President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said that Taiwan should work toward the goal of applying to the UN to list traditional Chinese characters and Taiwan's Aboriginal music as a part of the world's cultural heritage.
Addressing the issue in his latest e-newsletter, Chen said the preservation of traditional Chinese characters in Taiwan had allowed the country to inherit the most fundamental and precious part of Han culture.
He said that Taiwanese culture has developed its own unique characteristics after centuries of derivation, evolving from Chinese and Han cultures.
"Over time, through a common life experience, the people of Taiwan have created a unique local culture, which we should take pride in and cherish," Chen said.
"The development of culture is organic and has a life of its own, and does not necessarily make us subordinate or lacking an identity just because we share the same origins as other cultures," he wrote.
Chen said the idea of having traditional Chinese characters listed at the UN came from a recent debate in Taiwan that with the emergence of Chinese-language learning fever around the world, both traditional and simplified characters should be listed as a part of the world's cultural heritage.
He said that he had also received suggestions that Taiwan cooperate with other countries that use traditional Chinese characters, such as Japan and South Korea, to apply for traditional Chinese characters to be listed as an "intangible cultural legacy of mankind."
In addition, he said, some had proposed that the government cooperate with other Austronesian countries in applying for the inclusion of music of the nation's Aborigines as a UN-protected common cultural heritage of mankind.
The president said Taiwan should work toward achieving these proposals.
Chen said that he had attached particular significance to the deepening and revitalization of Taiwanese culture since his inauguration.
Chen said his administration had engaged in developing local culture with the goal of turning the country into a Taiwan-centered "cultural nation," to promote Taiwanese culture to the world and help the world better understand Taiwanese culture.