Minister of Education Huang Jong-tsun (黃榮村) yesterday promised that he would minimize political confrontation when implementing Tongyong Pinyin (通用拼音) as the country's official spelling system for Romanizing Mandarin.
\nThe selection of Tongyong Pin-yin is regarded by opposition politicians as politically motivated.
\nWhile acknowledging that political concerns were part of the reason for the decision, the minister promised that he would strive to avoid the ensuing political tension when traveling the country advocating the system.
\n"The issue of adopting a language system is complex and cannot be forced. [The government] will not stir upheaval by compelling schools or local governments to use the system," Huang said at a meeting with scholars and PFP lawmakers.
\nThe education minister promised that authorities would show respect to the will of individual regions, because it would not be in the nation's interest if the government coerces implementation without the approval of opponents.
\nHuang made the statements in an attempt to answer the concerns of some regional governments, including Taipei City, which insist on using Hanyu Pinyin (漢語拼音), the system used in China.
\nThe education ministry triggered a fierce controversy after it announced last week that Tongyong Pinyin, a system created by a group of Taiwanese linguists in 1998, would be adopted as the standardized Mandarin Romanization system.
\nThe decision ended a year-long debate which divided academics and officials and raised the passions of many foreigners living in Taiwan.
\nStreet signs have created a major obstacle for foreign travelers in Taiwan, as at least four systems are in use concurrently.
\nThe system used most often is the Wade Giles (
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