In my earlier post on a report that the United Nations would drop the use of traditional Chinese characters, I wrote, “I hadn’t known the U.N. was still using traditional characters at all.”
According to a release from Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday, the U.N. has not used traditional characters for years. The story led the Taiwan News today:
When Taiwan’s representative office in New York checked on the report with the U.N., officials from the Department of the U.N. Secretariat said they were not informed of the report and felt puzzled by it, the [MOFA] statement said.
Although the U.N. uses Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Russian as its official languages, the decision has not deterred the development of other languages, such as Japanese, German, or Portuguese, the statement added.
The conservation of culture in countries using these languages was also unaffected by the U.N.’s language policy, the statement said.
Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission Vice Minister Cheng Tong-hsing said yesterday at the Legislature that the government has plans to call press conferences and various publicity campaigns to boost public awareness of the significance of using traditional Chinese characters among Taiwanese and overseas Chinese.
Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) also said that due to the language’s historical and cultural significance, the MOE is firm in its stance that traditional Chinese characters will continue to be taught in local educational institutions regardless of the U.N.’s decision.
The Taipei Times‘ report was more cautious:
Tu said that the education ministry was in the process of verifying the UN’s plans.
It appears there’s something fishy (xīqiāo) going on, as the foreign ministry put it.
- Liánhéguó wénjiàn jǐn[jǐn] shǐyòng Zhōngwén jiǎnhuàzì yǒunián，
Wàijiāobù rènwéi Zhōngguó Běijīng yìngyòng yǔyán xuéhuì shìfàng zhī xùnxī sì[hu] yǒu xīqiāo (聯合國文件僅使用中文簡化字有年，外交部認為中國北京應用語言學會釋放之訊息似有蹊蹺。), ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 10, 2006
- Character debate ends up being nothing but hot air, Taiwan News, April 11, 2006
- Commission to promote full-form Chinese writing, Taipei Times, April 11, 2006