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Wed, Nov 01, 2000 - Page 4 News List

Tongyong supporters rage at Tzeng's U-turn

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mandarin Promotion Council (MPC) members were furious yesterday over Minister of Education Ovid Tzeng's (曾志朗) decision on Monday to adopt Hanyu Pinyin (漢語拼音), the system used in China, as Taiwan's official Mandarin Romanization system.

The council had recommended the adoption of the homegrown Tongyong Pinyin (通用拼音) system.

Council members yesterday said that Tzeng's action showed no respect for the opinion of the professionals on the council.

"It was him [Tzeng] who invited us to be members of the MPC. If he does not value our opinion, why bother hiring us in the first place?" said Fam Vun-fong (范文芳), director of the Language and Literature Education Department of National Hsinchu Teachers' College.

"The council is composed of representatives from assorted ethnic groups and supporters for both systems -- Tongyong and Hanyu. Our choice was reached through thorough research and discussion. How could the minister overrule our decision based only on his personal preferences?" Fam said.

Arguments over picking an official system to Romanize Mandarin have been under the media spotlight for weeks, but Tzeng's announcement on Monday sparked a backlash from MPC members who favor Tongyong, claiming it is the system best suited for Taiwan's language policy.

Yu Bor-chuan (余伯泉), an MPC member and one of the inventors of Tongyong agreed that most of the reason for the group's dissatisfaction was that the education minister had overlooked the views of the MPC.

But even more upsetting, he said, was the fact that Tzeng had not consulted with council members before announcing his decision.

"If he considered our conclusion to be in contradiction with his own view, or the public's opinion, he should have been open with us and spoken with us. Instead, he has publicly criticized Tongyong in the media. Some of his attacks are totally baseless, which just indicates how ignorant he is about the system."

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