May 9, 2018
On May 1, the Dominican Republic and China established diplomatic relations. The move by the Dominican government under President Danilo Medina included breaking ties with Taiwan after a 70 year-old relationship.
On the eve of the announcement, Xinhua News, the Chinese government official organ, published a “Backgrounder: A brief introduction of the Dominican Republic” that spread many misconceptions about the Dominican Republic. The brief article signed by “ZX” indicates a lack of knowledge about the Caribbean country and Latin America as a whole. The Xinhua “introduction” offers no in-depth analysis to Chinese readers. In fact, it spreads and reproduces old falsehoods about a new friend nation that could lead to misconceptions about Dominican society and its people. We found several errors that we hope Xinhua editors will verify in the future.
XINHUA: The South American country was originally the native land of the American-Indians and its capital Santo Domingo, which was built by Spanish colonists in 1496, was the first permanent European settlement in the Americas.
This is quite inaccurate information that anyone can verify by just looking at a world map. First, the Dominican Republic is a Caribbean country—as the author states in the preceding paragraph — and also a Latin American nation.
XINHUA: Its independence, first from Spanish rule and then from Haiti's annexation, came in February 1844 when the Dominican Republic was founded after the victory of a war for independence.
The Xinhua scribe probably googled this. This is further indication that the author is unaware of the latest trends in Dominican historiography challenging the assumption that Dominican independence took place in 1844. But it doesn’t take much logic to realize that the Dominican Republic could not have been annexed by Haiti because it didn’t officially exist until 1844.
XINHUA: The country saw some 30 years of dictatorship until 1961 by Rafael Leonidas Trujillo who took power via a military coup. It then suffered a civil war which ended in 1965 with the military occupation of the United States. The country restored democracy in 1966, and has been ruled by the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) since 2004.
Here China’s main news organ erases some important historical events such as the first US occupation in 1916 which paved the way for the Trujillo regime as Rafael Leonidas Trujillo received military training and mentorship from the occupying forces; the first democratic elections took place in 1963, a guerilla uprising, a revolution in 1965 and the establishment of a authoritarian regime in 1966 which lasted 12 years. So nothing really happened in the Caribbean nation in the period that ran from 1966 to 2004, according to Xinhua.