Wed, Dec 24, 2008 - Page 8 News List

[LETTERS]

Suing for future generations

In a recent article by Agence France-Presse on the appointment of scientist Steven Chu (朱隸文) as the next US secretary of energy, the news agency noted that Chu will be president-elect Barack Obama’s “dedicated champion in the life-or-death fight against global warming,” adding: “Chu has increasingly sounded the alarm on the dire need to address climate change before it is too late.”

The report also quotes the 60-year-old Chu as saying that our Earth is threatened with “sudden, unpredictable and irreversible disaster.”

It is important to keep readers informed about what is happening in the fight against global warming and to show both sides of the issue. Some people, like Chu, believe global warming is real, while others believe it is not.

In keeping with Chu’s feeling that alarms need to be sounded about the problem of climate change, I have started a process to file a class-action lawsuit with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, asking for US$1 billion in damages from current world leaders for manslaughter of future generations of human beings if strong steps are not taken now to curb global warming.

The money, if any is awarded by the ICC, will be donated to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to help inform the public about this most “dire” issue.

The only news media to report on this lawsuit so far was Reuters News Service in the Netherlands, which posted a brief news item about the suit last month.

The lawsuit might seem frivolous to some people, but those who want to read more about it can visit the Web site northwardho.blogspot.com and post their opinions.

DAN BLOOM

Chiayi City

Is Taiwan a fossil?

The government plans to apply for world heritage status for traditional Chinese characters (“Bid planned for UN heritage status for complex characters,” Dec. 19, page 3) used in Taiwan.

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) described these characters as “a living fossil.”

It is a pity to call a language, especially a “national language,” a fossil — even a living fossil.

But maybe Liu is being pragmatic. The Republic of China (ROC) was replaced in China by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. The ROC’s UN seat was given to the PRC in 1971.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) considers ROC-PRC relations not “state-to-state” but “region-to-region.” He banned ROC flags from the streets during the visit of Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), who called Ma “you” instead of “president.” China recently included two Taiwanese women among China’s 50 most beautiful people.

These facts show that the ROC as a nation has become a living fossil well before its written language could become one.

When Ma was the mayor of Taipei City, he insisted on using China’s Hanyu Pinyin system of Romanization for the capital rather than Tongyong Pinyin. Now Ma plans to spend millions of dollars on switching to Hanyu Pinyin throughout Taiwan.

Some government officials might even change the spelling of their names.

Some people are concerned that Ma might push Taiwan to use China’s simplified characters someday.

Is the step of labeling Taiwan’s traditional characters a “living fossil” just an overture to switching to simplified characters?

Step by step, Taiwan’s identity and sovereignty are being eroded.

CHARLES HONG

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