When Taiwan leader, Tsai Ing-wen came to Houston this week, she met Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz. Despite China’s objection, they still went through with the meeting. Etiquette dictates that the host should offer a gift to the guest. Greg Abbott did so, but the gift was so wrong in so many ways.
Greg Abbott reportedly gave the Taiwanese leader a clock, embellished with the state seal of Texas. Tsai, in return, gifted him a vase. The clock, according to experts is a cultural faux pas, as it signifies attending a funeral, according to a Taiwan local news agency. It expresses the downfall of the recipient.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 8, 2017
The banned meeting
The meeting even before it happened has already met a lot of raised eyebrows. The U.S. policy, honored for decades, clearly states that no American lawmaker should deal with Taiwan, as demanded by China, according to Downtown Austin Patch. American considers China as one of its leading trading partners and causing their ire is bad news. In fact, before the meeting, Ted Cruz received a letter from China warning him not to push through with the meeting.
It’s a good thing for Greg Abbot, though, this is not the first time someone from government offered an inappropriate gift. In 2015, the Baroness Susan Kramer gave a pocket watch to Taipei mayor, Ko Wen-je. Upon knowing the meaning of the gift, she insisted that she does not believe in such superstitious belief. But, later on, apologized to the mayor for being oblivious to this notion, reports Foreign Policy.
Tsai, on the other hand, did not mind the gift as something offensive. Many believed that the Taiwanese leader is not superstitious at all. The meeting, however, raised a lot of questions. One, questioning Ted Cruz’s renewed relationship with Taiwan. People are also in doubt as to why Greg Abbott needed to be there.
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