18 August 2019
The picture that caused a lot of cross-strait confusion. Photo: Internet
The picture that caused a lot of cross-strait confusion. Photo: Internet

Peeing boy incident at Taipei 101 gets murkier

There’s a sequel to that news report about a tourist from northern China’s Shanxi province who let her three-year-old son urinate in a plastic bottle in front of all the other diners at a Taipei 101 restaurant.

Mainland media reported that the mother involved in the latest “uncivilized behavior” by tourists is actually a Taiwanese, citing a clarificatory report by Taiwan’s China Television.

But according to Taiwan news portal ETtoday’s weibo account, there were actually two similar incidents happening at Taipei 101, one involving a mainland mother and the other a Taiwanese mom.

The incident that happened at the Taipei 101 branch of Ding Tai Fung, which is famous for its soup dumplings, or xiaolongbao, was first reported by Taiwan’s TVBS on Oct. 19.

According to the report, a female customer, who was part of a tour group from Shandong province, was told by her child that he wanted to relieve himself. The mother, instead of taking him to the restroom, took a plastic bottle and told the boy to pee into the receptacle while standing on a chair. 

But according to a report by Taiwan’s Apple Daily on the same day, the mother was from Shanxi province.

Neither of the two reports showed a picture or video of the incident.

The following day, Apple Daily came out with a picture, taken from a social networking website, showing a mother taking off her son’s pants at another eatery in Taipei 101. It carries a caption: “Mainland boy spotted peeing beside table again at 101.”

On Tuesday the newspaper issued a correction, saying that the picture involved a Taiwanese mother.

However, when Taiwan’s SET News reprinted the picture, it reported that it was taken at Ding Tai Fung and involved a mainland mother, as reported previously.

Adding to the confusion, several mainland media picked up the story and identified the mother as a mainlander.

When ETtoday pointed out that there’s a mix-up of two incidents, not too many people took notice. And so the flawed report that the picture was that of a mainland mother letting her child pee into a plastic bottle at Ding Tai Fung was carried by major mainland news portals such as and on Monday.

When Apple Daily came out with its clarification that the picture involved a Taiwanese mother, many mainland netizens thought that the Ding Tai Fung incident involved a Taiwanese.

“Hey, don’t try to defame us, Taiwan media… this time we didn’t do anything wrong,” one netizen wrote on Weibo.

So, as it turned out, it was a case not only of bad behavior but also of bad reporting.

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EJ Insight reporter

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