Tiny island, small island, big island

Can someone explain what a “tiny island” is? So often, the international media, such as the wire services or CNN or BBC or whatever, describe Taiwan as a “tiny island off the coast of China.”

Example in the Associated Press a few days ago, written by a reporter who lives in Taipei: “…The tiny leaf-shaped island off China’s southern coast …”

sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c … ST0551.DTL

(sixth paragraph down, second sentence)

I know that this is what editors in New York and London and Sydney want to hear, it fits their stereotyped images of Island Taiwan, as this itsy bitsy teeny tiny speck of an island off the coast of huge gigantic 1.6 billion people China…

… but in reality, Taiwan is NOT a tiny island. It’s actually quite a large island, if you ever tried to bicycle around it, or ride a motorcycle around it or through it, or even fly over it…or trying walking from Taipei to Kenting, Mr Associated Press!

I always though a ‘‘tiny island’’ means something like a small island in the Okinawa chain or Green Island or Orchid Island off Taiwan or Martha’s Vineyard in the USA or Prince Edward Island in Canada or Catalina Island off California’s coast.

So why does a respected world-class news organization like the AP, which delivers images about Taiwan to the world from its offices in downtown Taipei, send out such stereotyped terms as “tiny island” …when that is just not the case?

Do all writers have to write to make their editors in far away capitals happy? Do any reporters ever try to tell the truth?

Even Hawaii’s “Big Island” is smaller than Taiwan. But does the AP ever report a story from ‘‘tiny Big Island’’? No.

When did Taiwan become a tiny island?

Everything is relative.

If you compare to China, then it’s tiny. If you compare to a coral reef in the pacific somewhere, then it’s big.

People compare it to China. And it’s relatively tiny compared to that place, like Cantalina Islans is tiny compared to California proper.

New Zealand is small, and that’s 7 odd times bigger than Taiwan.

Taiwan is tiny, when you look at it from a global perspective.

So is Guam, but thats always reffered to as a small Island. :idunno:

Actually when you take a look at a global map you will see that there are not that many islands bigger than Taiwan. I guess Taiwan is at least among the top 20 in the world, more likely even the top 10. And we are not even talking about population size and the economy, both of which categories would put Taiwan in the top 10 easily.

I too think there is an intended judgemental tone in refering to Taiwan as tiny, as in “those uppish people who don’t want to be part of China, but keep on struggling although they have no chance to become independant anyway”.
Has anyone ever refered to Ireland as tiny? No, because Ireland is respected as a sovereign country.

Vanuatu is a referred to as a tiny island and its sovereign too. Singapore is referred to as snot and its sovereign as well.

Vanatu IS small, that’s the difference. If my memory serves me right Taiwan is the 13th largest economy on the globe. Hardly something you would call small.

Actually, I don’t think it’s deliberately judgemental - more covering of ass. By referring to it as a “tiny island off the coast of China” they sidestep the thing, like you said, about sovereign status. If there was ever any implication to the contrary in any major foreign paper, the appropriate Chinese embassy would sue/threaten them. Without a doubt. I’ve seen them do it over Falun Gong back home, so why not over Taiwan?