Sat, Jan 17, 2009 - Page 1 News List

DPP pans calendars listing PRC days

RED-LETTER DAYS Opposition lawmakers took the government to task for printing calendars that highlight PRC holidays, including Mao Zedong's birthday on Dec. 26

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday blasted the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in another case of the government distributing calendars listing national holidays in China as among those observed in Taiwan, calling these incidents a product of its China-leaning policies and agenda to promote unification.

“From top to bottom, government [officials and workers] under President Ma are not clear about the nation's sovereignty and status,” DPP Legislator Chen Chi-yu (陳啟昱) told a press conference yesterday.

Given the government's confusing stance on sovereignty, “it's no wonder so many people [in government] are in the habit of taking actions that they think would please their superiors,” DPP Legislator Chen Chi-yu (陳啟昱) told a press conference yesterday.

Chen made the remarks in light of the latest incident in which 5,000 calendars distributed to the public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' (MOFA) Eastern Taiwan Office in Hualien were found to contain three extra holidays — July 1, Oct. 1 and Dec. 26.

None of those dates are holidays in Taiwan, but they are celebrated in Hong Kong as the founding anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the National Day of the People's Republic of China and the birthday of Mao Zedong (毛澤東) respectively.

Taiwan celebrates its national day on Oct. 10.

Chen said the ministry should be particularly sensitive to details like these, yet they have slipped through as though it regards China as the motherland.

DPP Legislator Hsueh Ling (薛凌) said this was the third case in which calendars distributed by government agencies carried inappropriate national holidays, adding that it was “an indication that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government is preparing to unite with China.”

The first incident took place last October when calendars for this year that were distributed by the KMT-dominated Taoyuan County Council marked Oct. 1 as National Day and July 1 as Reunification Day.

Hsueh said that a set of free calendars produced by Taitung County Government's Department of Health last month were found to carry China's five-star national flag — not the Republic of China's (ROC) national flag — on the cover and listed Oct. 1 as National Day.

In both cases, local governments attributed the mistakes to negligence on the part of the printing companies.

“Why all these mistakes?” Hsueh asked, adding that these “seeming mistakes” were all part of the government's maneuverings. She did not elaborate.

At a separate setting yesterday, MOFA spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) said the blunder was unintentional.

The error was not detected during pre-publication proofreading because the sample calendar submitted by the publishing house was printed in black and white, while the finished product appeared in color, he said.

The publisher has apologized for the error and will publish a new version, he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JENNY W. HSU AND CNA

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