Fri, Jul 12, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Tongyong Pinyin proposal meets opposition's wrath


The Ministry of Education's endorsement of Tongyong Pinyin for the country's Romanization system yesterday drew sharp protest from opposition lawmakers.

They warned that the move would further isolate Taiwan from the international community, where China's Hanyu Pinyin is widely used.

"It makes no sense for Taiwan to adopt a Romanization system different from that used by most other countries," KMT caucus leader Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) told reporters. "The decision stands at odds with the country's effort to link up with the world."

Romanization is the use of the Roman alphabet to write the Chinese language, which uses pictographs. Whether to use Hanyu Pinyin -- or Chinese spelling -- system has been an issue of heated debate for years. Going a step further, Kwan Yuk-noan (關沃暖) demanded Minister of Education Huang Jong-tsun (黃榮村) step down, saying he lacked the ability to tell right from wrong.

"By backing Tongyong Pinyin, the minister apparently caved in to pressure from the ruling DPP," Kwan said.

"Unprincipled, he should step down to take political responsibility for potential fallout," Kwan said.

Earlier, Huang Jong-tsun threw his weight behind Tongyong Pinyin, which its proponents say is more suitable for teaching native languages to school children here.

The system, developed by local linguists, is 85 percent similar to Hanyu Pinyin.

But the KMT said the decision showed the DPP is leaning toward a formal break with China.

"The government has no confidence in Taiwan, so it opted to shut this island off from the world," KMT spokeswoman Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) told reporters.

PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) echoed the view, noting that only a minority of education officials expressed support for Tongyong Pinyin during the policy-making process.

Pinyin debate

*The Ministry of Education has endorsed the Tongyong Pinyin Romanization system.

* Opposition lawmakers say the ministry has bowed to DPP pressure and will isolate Taiwan from the international community, which is more familiar with Hanyu Pinyin.

On Wednesday the 26-member Mandarin Promotion Council -- a task force of the education ministry -- voted 10-0 in favor of the Tongyong Pinyin system. The remaining members either boycotted or abstained from the vote.

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