ROC to use traditional Chinese characters for official documents, websites
ROC President Ma Ying-jeou instructed ministries and agencies June 15 to use only traditional Chinese characters in all official Chinese-language government documents and websites to protect Taiwan’s position as the world’s leading guardian of Chinese culture.
Ma called for the immediate removal of Taiwan government websites using simplified Chinese characters, which were officially adopted by mainland China in the 1950s.
The move comes at a time of growing discussion in Taiwan about whether the public and private sectors should provide services in simplified characters to cater to mainland Chinese tourists.
Presidential Office Spokesman Fanchiang Tai-chi said that if there is a need, ministries and agencies can provide a comparison chart of simplified and traditional characters on their websites as a reference for those who do not understand the latter form.
The Executive Yuan stated that it would coordinate the removal of simplified Chinese character sites across all government departments.
The Tourism Bureau was the first to remove its simplified character website June 15. However, it stated that the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association, a quasi-official organization representing the country in negotiations on cross-strait tourism affairs, would keep its simplified character webpage in place.
The association’s primary mission is to engage in dialogue with mainland China and provide accurate information for mainland Chinese citizens, so maintaining the simplified character version is a necessity, the bureau explained.
Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun said the council would add a character comparison chart to its site, but would retain its webpage using simplified characters at present for the sake of convenience in cross-strait exchanges.
Meanwhile, the Executive Yuan urged businesses to refrain from using simplified characters to cater to mainland Chinese tourists, and to instead provide comparison charts, saying that mainland visitors will therefore be able to experience the true beauty of traditional characters.
Government Information Office Minister Philip Yang added that traditional Chinese characters are not only aesthetically pleasing, they are also convenient and easily recognizable.