In June, a petition was launched in Taiwan to request John Oliver to do a funny episode on the island. The British-American comedian has reportedly been banned in China for roasting President Xi Jinping and slamming the treatment of Uygurs in Xinjiang . On Sunday, he duly delivered on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver . And sure enough, that provoked the ire of mainland pundits. The fiercely nationalistic Global Times ran a commentary titled, “John Oliver’s show dodges facts about Taiwan, misleads public”. “US elites like John Oliver,” the writer raged, “are playing dumb who are now hyping the idea of Taiwan’s so-called ‘undetermined’ status.” While I wouldn’t encourage anyone to watch it to learn about Taiwan’s politics and history, as a piece of entertainment, it wasn’t entirely inaccurate. Like most Westerners, he was generally pro-Taiwan. But perhaps due to his own unfamiliarity with the issues, some of his jokes and facts actually cut the other way. President Tsai Ing-wen’s overreach will likely return the Kuomintang to power In fact, they could be construed as far less antagonistic to China than those routine press statements coming out of US President Joe Biden ’s White House these days. The Global Times op-ed was upset that Oliver described Taiwan as a “vibrant democracy”. But to prove his point, the comedian cited regular brawls in its Legislative Yuan and was especially amused by the one last November, where lawmakers threw pig guts at each other. You would hardly think that messy fight was a shining example of Taiwanese democracy, or any democracy for that matter. The dispute behind it was also rather disreputable. The Kuomintang opposition had accused the government of Tsai Ing-wen of trying to curry favour from Washington – and risking public health – by importing US pork “tainted” with ractopamine. Beijing upended by Taipei bid to join pact The safety of the additive, used to produce leaner pork, is in dispute and banned in more than 160 countries, including the European Union, China, Japan and South Korea. Meanwhile, Oliver cited a 2018 poll that showed 87 per cent of Taiwanese people preferred to maintain the status quo between the mainland and the island. His support notwithstanding for the self-determination of Taiwanese, that statistic hardly lends support to Tsai and her independence-seeking Democratic Progressive Party, or recent actions by European and US politicians, including Biden, to provoke Beijing by playing the so-called Taiwan card. His show is just for a laugh.