2017 Universiade opens in Taipei

The 29th Summer Universiade, the world university games, opens tonight in a ceremony at Taipei Stadium in Taiwan’s capital city. More than 7,000 athletes from 144 countries are competing in 22 sporting events. The ceremony features cultural and music performances, speeches from Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and International University Sports Federation (FISU) President Oleg Matytsin (Russia), and lighting of the ceremonial flame. The parade of nations was interrupted by anti-pension reform protesters, resulting in most athletes having to enter the stadium after all flag bearers have passed through. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen announced the opening of the games. Continue reading “2017 Universiade opens in Taipei”

Government to abolish Mongolian & Tibetan affairs commission

roc_mongolian_and_tibetan_affairs_commission_logoTaiwan’s Executive Yuan today approved a draft bill to abolish the Mongolian & Tibetan Affairs Commission (MTAC), a ministry-level agency responsible for Mongolian and Tibetan affairs by the end of this year. Much of its portfolio has already been transferred to the foreign ministry and the Mainland Affairs Council, leaving it as a primarily cultural promotion agency. Its current staff and portfolio will be absorbed by the Mainland Affairs Council and the Ministry of Culture. The commission maintains the Mongolian and Tibetan Cultural Center in Taipei. Continue reading “Government to abolish Mongolian & Tibetan affairs commission”

Taiwan is called what in the 2017 Universiade?

Update (11 August): After much reporting by Taiwanese media, the media guide published by the organizing committee has changed all geographical reference of the island in the kit to Taiwan. FISU’s page about the 2017 Universiade retains odd language using Chinese Taipei.

2017_taipei

The 29th Summer Universiade, the world university games, will be held in Taipei, Taiwan during 19-30 August, 2017. Touted as a great opportunity to showcase Taiwan on the international stage after Kaohsiung hosted the World Games and Taipei hosted the Deaflympics, both in 2009, Taipei is busy preparing for games and the opening ceremony, which Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to attend.

Despite all the fanfare and being the hosting country, Taiwan is not called Taiwan during the games. The English media guide introduces Taiwan under the title “Introduction of Our Island-Chinese Taipei” and continues with “Chinese Taipei is long and narrow[.]” Continue reading “Taiwan is called what in the 2017 Universiade?”

Linguistic challenges when writing about “China”

The Financial Times last month published The dark side of China’s national renewal (subscriptions required), addressing the idea that all Chinese people should help China achieve the “China Dream”:

To an English-speaking ear, rejuvenation has positive connotations and all nations have the right to rejuvenate themselves through peaceful efforts.

But the official translation of this crucial slogan is deeply misleading. In Chinese it is “Zhonghua minzu weida fuxing” and the important part of the phrase is “Zhonghua minzu” — the “Chinese nation” according to party propaganda. A more accurate, although not perfect, translation would be the “Chinese race”.

Zhonghua minzu 中華民族 is a phrase that doesn’t translate well in English. As discussed by Arif Dirlik in Born in Translation: “China” in the Making of “Zhongguo”, the words China and Chinese are inherently invited by the West.

As Lydia Liu has observed, “the English terms ‘China’ and ‘Chinese’ do not translate the indigenous terms hua [華], xia [夏], han [漢], or even zhongguo [中國] now or at any given point in history.”

Continue reading “Linguistic challenges when writing about “China””

Charter 08

In honor of Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Chinese dissident who passed away just hours ago, we are posting his dream of a democratic China in the form of his Charter 08, a petition written to advocate for China’s transformation into a true democracy. May he rest in peace and finally be free.

I. Foreword

A hundred years have passed since the writing of China’s first constitution. 2008 also marks the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the thirtieth anniversary of the appearance of Democracy Wall in Beijing, and the tenth of China’s signing of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy student protesters. The Chinese people, who have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles across these same years, now include many who see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values. Continue reading “Charter 08”

Going back on (historical) words

When asked about Hong Kong’s “rights and freedoms protected by the Sino-British Joint Declaration”, on June 30, before the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said:

As for the remarks made by those from the US and the UK, I want to stress that Hong Kong is China’s SAR, and Hong Kong affairs belong to China’s domestic affairs. The Sino-British Joint Declaration (1984) clearly marks the transitional period off from China resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. It’s been 20 years now since Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, and the arrangements during the transitional period prescribed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration are now history and of no practical significance, nor are they binding on the Chinese central government’s administration of the Hong Kong SAR. The British side has no sovereignty, no power to rule and supervise Hong Kong after the handover. It is hoped that relevant people will come around to this.

至于媒体报道英美有关人士的表态,我想强调,香港是中国的特别行政区,香港事务属于中国内政。1984年的《中英联合声明》就中方恢复对香港行使主权和过渡期有关安排作了清晰划分。现在香港已经回归祖国怀抱20年,《中英联合声明》作为一个历史文件,不具有任何现实意义,对中国中央政府对香港特区的管理也不具备任何约束力。英方对回归后的香港没有主权,没有治权,也没有监督权。希望上述人士认清现实。

Of no practical significance, nor are they binding. Best wishes to the people of Hong Kong, especially those still fighting for those rights and freedoms. Taiwan must take note.