Lin Huai-min on Taiwan's papers, and their business strategies

Via LfC (simplified Chinese), and the 99th (traditional Chinese), Lin Huai-min, the founder of the renowned Cloud Gate Dance, talks about this view on Taiwan's papers, and media in general. I hope ESWN would find time to translate this.

I have met and chatted with Lin for a fairly long time (he was trapped in an airport lounge and a plane with me). I have great respect for him, more so after reading this. There are indeed many in Taiwan who are not simply Green or Blue. There are people who can think critically and who are fair to both extremities in the political camps. Lin is one of them. Lee Yuan Tseh is the other. (They are both Benshengren, and Lee was pivotal in sending CSB to presidency in 2000)

United Daily was a great paper, especially in literature and culture. Lin, as perhaps the most respected artist in Taiwan, was heartbroken to see the decline of such a great paper as it became a "Deep Blue" party organ.

United Daily is the sister paper of China Times. In the past China Times is a centrist light blue paper, while United Daily has always been Bluer. United has been very strong in art, literature and culture. This is also a market positioning issue. As China Times becomes bluer, the positioning of the two has bigger overlap. Sooner or later they would suffer from the same fate as their Evening counterparts. It makes more sense if they keep CT as a Blue organ, and shift United to the center. Because Apple Daily has already taken the centrist position (one of the reasons that AD TW will be more successful than AD HK). It is better to move United (than CT) because United has a edge over AD on culture/art areas, and the artists/academics are usually less political.

p.s. Forget the English blogs in Taiwan, or Taipei Times, or China Post, most of them are foreigner's propaganda for DPP (correction: China Post is propaganda for KMT). Read Lin Huai-min and Lee Yuan-Tseh.


David said...

"There are indeed many in Taiwan who are not simply Green or Blue."
Err ... the huge majority of people in Taiwan are not simply Green or Blue.

p.s. Thanks for your endorsement of my site. By the way most of the English-language blogs in HK & China are even worse propaganda sites - don't believe a word they say. Oh and the China Times a mouthpiece for the DPP?

Sun Bin said...

thx david,

i think your site is one of the few that tried to be objective.

well, i think there are more fair blogs outside on china/hk.

china times? i think it was light blue, and now it becomes a lot bluer. that creates an overlap with United -- one of them will become redundant sooner or later.


Anonymous said...

Hey, ESWN has the English-language translation up!

Tim Maddog said...

Sun Bin, I don't think you know what "objective" means when it comes to Taiwan.

Out of the English blogs about Taiwan politics, I'd say that 5 or 6 could be considered "propaganda for democracy," if anything, but certainly not "propaganda" for the DPP. (By the way, including the China Post in there is either an awful mistake or a symptom of a very serious disorder.) We all criticize the DPP when they are ineffective, weak, or flat-out wrong, but I dare to say that most of us despise the KMT for perfectly valid reasons: killing many Taiwanese, imposing 40 years of martial law, oppressing the language and culture of Taiwan, and so on.

The DPP has nothing on the KMT in any of those areas. Of course, you'd never know that if you only read the China Post, China Times, United Daily News, (Poison) Apple Daily, etc.

Sun Bin said...


thanks for the comment but i disagree.

of course you are the only one who know. as many other people also claim so. :)

anyway, china post is as guilty as taipei times, CT/UDN are as guilty as TD/FT. are you claiming China Post is more objective than Taipei Times?

one example of the propaganda: they equate DPP with "democracy".

for the record, i read books about 228 published by DPP supporters and i have good friends who are die-hard DPP supporters. I do not just read and i know CP/CT/UDN are biased. poison apple is perhaps the best in taiwan, unfortunately.


thanks for anon, the translation link is here.

Sun Bin said...

ohh...i saw the mistake now (and corrected it). i meant to say they are all propaganda, mostly for DPP (and some for KMT as well).

Tim Maddog said...

Sun Bin wrote:
- - -
of course you are the only one who know. as many other people also claim so. :)
- - -

Of course, you are the only one who knows what that sentence means.

You also wrote:
- - -
are you claiming China Post is more objective than Taipei Times?
- - -

No, and what would ever give you that idea?

And this:
- - -
poison apple is perhaps the best in taiwan, unfortunately.
- - -

"Prettiest" poison? Best-selling lies? Best at obscuring the truth? None of the papers is "objective," but the TT, TD, Taiwan News, and Liberty Times are certainly more honest than the others -- I know this from their reporting on events which I have witnessed personally.

Finally, Sun Bin does something good:
- - -
ohh...i saw the mistake now (and corrected it).
- - -

Good to see the correction, at least. It's a step above any of those pro-blue/pro-China papers.

Anonymous said...

You just like Apply Daily cause you have HK pride. That's all there is to it. They may not have obvious political leanings at times, but their sensationalism and news as entertainment can only be called the barest, most emanciated of neutralities.

Low brow is HK culture, and they're good at exporting it, i.e. Jackie Chan makes a fool of himself based on his "Asian-ness", which is fine for him, but it is no less despicable than nor so far removed from an actual black American performing black face. You can cater to people's basest notions, and it's a sure thing you'll make money; but you'll never be respected.

Sun Bin said...

No. I think Apple Daily has many defects. I also think the quality of their staf (or in general those in HK) are not as good as those in Taiwan.

In addition, AD HK is becoming more and more like UDN these days, with one-sided view supplied by dubious pseudo-academics.

however, AD TW is still fairer and better than those other papers in Taiwan. and AD HK still has many good stuff (esp compared with other papers in HK).

Sun Bin said...

having said that, i disagree with you about tabloidization. i think there is nothing wrong with a commercial media addressing to the needs of the market. such attitude would make sure that the medium does not sway too far away from common sense.

the problem of all these other papers in taiwan is, exactly, the lack of market sense.