Tue, Aug 10, 2004 - Page 8 News List

The slippery slope leads to China

By Southern Taiwan Society and Union of Taiwan Teachers

Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), recently said that: "In order to promote cross-strait cultural and educational exchanges, the council will talk with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and related bodies about the idea of allowing Chinese students to study in Taiwan." The first step, he added, is to approve the enrollment of Chinese students in Taiwanese universities.

What kind of cultural and educational exchanges does Taiwan need to promote with China? Chinese history and literature make up a large proportion of our education system, starting from elementary schools and continue right up through to university.A plan to establish a graduate institute in Taiwanese history and a department of Taiwanese literature at National Cheng Kung and National Sun Yat-sen universities was rejected by pro-unification Mainlander professors on those campuses. In contrast, China understands Taiwan very well and the amount of Chinese publications in the history of Taiwanese literature surpasses our own at least five fold. Taiwan's university departments which carry Taiwanese literature even go so far as to use Chinese text books on the history of Taiwanese literature.

For the purpose of "understanding Taiwan," China's Xiamen University has expanded its Institute of Taiwan Studies (now called the College of Taiwan Studies) and is now subdivided into five institutes: Taiwanese politics, economics, history, literature, and cross-strait relations. Politicians here may not realize their political networks, interpersonal communications and social relationship are of interest to Chinese researchers. China even conducts "studies" into the daily travel habits of all Taiwan's military officers with the rank of colonel and above.

With this kind of interconnection of culture, and education, why bother with any further plan to "increase cross-strait cultural and educational exchanges?" In recent years, there has been a substantial migration of Taiwanese students to China, and many Taiwanese professors have also been eager to teach in China.

Thus, voices calling for the recognition of Chinese university diplomas are becoming louder, so the reason why the MOE has opened the doors to Chinese students is clear. With such a trend already occurring, why would Wu still want to pave the way for recognizing diplomas granted by Chinese universities?

When former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) proposed the "special state-to-state" dictum, students in Chinese universities were exasperated by it. One Chinese newspaper headline read: "Our missiles can now target Lee Teng-hui's office desk." Two years ago, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) once again asserted that there is "one country on either side" of the Taiwan Strait, and as a consequence, threatening, anti-Taiwan slogans became commonplace on Chinese Web sites. Many Taiwanese students, when talking with their Chinese counterparts overseas, often hear statements like "Taiwan has long been a part of China" and say many of them believe Taiwan and China must be "reunited."

After the Tiananmen Square Massacre, many Chinese officials believed that "safeguarding national integrity" would best be served by restoring military training courses in college, middle schools, and even elementary schools. While receiving this kind of training in the past, the young had to wear military uniforms, sing songs about the People's Liberation Army and adorn themselves with red scarves to signify fresh blood of China's revolutionary heros -- all to pay homage to the Chinese Communist Party.

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