A current neologism in Taiwan

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Michael Cannings sent in this photograph taken outside Taiwan's parliament, which has been occupied by students for three days and is now surrounded by demonstrators:

The characters in big yellow squares on the wall above the entrance say:

Zhōngguó dǎng mài Tái yuàn 中國黨賣台院
("Parliament of the Chinese Party for Selling out Taiwan")

Zhōngguó dǎng 中國黨 ("Party of China") is a takeoff of Guómíndǎng 國民黨 ("Nationalist Party"), which we used to know as the KMT or Kuomintang. The Guómíndǎng is the party of the present president of the Republic of China, Ma Ying-jeou. The Taiwanese people are very upset with Ma for secretly and hastily signing a "service trade agreement" with the People's Republic of China which they believe will seriously undermine the economy and democracy of Taiwan. They are also angry with the Legislative Yuan, commonly known as the "Parliament" (guóhuì 國會), for rubber stamping Ma's pact.

The formal name of the Parliament in Chinese is Lìfǎ Yuàn 立法院 ("court for enacting laws" or "legislature"). The new name for the Lìfǎ Yuàn 立法院 that has been devised by the protestors is mài Tái yuàn 賣台院 ("Parliament for Selling out Taiwan"), a clever coinage that is taking the island by storm.


  1. A-gu said,

    March 22, 2014 @ 3:20 pm

    Let's not forget the KMT's full official name. 中國國民黨 Chinese Nationalist Party

  2. Adrian said,

    March 25, 2014 @ 5:13 am

    The complexity of some of those characters is amazing.

  3. Victor Mair said,

    March 25, 2014 @ 7:53 am

    True, Adrian, but there are countless characters that are far more complex, such as yù 鬱 ("depressed"), which is how one often feels when one tries to master them.

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