Fri, Jul 02, 2010 - Page 8 News List


What’s in a name?

Steven Painter’s letter missed the reason why people dislike the name “Xinbei City” — because it will be mistaken as a city in China (Letters, June 29, page 8). Taiwan has already been misnamed as “Chinese Taipei,” “Taiwan, Province of China” and “Taiwan Province.” We don’t need another name to confuse people.

A name like “Xinbei City, Chinese Taipei” is insane, ambiguous and inconvenient.

Furthermore, Taiwanese don’t like to use the letter X in Romanized names because it symbolizes being crossed out or unknown. This rule also applies to the names of cities and should be respected as a minimum courtesy.

If Painter accepts the difference between American English and British English, it is hard to understand why he calls Tongyong Pinyin “nonsense.”

This system was developed for its general applicability to all languages in Taiwan and is slightly different from Hanyu Pinyin, which was developed in China. The government in Taiwan will reportedly change all signs in Tongyong to Hanyu. What a waste of financial and human resources. It is also environmentally unfriendly because it will unnecessarily increase carbon dioxide emissions.

As an exception, “Sinbei” in Tongyong is not an elegant name to use for a city. “New Taipei City” is a neutral name that incorporates the meaning of its original name. If people can distinguish between “New York City” and “New York,” it will be easy to tell “New Taipei City” and “Taipei City” apart. Both cities are close to each other. The name “New Taipei City” is also favored by two major candidates running for mayor.

We have to cherish such a rare consensus.

Charles Hong

Columbus, Ohio

All issues are political issues

June 29 will, without a doubt, come to be known as Taiwan’s “Black Tuesday.” It is on that mournful and tragic day that Taiwan was bullied into signing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Chongqing, China.

The ECFA is essentially a “black box” pact signed between two political parties — the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the the CCP — (“Taiwan, China sign trade pact,” June 30, page 1).

A person may duly wonder whether Taiwan would be allowed to refer any disputes or controversial cases to the WTO for arbitration. Please allow me to disabuse anyone of such a naive belief, lest he or she be deceived into thinking that Taiwan will ever be viewed as an equal partner — “During the morning meeting [between the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) prior to the signing], trade officials from both sides agreed that until a cross-strait trade dispute resolution is forged, the two sides would attempt to solve any disputes through negotiation and would not refer controversial cases to the WTO.”

Later, at a separate press conference, ARATS Vice Chairman Zheng Lizhong (鄭立中) reportedly said: “We understand our Taiwanese compatriots’ wish to participate in international events.”

Zheng was cut off by Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei (姜增偉), who said: “We can make reasonable arrangements through cross-strait negotiations under the precondition of the ‘1992 consensus.’”

Jiang’s words certainly raised my eyebrows because they directly contradicted the CCP and Beijing’s official position on cross-strait relations. In fact, I am utterly dumbfounded as to why Jiang would use the phrase “1992 consensus.” It boggles the mind.

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