Even while our debate on whether Cantonese is a language or just a dialect is still burning, the Chinese government adds more fuel to the fire:
"Hong Kong outrage over Chinese subtitle switch" (BBC, 2/24/16)
Hong Kong officials received more than 10,000 complaints in three days after a popular TV programme began subtitling output in the Chinese characters associated with mainland China.
As most Language Log readers are aware, Hong Kong and Taiwan maintain the traditional characters, while the PRC long ago switched to simplified characters. Hong Kongers in particular are fiercely committed to the traditional forms of the Chinese characters and many of them feel strongly that the simplified characters are bastardized atrocities that have betrayed the integrity of the venerable script.
It doesn't help that Chinese officials clumsily make such insensitive statements as these:
"This new arrangement will offer our viewers more choice and better serve different audience needs," a spokesman said in a statement.
A commentary on the matter by the Chinese Communist Party's mouthpiece People's Daily called on Hong Kong to "not be so over sensitive towards simplified script".
"Bringing in political implications into this fight over traditional and simplified script, and contaminating it with hostile feelings, only creates an inexplicable rivalry," it added.
The article concludes with a note by Juliana Liu (BBC, Hong Kong) following a derogatory cartoon that ran in mainland media and provides context for the intense reaction of the Hong Kong people at being forced to use simplified characters.
The simplified characters do have political implications. There's no way to avoid that.
"Simplified vs. Complex / Traditional" (4/23/09)
"Simplified Bomb" (6/9/09)
"'Chinese — Traditional'" (1/30/11)