sun Moon Lake. I made the observation that this event seemed suspiciously linked to a CNN-GO article and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau's desire to promote it. The Taiwan Today article actually and suspiciously mirrors and even quotes the CNN article's most erroneous statements, which I devoured in an earlier post HERE.

Sun Moon Lake, a natural alpine lake located in central Taiwan’s Nantou County, is surrounded by high forest mountains with stunning landscapes. The lake—named because its eastern part is round like the sun and its western part is narrow and long like a crescent moon—has been voted year after year by local and foreign visitors, including those from mainland China, as one of Taiwan’s must-see tourist spots.
Statistics from the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration show that the number of visitors skyrocketed from 2.6 million in 2009 to 6.3 million in 2010, after the launch of a cable car service Dec. 28, 2009. The service became an instant hit as it offers a bird’s-eye view of the lake’s beauty in a relaxing 1.87-kilometer ride between the lake and the nearby Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village.
In 2011, the number of visitors declined slightly to 5.3 million. But the administrative office is confident that its efforts over the past few years in building a round-the-lake bikeway will soon spark another tourism boom, as hundreds and thousands of bicycle enthusiasts from around the world come flocking to the lake to indulge their passion for bicycling and soak in the beautiful local scenery.
The TT Article begins to look more like an attempt by Tourism Bureau underlings to toady up to their superiors.



Bike Radar has an interesting piece that briefly mentions Taiwan. Sadly, the writer buys into the tired old Cold War tropes perpetuated by competing groups of Chinese nationalists in the CCP and the Kuomintang (KMT).
On a clear day you can see Taiwan from the coast. China and Taiwan are inextricably linked and their differences not so old as to be forgotten. Xiamen has a huge sign facing across the water that says ‘Two countries, one system’, essentially a declaration of friendship. Taiwan also has a sign, visible from Xiamen with binoculars, which says ‘Two countries, two systems’. Direct flights between the two places only began in the last two years, and there are many big military bases in the hills around Xiamen. Despite that, China and Taiwan are trade partners on a massive scale.
This is notion is purely the invention of the writer's own China fantasy. From Xiamen you might be able to see the island of Jinmen (Kinmen), which is under the administration of the Republic of China; the official name of the state governing Taiwan. Still, it is NOT Taiwan. This is a oft repeated misconception employed to create the illusion of closer geographic proximity and, in the hopes of Chinese nationalists, possibly closer political proximity. This same strategy was used by Japan's colonial government on Taiwan, which published maps of Taiwan to include Mt. Fuji and the Home Islands resting just on the northern horizon.

Moreover, the idea that Taiwan and China are "inexorably linked" is a simple construct that stands as firm as the claim that Taiwan is inexorably linked to Japan, The United States, The Netherlands, the Balkans, the Azores or any other location. It all depends on subjectivities and how you wish to politicize them.  

The repetition of these flimsy ideas are maddening. I wish it would stop.

  • Mark Caltonhill has written a wonderfully detailed piece on cycling the Rift Valley. If you are considering biking Taiwan's lovely East Coast, give this a read.
  • Paul Sharpe has just started putting his pictures and write-up on his trip around Taiwan a couple months back. Wonderful photos. Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6... with more to come. If you are considering biking around Taiwan, check this out. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the back links Andrew - much appreciated