Taiwan President clarifies his view on Chinese character
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2009-06-19 06:00 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Ma Ying-jeou clarified his view on the use of Chinese character that caused a stir recently, saying that Taiwan would not need any change in use and that he always bears strong feelings for the traditional form.

Ma advocated the use of Chinese character by “reading in traditional, writing in simplified” forms last week, drawing criticism from opposition groups that he tried to take a step further to unification with China.

Ma spent fifteen minutes in a speech to explain his stance in a Chinese-language education seminar this morning. “Traditional Chinese character has been in use for two thousand years and has many advantages irreplaceable by simplified one,” he said.

It is a huge misunderstanding that Taiwanese thought he aimed to allow writing in simplified character here, explained Ma.

As president of the Republic of China, director of National Cultural Association, and a Chinese-language user, Ma said he had responsibility in preservation of Chinese culture. He should not only care but take action, out of cultural concerns instead of political considerations, said Ma.

China used to promote simplified character to cut illiteracy, said Ma. However, as the literacy rate in China now reaches 92 percent, only one merit, faster handwriting, remains for the simplified form because the typing speed of both forms is the same, alleged Ma.

Although simplified character is used by 1.3 billion people worldwide, far more than 50 million traditional character users, some Chinese experts have voiced demand to abolish the simplified form in recent years, according to Ma. When it is easier to learn simplified form after knowing traditional one but more difficult the other way around, Ma said no alteration is necessary for Taiwan, but hopes for more chances of exposure to traditional character in China to connect with the essence of traditional Chinese culture.

by Taiwan News, Staff Writer

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