Chinese minders force Australian journalist to scrape Taipei off son's nightlight

Chinese authorities threaten to seize globe of Australian journalist's son for listing Taipei as capital

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(Pedia.cloud.edu.tw photo)

(Pedia.cloud.edu.tw photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese efforts to blot out Taiwan's existence as a sovereign nation have reached new extremes with authorities threatening to seize a child's globe from an Australian journalist for listing Taipei as a national capital.

On Sunday, Sydney Morning Herald journalist Kirsty Needham reported that her seven-year-old son's bedroom in Beijing had been searched by Chinese authorities looking for any materials that would be deemed offensive to the communist regime. Of all things, a light-up globe was singled out by government minders for allegedly indicating that Taiwan is a separate country.

Needham said that she had purchased the globe to both serve as a nightlight and as a way to explain to her young son where in the world she was traveling to on assignment. She said that the globe gained much sentimental value over the three years they had stayed in Beijing.

In her article, she writes that as she prepared to leave the country, "removalists" spotted the globe and fixated on the depiction of Taiwan. The supervisor of the team informed her that she could not take the globe back with her because it indicated that Taiwan was an independent country separate from China.

In response, she said, "There is nothing on this globe that suggests Taiwan is not part of China." The supervisor then explained that because the typeface for Taipei was the same size as Beijing, it indicated that Taipei was the capital of a country.

She then took out a black marker and crossed out Taipei. Yet the supervisor was unmoved and insisted "You can't take it, it is out of my hands."

Needham then used a kitchen knife to scrape Taipei completely off the map. She said that she did so not as a journalist but as "a mother who didn't want to explain to a seven-year-old why the precious globe had disappeared."