DPP legislator spots 'non-traditional Chinese characters' on Kaohsiung street

DPP legislator complains of 'non-traditional Chinese characters' spotted in Kaohsiung left turn box

(Photo from Liu Shih-fang Facebook page)

(Photo from Liu Shih-fang Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) on Tuesday (April 2) questioned if Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu was making a pro-China political statement by having "non-traditional Chinese characters" being printed on a left turn box in Kaohsiung.

On Tuesday, Liu posted a photo on her Facebook page of what at first glance appeared to be simplified Chinese characters used in China painted on a left turn box at the corner of Jiuru Street and Chengqing Road in Kaohsiung. In her post, she asked "can the City of Kaohsiung explain?" and "Is today April Fool's Day?"

Liu then asked citizens to share on her Facebook page any other instances of "non-traditional Chinese characters" they spot in Kaohsiung.

According to local media reports, the Maintenance Office of Kaohsiung's Public Works Bureau explained that because demolition on the Ziqiang Bridge is starting on April 4, the contractor was notified to paint a new left turn box, but was unable to find a suitable subcontractor. As a result, it was missing the right font and had to create one itself.

Because the traditional character for "turn" (轉) and "area" (區) took many more strokes, the office said the simplified versions 転 and 区 were used. The contractor was notified of the error and made the correction last night, according to the office.

Office representatives said that the painting of the signs will be more tightly regulated in the future.

Since Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) had unannounced meetings with the top liaison officers of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for Hong Kong and Macau behind closed doors a little over a week ago, there has been concern that he had privately acquiesced to China's "one country two systems" framework and had "sold Taiwan" to China. Some had mistakenly believed that the characters used in the left turn box were simplified Chinese characters.

However, the simplified Chinese character version of the sign would read 待转区 (wait turn area), but the sign actually was closer to the Japanese Kanji - 待転区. Photos later surfaced of the sign being patched up to have the correct traditional Chinese characters - 待轉區.

Crew seen patching up sign. (Photo posted on Liu's Facebook page)

In Taiwan, scooters or motorcycles under 250 cc have been banned from making direct left turns on roads with two or more lanes for decades. Instead, scooter drivers must first drive ahead to the intersection to their right and make a "fishhook" maneuver in which they essentially drive in front of the zebra crossing and then make a hard turn to the left into a special box designated for those wanting to make a left turn. Then they must wait for the green right before going straight into their originally desired direction.

Freshly repaired sign. (Kaohsiung City Government photo)