Sun, Sep 16, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Diaoyutais essay contest under fire

By Fan Cheng-hsiang  /  Staff Reporter

As the row over the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) continues, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday announced an extended deadline for its essay competition that asks members of the public to express their views on solutions to the Diaoyutai dispute.

The competition, introduced on Aug. 14, initially had yesterday set as its deadline.

On its Web site on Friday, the ministry posted the announcement as “important news” and said that the deadline of the competition had been extended for another month to Oct. 15.

When the ministry first announced the call for entries last month, it drew critical comments from legislators who blasted the competition as being “too ‘a-Q’” (阿Q), a Taiwanese slang expression describing how one avoids reality by inventing excuses to believe one has scored a victory.

Others questioned the sensibility of protecting the nation’s sovereignty through an essay competition, with one observer saying: “Does it [the ministry] think the sovereignty issue can be solved through writing essays?”

In a recent press conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) reiterated that the Diaoyutais are an inherent part of the Republic of China’s territory and protested against the decision by the Japanese government to pay ¥2.05 billion Japanese (US$26 million) for three of the chain’s islands in its effort to nationalize the archipelago. Yang then took the opportunity to also defend the ministry’s essay competition.

Yang said that the essay competition was necessary and important because its goal is to give young Taiwanese a chance to better understand the issue. The elder generation has already made many efforts with regard to the case concerning the Diaotutais, the youngsters should continue to make a stand for it, he said.

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