Taiwan Moves Closer to Own Pinyin System

By LIU Weijun, CND, 13 July 2002

[CND, 07/13/02] Taiwan's Ministry of Education said on Thursday that its special panel had recommended the government to adopt a new pinyin system, which is different from the Hanyu pinyin system currently used by the mainland and the rest of the world, the South China Morning Post reported on Friday.

If approved by the Executive Yuan, the new homegrown Tongyong pinyin system is expected to have significant impact on the society, from name spellings to education and academia. The Executive Yuan is scheduled to make the final decision later this month.

Supporters said the new system was more inclusive, allowing the spelling of not only Mandarin but also Hakka and aboriginal languages.

Critics claimed the panel's decision was politically motivated. Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou said using the new system would hinder exchanges and links with the outside world.

While expressing respect for the panel's decision, Education Minister HUANG Jung-tsun did not rule out the possibility of reversing the decision if Tongyong system is too difficult to implement.