July 20th, 2007

So I’m reading this article because a friend showed it to me because he’s worried some of our oil worker former students may get caught up in the violence in Pakistan, if they haven’t been already. Can understand his concern, I mean the violence has been taking a rather anti-Chinese slant of late. But still, our former students chose to go there of their own free will, there was no compulsion and no persuasion stronger than perhaps irritating the boss, and some things (like not getting shot at or blown up) are worth irritating the boss for. Anyway, so I’m reading the article, and I come across this:

Pakistan traditionally has enjoyed close ties with China. However, relations were strained when members of the Muslim separatist movement in the Chinese provinces of Xinjiang and Uighur sought refuge in Pakistan’s tribal region after fleeing from Afghanistan in 2001. They became closely linked to Pakistan’s radical Islamists.

[yes, that is my emphasis added]

And then I had to quickly wipe a mouthful of longjing off the monitor. What a waste of good tea. But really, “the Chinese provinces of Xinjiang and Uighur”! Note, the article is attributed to ” Zahid Hussain in Islamabad and Jane Macartney in Beijing”. Would that be the same Jane Macartney who wrote this blog?  Let’s just hope for Ms Macartney’s sake that some idiot subeditor in England was responsible for that mistake. If it was Ms Macartney’s slip up, then I hope for her sake her editor doesn’t find out. One would expect a journalist based in Beijing to be reasonably familar with China’s provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. One would think that a journalist based in Beijing that went around carving up China’s adminstrative divisions into completely new provinces, be it out of ignorance, malice, or for any other reason, would very soon find herself looking for a new job, or quite possibly on the first plane out of the country and her name on a visa blacklist. Especially when the mistake concerns such a sensitive region of China. I mean, this isn’t just a minor spelling mistake, this is taking the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and turning it into “the Chinese provinces of Xinjiang and Uighur”. Astounding. The mind boggles. I’m lost for words. Other similar cliches.

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