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Taipei mayor urges preserving traditional Chinese characters

Ma says system of writing part of rich and lengthy cultural legacy

Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou, center, and Taipei County Magistrate Chou Hsi-wei, right, participate in the Tsang Chieh worship ceremony held at the Taipe...

Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou, center, and Taipei County Magistrate Chou Hsi-wei, right, participate in the Tsang Chieh worship ceremony held at the Taipe...

All the children of the Yellow Emperor are obliged to play a role in retaining traditional Chinese characters - which are carriers of the rich and lengthy Chinese cultural legacy - Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.
While preserving traditional Chinese characters, people should also appreciate the Chinese ancestors' efforts to keep these characters used in Chinese writing intact and growing as well, Ma said during a ceremony held at the Taipei Confucius Temple to worship Tsang Chieh - the legendary inventor of Chinese characters.
Ma said the occasion marked the first time in any Chinese community around the world that Tsang Chieh has been worshipped in a formal ceremony - a move highlighting Taiwan's efforts in preserving traditional Chinese characters.
Ma said it was not important whether Tsang Chieh - who lived roughly 2,000 years before the time of the great Chinese sage Confucius - was "legendary" or whether Chinese characters were invented by him. What counts is that the ancestors of the Chinese people had closely observed the world around them, including the mountains, rivers, birds and trees, and turned their observations into pictographs, which in turn gradually evolved into the traditional Chinese characters in use today, he said.
He added that the development of Chinese characters has been broad and deep, making them the only living written symbols in the world that have been used continuously since their inception several thousands years ago.
While about 1.3 billion people, mostly in China, use simplified Chinese characters, some 50 million people, including people living in Taiwan, use traditional Chinese characters, Ma noted.
Ma said he has striven to retain the traditional Chinese characters in a bid to safeguard and enrich the Chinese cultural legacy as traditional Chinese characters represent not only a track record of Chinese culture but also "the beauty of words."
Meanwhile, Ma said, to prepare for an expected increase in the number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan for sightseeing trips, Taipei City will continue to use traditional Chinese characters in the tourism pamphlets and maps that it publishes so that the Chinese tourists will have an opportunity to learn about the characters and appreciate their beauty.
During the Tsang Chieh worship ceremony, in which Ma was joined by Taipei County Magistrate Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋), officials from the Taipei Cultural Affairs Bureau said they will continue to strive to make Taipei the world's "capital of traditional Chinese characters."


Updated : 2021-05-14 21:37 GMT+08:00