Trump Campaign Ad Mistakes China Airlines For A Chinese Airline

This is exactly why Taiwan is considering renaming China Airlines. A pro-Trump campaign ad attacks former Vice President Joe Biden for failing to support ban on travel from China with a China Airlines plane beside Biden.

By the way, I criticized the China travel ban as having come too late, just as the ban on European arrivals came after that barn door had been open for a month. In other words, not because travel bans aren’t ever appropriate, but because it took too long to act to be effective. Biden is quoted in the ad as saying a China travel ban wouldn’t stop the virus, and that was in fact correct.

Mainland China sees Taiwan as a rogue province but part of its nation. Until Hong Kong protests last year there were attempts at rapprochement suggesting ‘one country two systems’ could work there. Those hopes were largely dashed by what’s perceived in Taiwan to be China’s walking away from its commitments to allow for Hong Kong to be run independently and respect civil liberties.

Taiwan is the Republic of China, originating as a government in exile that planned to one day retake the mainland. To many older members of the community it is China and so referring to their flag carrier as China Airlines makes sense. Nonetheless confusing Air China and China Airlines is easy to do for a lay person, but not something that should be done in the name of a world leader.

On the other hand perhaps it’s cunning strategy, to play public hardball over issues like coronavirus while sending Straussian messages to the Chinese leadership that you’re open to viewing Taiwan as part of China. It’s textbook, as Marcus Giamatti explained in the incredible but short-lived sitcom Flying Blind:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’s always been a dumb name for an airlines that doesn’t fly to or from mainland China. I get it, they still think they ARE China, but time to move on. This just proved what a lousy job government and marketing does fact checking.

    Be smart if the re-name it anyways since a backlash towards China globally is coming.

  2. 90% of Trump supporters do not even know the number of US states and I bet 99% could not put over most of them on a map. They only airlines they are flying are Spirit and Frontier and they will complain about the costs and fees but keep on flying them.

  3. It is a confusing and misleading name for an airline based in Taiwan. I have been a points and miles enthusiast for a few years but I always confuse China Airlines with one of the China Southern or Eastern or whatever it is. EVA is what I think of when I think of Taiwan and usually forget about China Airlines being the other carrier.


    90% of Democrat supporters are either elites living closed off from reality or are too dumb to cash a welfare check and instead say “gibes me that” when trying to steal a bike.

  4. @sunviking82 CI does fly to mainland China. It’s just not based in the mainland.

  5. @sunviking82 sez: “This just proved what a lousy job government and marketing does fact checking.”

    Agreed! It exposed the most incompetent administration in the history of this great republic that’s managed to botch pretty much everything it’s touched or attempted to do. Had enough already? Join the “Blue Wave” and let’s begin the cleansing of our great republic on election day 2020!

  6. Some people are too stupid and lazy to do any research on their own. Thats why they believe all the shit their facebook friend who flunked high school posts, but ignore the actual facts. Or you know history. There is a reason why it was called China Airlines (hint – look up official country name for Taiwan). It is actually less confusing that Alaska Airlines.

    So funny that not only is Trump campaign using that, but that his supporters just keep eating this shit up. The rich get richer while they get screwed. Its karma I guess.

  7. I wonder what Taiwan-born Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, thinks of this…or the lavish grants to little used airports, or wearing masks on flights, or? She’s been pretty quiet since her big splash solidarity 737 MAX flight last year before grounding it.

  8. @Gary – feel free to delete the openly racist comments at any point…your blog is better than that, but it’s attracting quite the undesirable readership as of late

  9. I guess the people (all stables geniuses) who put this ad together probably were too busy getting sunlight into their bodies or injecting disinfectant to realize China Airlines is from Taiwan.

  10. @ucc: Or Qantas, the “Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service”. Or Norwegian, which flies to Norway sometimes, but flies all sorts of routes that do not. Or Southwest, which is a national carrier. Or the departed Northwest Orient Airlines. Or Cape Air, which used to be singularly Cape Cod but now covers chunks of the Caribbean. They all sputter along (not NW) in some state of rebranding fantasy.

  11. It’s unfortunate that majority of Americans don’t bother doing some basic fact finding before forming an opinion, but I suppose that’s why we’re in the current situation/environment today. For the record, China Airlines did look into rebranding several years ago and has been a point of discussion fairly frequently in Taiwan (especially those for Taiwanese independence aka the DPP). However, it’s not as easy as changing names. The routes and rights are tied to the name China Airlines, and last I read, it can lead to many complications trying to reapply for those routes under a different name, not to mention the political hurdles that the airline would face in each country they have to apply for, given China’s anti-Taiwan position. Any opportunity for mainland China to stick it to Taiwan, you can bet they will (recall China requiring companies to relabel Taiwan as a province, preventing Taiwan to be part of WHO, Olympics participation, etc.). So before everyone says it’s a no brainer, fact check first before saying it’s so simple.

  12. @Jackson Thank you for proving @mon’s point. You might want to get out and meet a few of the majority. You’ll find most don’t live at either end of your narrow minded spectrum.

  13. @UN-NYC: No, this blog really isn’t better than that. It’s become the National Enquirer of the travel industry. I only pop by to see what lazy, ill-informed, opinion Gary has come out with today.

    This still makes me laugh: Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel

    Gary, seriously: self praise is no praise at all. Get rid of it. If you have to tell people how good you are rather than showing them, then, well, it’s sad.

  14. I doubt it is a mistake. They don’t care about facts and know his supporters don’t care. If real facts mattered to them, they would not say and do 90% of what they say and do. If it looks or sounds good (to the base) do it, they think. It will become a fact to his supporters.

  15. The incorrect ad is typical of Trump. His supporters in the comments respond with their typical TDS responses.

  16. Well, chump has a lot of nepotism help in all of this. Son, son-in-law, Ivanka and all the dingbats masquerading as geniuses. Yo, war general “ole bone spurs” chump the scientific genius.

  17. Remember pre-merger Canadian Airlines (CP) and Air Canada (AC)? For those who didn’t remember, CP was based in YYC and AC is still based in YUL. To many myopic people, there’s no difference because they are all Canucks. But dig deeper, it’s Anglo vs Quebecois dominance.

    I see many parallels than can apply to the CA/CI saga. Most people are sticking to China narrative of an almighty united Chinese brand. But if you know the history of the region, it’s the difference between generic Mandarin (普通話, putong hua) vs national language (國語, guo ye), much akin to Queen vs Yankee English.

    So, for the myopic Trump campaign, I commend you for spreading misinformation and disinformation. Teaching ignorance, cultural insensitivity and impatience should be their own downfall.

  18. @Jim – what’s the bigger number in terms of alleged sexual assaults, 25 or 1? Do the math (as hard as it is for many on the far right to believe in things like “data” and “science” and “facts” these days)

  19. @nyc – get your numbers straight – there are at least 7 other women besides Tera Reade accusing creepy joe of sexual assaults, not including the “well endowed” 14 year old. But the lefties have never been known for their abilities with things like “data” and “science” and “facts.”

  20. Ah Jim, looks like you are Trumpeting the “many fine people on both sides” argument…classy. Yes, Biden has been accused by a few of “squeezing their shoulders” and giving hugs. Totally the same as the Trump rape / sexual assault charges. Good “logic”.

  21. If I’m not wrong but…China Airlines is the flag carrier of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Now they may not want to be part of China but

  22. @nyc – creepy joe is accused of RAPE – not “squeezing their shoulders” and giving hugs. Nice try though. It’s always fun watching lefties give excuse after excuse for the pedo’s they support. Maybe you should try to support the women who have come out and accused creepy joe of RAPE and SEXUAL ASSAULT. Here is a very short list of the many. many people creepy joe has been credibly accused of assaulting:
    Tara Reade
    Lucy Flores
    Amy Lappos
    Vail Kohnert_Yount
    Caitlyn Caruso
    DJ Hill
    Sofie Karasek
    Ally Coll

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