Taiwan to Seek World Heritage Status for Complex Chinese Characters

Taiwan hopes to preserve traditional Chinese characters by applying for UNESCO’s world heritage status. From Monsters & Critic:

Taiwan plans to set up a task force in February to prepare for making the application to UNESCO, the United Daily News quoted Premier Liu Chao-Shiuan as saying.

An example of the traditional and simplified difference can be seen with the word "to write".

An example of the traditional and simplified difference can be seen with the character "to write".

It was not clear whether Taiwan’s not being a member of the United Nations would hinder the effort, but Taiwan’s government does not believe China would oppose the move because the complex characters are part of the Chinese heritage, the News said.

Taiwan uses the traditional character system whereas the Mainland uses the simplified system. Using one system over the other often has political undertones. The Communist Party believes that simplified characters allows greater illiteracy, but the Nationalist (KMT) government of China believed that using traditional characters helped preserve the “Chinese culture.” In a Central News Agency article, opponents of the simplified system

“…expressed his disapproval of China ’s claim that promoting simplified characters was aimed at helping reduce illiteracy and enhance work efficiency, saying that simplified characters are like “instant noodles,” which provide no nutrition, and that more than 80 percent of the Chinese people who know only simplified characters cannot read older, classical Chinese books.


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