A number of pro-localization groups yesterday rallied in front of the Ministry of Education in Taipei to protest against the government’s adoption of the Hanyu pinyin romanization system for translations of station names along the MRT line between Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Taipei Main Station, calling on the Democratic Progressive Party government to reinstitute its former policy of pushing for nationwide implementation of Tongyong pinyin.
The protesters called on the ministry, the governing body for the nation’s languages, to abandon the Hanyu system adopted by former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and reinstate the Tongyong system, which was promulgated in 2002 as the nation’s standard Mandarin romanization system.
Although the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) identifies Taiwan as a province of China, the organization uses the Tongyong system when referring to places in Taiwan, Taiwan Mandarin Romanization Alliance convener Yu Bor-chuan (余伯泉) said.
Photo: Sean Lin, Taipei Times
“For example, the ISO 3166 standard does not spell Kaohsiung as ‘Gaoxiong,’ just as it retained the spelling for Hong Kong, rather than ‘Xianggang,’ after the territory was handed over to China in 1997,” Yu said.
In addition, the ISO 7098 standard states that Hanyu pinyin is “the official language of the People’s Republic of China,” of which Taiwan is not a part, so the version of Mandarin used by Taiwanese does not fall within that scope, Yu said, adding that Ma led the nation down a path of “suicide” when he submitted to China and made Hanyu pinyin the national standard.
The administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) could have readopted Tongyong pinyin as the nation’s official romanization system after it took office, but it has instead treated the issue with indifference; essentially restricting itself to a framework set by Ma, he said.
As Taiwan’s culture and people have diverse origins, Taiwanese have formed a language that is uniquely Taiwanese, Taiwan Frontier convener Hong Hsien-cheng (洪顯政) said.
“The Mandarin used in Taiwan sounds different from that used in China and should have an independent system, just as British English is different from American English,” he said.
The nation’s use of Hanyu pinyin should not be made a political issue, ministry National Language Education Promotion Office head Wu Chung-yi (吳中益) said.
“The romanization used on road signs and at transportation stations is intended for foreigners... Every foreigner learning Mandarin learns Hanyu pinyin, because it is the international standard,” Wu said. “The decision has nothing to do with the nation’s self-determination or any ideologies, because the key point is to ensure that foreigners can read signs.”
“It is impossible to reason with the groups, as they are bent on politicizing the matter,” he added.
Taiwan from Thursday is to reinstate visa exemptions for passport holders from 65 countries. Mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers is to be lifted on Oct. 13 , when restrictions on inbound and outbound tour groups are also to be lifted. The following is a list of answers to common questions regarding how the new regulations are to affect inbound international visitors Which passports will have visa-free entry privileges? Eleven more countries on Thursday are to join 54 countries that were given visa-free privileges on Sept. 12. Passport holders from Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel and Nicaragua can stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without a visa. Taiwan is also to resume 30-day visa-free stays for citizens of the Dominican Republic, Singapore and Malaysia. Passport holders from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines are to be allowed to stay in Taiwan for 14 days visa-free. Taiwan on Sept. 12 resumed 90-day visa-free entry for passport holders from the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New
PRIDE AND FURY: Supporters of the Taiwan People’s Communist Party sang in Tainan, while Taiwan loyalists in Kaohsiung vowed to ‘protect Taiwan until death’ Two small Taiwanese groups at the far ends of the debate over relations with Beijing marked the National Day of the People’s Republic of China yesterday with flag raisings and flag burnings — opposite responses at a time of rising tension over the Taiwan Strait. Oct. 1 marks the day that Mao Zedong (毛澤東) proclaimed the People’s Republic of China in 1949, with the defeated Republic of China government fleeing to Taiwan at the end of that year, where — after democratic reforms — it remains to this day, neither recognizing the other. China’s national day is not officially marked in any
Adolescents aged 12 to 17 can start receiving the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine from tomorrow, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, adding that the second phase of inoculations using Moderna’s bivalent vaccine would begin next week. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that the Novavax vaccine can be administered to adolescents aged 12 to 17 as their primary series of vaccines or as a booster shot. It also allowed a mix-and-match approach. The Novavax vaccine is a good choice for eligible recipients who are worried about possible adverse reactions from other COVID-19 vaccines, said
‘CONSENSUS’: The CECC would brief the Cabinet on its reopening plans if data show that a local outbreak proceeded as it had predicted, Premier Su Tseng-chang said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) could announce today that it would fully reopen borders on Oct. 13, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. Su in the morning inspected Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to check if airport personnel were prepared to cope with an expected rise in passenger volume today, when the weekly cap for international arrivals would increase to 60,000 people. The requirement for a saliva-based polymerase chain reaction test upon landing is also to be waived. The CECC last week announced that a zero-quarantine policy for international arrivals could be implemented from Oct. 13, depending on the local