For many years, I have wondered if there was a possibility of replacing the Republic of China (ROC) chronology with the internationally accepted date format.
Saturday marked the anniversary of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government’s first year in office. Perhaps this would be a good moment for the public to take a calm and detached look at the issue and reach an agreement that could be presented to the government in the hope that it would consider public opinion in future government policy.
The ROC date format is increasingly becoming a source of confusion that is complicating communication.
For example, when someone talks about “oldies from the 60s,” are they talking about the 60s according to the ROC chronology — which would be the 1950s according to the international date format — or are they using the internationally accepted date format and referring to the 1960s?
Does “92” refer to the ROC date, which was the year that SARS reached Taiwan — 2003 in the international date format — or does it refer to the year of the “‘92 consensus” — the Chinese expression leaves out the century — which of course was reached in 1992?
More detail-oriented people will add “Year of the Republic” before the year when they use ROC chronology and include the century when they talk about a certain decade using the international date format.
However, many people prefer brevity, and as communication is breaking down, we have now reached the point where it is becoming necessary to address the issue head on.
Fortunately, this confusing system has not been in place for long and if some common sense is applied together with some fact checking, sense can still be made of things.
However, if the situation is not addressed and the practice is allowed to continue, future generations will be unable to make heads or tails of things.
In addition to these communication problems, the ROC chronology replicates the Chinese system, which had a dynastic chronology that changed as one emperor replaced another.
This system has too many limitations. Looking internationally, it is easy to see that governments come and go and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
No one knows the future of the ROC or for how long it will remain a national designation. There is little doubt that using the internationally accepted date format would be a reliable and lasting policy as it would do away with the need to start again from scratch as governments change.
If the public were to reach an agreement, the international date format could be adopted as the new standard, while the ROC chronology could remain in use in the same way that the lunar calendar date format is used: It could be included as a reference date. This would lessen the impact of the change and make a transition less troublesome.
The DPP has been in control of both the government and the legislature for a year; would it not be possible to finally come up with a solution that puts this old controversy to rest?
Everyone is looking forward to an answer.
Hugo Tseng is an associate professor in Soochow University’s English department.
Translated by Perry Svensson
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) between the US, India, Australia and Japan has found a new lease of life after China’s militarization of the South China Sea, acquisition and fortification of a new — and China’s first — naval facility in Djibouti, and growing naval activities in the Indian Ocean. With the Chinese navy consolidating its presence in the Indian Ocean and building a base in Djibouti, as well as foraying into the Mediterranean and Baltic seas, major European powers have been unsettled. France and Britain are already busy stepping up their naval presence in the Indo-Pacific region. In February,
Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo delivered a very short, succinct and accurate speech in regards to the US relationship with Taiwan in November last year. This information has again angered Beijing, which has stated that the existence of a free and independent Taiwan will not be tolerated. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) has said Pompeo’s language is interfering with the sovereignty of China. Pompeo was stating the facts. Taiwan has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), therefore it is not a territory of China. The
Where is the world’s disposition today vis-a-vis the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)? Is it similar to that in Munich, September 1938 when Europe’s powers appeased Adolf Hitler over the “Sudetenland,” despite existing treaty commitments? In other words, analogous to the failure to recognize the PRC’s aggressive intent and to mobilize in response to serial CCP outrages, e.g., Tiananmen and South China Sea; suppression of Hong Kong in violation of a treaty agreement; the internment and genocide of the Uighurs, and its complicity in the death of nearly 3 million people globally via its Wuhan Coronavirus. Do these “passes” now amount to
The EU on Wednesday cohosted a Global Cooperation and Training Framework workshop with Taiwan and the US. They discussed the restructuring of the global supply chain and joint financing of small and medium-sized enterprises. This was the first time the EU, represented by European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan Director Filip Grzegorzewski, cohosted such an event. Launched in 2015, the framework aims to help bring Taiwan’s expertise to the global stage. Essentially, it was designed to find ways to include Taiwan in global efforts, as it remains excluded from international organizations. With Taiwan’s successful containment of COVID-19 and its vital role