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Feb 25, 2010

This time, a blast from the back to the future

Taipei Times:

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday morning thanked the outgoing Solomon Islands ambassador at the Presidential Office, but referred to his administration as the “Chunghua government” (中華政府) or “Chinese government....”

Realizing his mistake, Ma immediately corrected himself and said he meant the “government of the Republic of China.”
I'm no native speaker, but I'd argue that the Chinese term used here seems really bizarre and forced. “Chunghua government” (中華政府) is not *quite* a coinage, as the phrase appears when searched for online, mostly in relation to some sort of Taiwan military surplus dealer which uses the phrase in their name (though I'd argue the deep structure is different for their title).

So although the phrase isn't entirely invented, it does not roll off the tongue. Frankly, "Chinese government (中國政府) would be not only smoother but probably preferable to this bizarre formation that is riding on the back of Zhunghua Minzu. And there's no reason the good old "Taiwan government" (臺灣政府) should have been avoided here.

However, I'll give Ma the benefit of the doubt and assume this was a misspeak leaving out two words (should have been 中華民國政府), not an attempt to start using new terminology.

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