President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday emphasized the importance of cultural diversity, saying Taiwan was lucky to have different “Chinese cultures” and that he was determined to build the nation into a “development center” of Hakka culture.
Underlying biological diversity was paramount to the survival of all species and it would be conducive to a nation’s cultural development if different cultures were well preserved, he said.
“Taiwan is very lucky to have different Chinese cultures,” he said. “They meet here, influence, respect and appreciate each other. This is a rare chance. We must make an all-out effort to advance the development of all the nation’s different cultures so that our children can learn how to respect, tolerate and appreciate each other, and get along harmoniously with each other.”
Ma made the remarks while addressing the World Peace Conference, organized by the World Hakka Association, at the Ambassador Hotel yesterday morning.
Lauding his cross-strait policies, Ma said both sides of the Taiwan Strait resumed bilateral talks when he took office in May last year and have signed nine agreements and one consensus, dramatically easing tension across the strait.
“The Taiwan Strait was once a battlefield, but now it has become a road to peace and prosperity,” Ma said. “Taiwan’s role as a peacemaker has made our neighboring countries and the international community breath a sigh of relief.”
Speaking briefly in broken Hakka, Ma said the Hakka language has been disappearing at an alarmingly rate, losing about “1 million users annually between 2000 and 2005.” Hakka language and culture would perish at an even faster pace if no efforts were made to preserve them, he said.
As Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli counties have large Hakka populations, Ma said his administration plans to make Hakka one of the languages civil servants must speak if a county’s Hakka population reaches a certain percentage.
His administration also intends to build Taiwan into a “development center” of Hakka culture and promote other related culture and creative industries, he said.
This year’s government budget earmarked for the Council for Hakka Affairs was also increased by 33 percent, significantly more than the 23 percent he proposed during his election campaign, Ma said.
At the same setting, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), a Hakka, said Hakka believe that Taiwan and China are all yan huang zisun (炎黃子孫), descendants of emperors Yan and Huang, and belong to the Chinese nation.
It would be “stupid” if both sides of the strait could not be at peace, Wu said, adding that both sides must avoid war and replace conflict with negotiation and mutual tolerance. Although cross-strait ties have developed in a “sound direction,” both sides must develop mutual respect and equality, he said.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu