Wed, Mar 31, 2010 - Page 1 News List

ROC centennial committee laments media controversy

By Ko Shu-ling and Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The organizer of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China (ROC) celebrations yesterday expressed regret over reports that it had toned down its slogan for the year-long event.

Council for Cultural Affairs Minister Emile Sheng (盛治仁), who doubles as chief executive of the organizing committee, said he regretted that certain media outlets had interpreted the matter out of context and failed to carefully check the facts.

The Taipei Times and its sister paper, the Chinese-language Liberty Times, yesterday reported that the slogan of the event was toned down to avoid sensitive political issues.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) Centenary Foundation introduced the logo and slogan for the event on Monday. The logo contains eight Chinese characters and the number “100.”

Jerry Fan (范可欽), creator of the slogan, said it originally read “Republic of China, Founded 100 Years (中華民國,建國一百)” but was later changed to “Republic of China, Splendid 100 (中華民國,精彩一百).”

Sheng said the slogan, as well as the name of the organizing committee, celebrates the spirit of the founding of the republic.

He said the foundation held meetings with more than 100 experts, designers and artists to come up with the slogan, but the media quoted somebody who was not a member of the preparatory committee and misled the public into believing that it was an official foundation comment.

“The foundation regrets that the matter was blown out of proportion and has misled the public,” he said.

“Splendid 100” was chosen as a slogan to reflect the rich history of the ROC, which has gone through wars, relocation and transformation over the past century, he said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday said there was nothing splendid about the nation's centennial anniversary celebrations if one couldn't even call it a country.

“We are spending so much money to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this nation's founding, but the government took out the word 'founding.' I don't know what they are trying to achieve with this,” DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) said.

“It's not a contentious term: Are we going to have to change the names of Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School (建國中學), Taipei City's Jianguo North Road (建國北路) or even national slogans?” DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) asked.

The slogan also sparked online discussions yesterday, with some Internet users describing it as a move to appease China. Other Internet users criticized the design, saying it resembled a number of night market snacks.

“Although it's the 100th anniversary of the nation's founding, the [organizer] took out the characters 'founded' for fear of antagonizing China. It's really sad,” Web user Maerjisi (馬爾濟斯) said.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jing-pyng (王金平), a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the celebration's preparatory committee, shrugged off the DPP's criticism, saying the Presidential Office decided to adopt the term “splendid” to invite the general public to join the festivities.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG

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