As Xi Jinping’s speech is overshadowed by a Taiwan skit, John Oliver mocks the Chinese press.
On Tuesday, a Chinese state-run tabloid slammed HBO’s John Oliver after a viral Last Week Tonight episode about Taiwan attempted to overshadow Xi Jinping’s speech about China’s contributions to the world.
Mouthpiece for the Communist Party The act was regarded as amateurish by the Global Times, and mentions of the incident were almost non-existent on the country’s tightly restricted social media platforms. Meanwhile, the production has received accolades from American and Taiwanese viewers for its research and veracity.
Oliver introduced the normally complex subject with his trademark blend of comedy and gravitas. He gave a quick overview of Taiwan’s colonial history over the last 400 years before concluding with a succinct description of the uneasy status quo that has existed for generations across the Taiwan Strait.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims the island as one of its provinces, whereas Taiwan argues the island is already a functionally independent country known as the Republic of China (ROC). The necessity for careful rhetoric has arisen as a result of this ambitious existence.
The program included Wrestler-turned-actor John Cena’s controversial apology for referring to Taiwan as a country, as well as the US’s unofficial and occasionally uneasy relationship with Taiwan, which it does not recognize as a state but has defended since World War II’s end.
Despite competing claims and “tense” relations between Beijing and Taipei, Oliver said that the island’s destiny should be decided by the island’s 23.5 million citizens, not China or even the United States.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which airs on Sundays at 11 p.m. ET and can be viewed online, aired about the same time as Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech in Beijing on Monday morning.
“The spectacle was eye-catching enough,” the Global Times said the next day, “especially since China on Monday honored the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the People’s Republic of China’s legitimate seat in the United Nations.”
On October 25, 1971, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 2758, which the state-owned tabloid was referring to. At the cost of ROC officials, the UN recognized the PRC as China’s sole legal representative. This is a condensed version of the information.