China's foreign ministry spokesperson says Taiwan is China's as there are Chinese restaurants in Taipei


Kayla Wong | August 08, 2022, 06:09 PM

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Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying is used to defending her country's stance publicly.

Besides speaking at regular press conferences in Beijing, she's an avid user of Twitter, the American social media platform that's banned in China, to project her views on how the world should see China.

But perhaps she most often tweets in response to comments made by other countries on China, with the most recent example being her row of tweets that rejected U.S. claims that China has overreacted to U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

In no fewer than eight tweets, she expressed her view that the U.S. is "complicit" in Pelosi's visit, and therefore must "accept all responsibility and consequences" -- despite the U.S. legislature being a separate branch of government that is coequal with the executive, which means Biden is essentially unable to control Pelosi's travel plans.

She then brought up the "century of humiliation" that China suffered under the hands of Western power and Imperial Japan from the mid 1800s, saying that China will never allow "bandits to bully and plunder" the country again.

Flawed reasoning

Most recently, Hua took to Twitter again to reiterate Beijing's official position that Taiwan is an "inalienable part of China" -- even though the Chinese Communist Party has never once controlled the island.

Affixing two screenshots of Baidu Maps that show the area around the National Palace Museum in Taipei, which has a concentration of restaurants that specialise in Shandong and Shanxi, Hua said that because of these restaurants, Taiwan is a part of China.

"Palates don't cheat... The long lost child will eventually return home," she added.

Chen Weihua, the EU bureau chief of China Daily, a state-owned English-language newspaper, chimed in as well, saying that many streets in Taipei are named after Chinese mainland cities and provinces.

"Tsai and her DPP cohorts cannot fool people," he said.

Hit by a deluge of counterexamples

Hua's tweet has prompted several replies that pointed out the presence of the many American fast food restaurants in China, which would make China -- going by Hua's logic -- a territory that belongs to the U.S.

Yet another user pointed out that there are Taiwanese restaurants in Beijing as well, such as a restaurant that's named after Lukang, a town Changhua county.

A Twitter user also asked if she has been to London, presumably referring to the thousands of Indian restaurants in London and the UK.

And it goes on, you get the drift.

Food not an indicator of international relations

Pointing out the fallacies in Hua's argument, Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia Program at the American think tank German Marshall Fund, said that many Americans like Chinese food, but polls have shown increasingly unfavourable opinions towards China -- therefore establishing the irrelevance of using food as anย  argument for something as complex as political sentiments.

She also posited that despite Beijing's efforts in promoting economic interdependence -- at least before Beijing slapped a number of de facto trade sanctions on Taiwan as part of a series of punitive measures -- political integration between the two separate entities has not been achieved. And nor would cuisine be able to accomplish that, she added.

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Top image via China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Hua Chunying/Twitter