Tue, Nov 16, 2004 - Page 8 News List

New school textbooks will simply tell the truth

By Chin Heng-wei 金恆煒

The Ministry of Education's curriculum guidelines for senior high history textbook have recently been released -- to the delight of some and the chagrin of others. No matter what, the seeds of Taiwanese consciousness have been sown in the education system.

As the Chinese saying goes, "It takes 10 years to grow a tree, and 100 years before a sound education program takes root." This is where it begins.

In the larger scheme of things, the new text places Taiwan's history alongside Chinese and world history. No longer will Taiwan's history be regarded as being a subsidiary of Chinese history.

From a more local perspective, we see Taiwan's history escaping from the confines of "party-state history," breaking away from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-endorsed myths and finally bringing out the truth of events like the White Terror and the misfortune that Taiwan suffered due to the battle between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The most interesting aspect, which has the appeal of being a false accusation being overturned, has to do with the Cairo Declaration. In 1945, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) did meet with British prime minister Winston Churchill and US president Franklin Roosevelt, but what came out of that meeting was just a press communique, not a declaration. A copy of the original is stored in the Academia Historica in Taiwan, with originals also in the achieves of the UK and the US, so it's possible to reexamine this matter.

Why didn't the Cairo conference produce any official conclusion? This was mainly because British foreign minister Antony Eden was against returning Taiwan to China, and the document given to Chiang by the official representing China, Wang Chunghui (王寵惠), made this plain. (This document can be found in Important Historical Records of the Republic of China edited by Chin Hsiao-yi [秦孝儀]).

This is why the meeting in Cairo produced nothing more than a communique (even though it is often referred to as a "declaration"). It was not a signed treaty and simply stated the matters discussed. The KMT twisted history and tampered with evidence, creating a "Cairo Declaration" that fitted their purposes with the aim of making the statement that "Japan relinquishes sovereignty over Taiwan" into "Taiwan's sovereignty reverts to China."

The new high school text books will do nothing more than tell the truth. And this hasn't come easily. It has taken constant calls from concerned people to finally penetrate the lies of the KMT and the "two Chiangs."

It is interesting to note that Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英久) has not made any statement on his position regarding the Cairo Declaration. He has taken aim elsewhere, using the Shanghai Communique and some other documents as his weapons to deflect the argument that Taiwan's status is still unclear.

The problem is that once you accept the three Sino-US Joint Communiques, this is tantamount to accepting that the Republic of China (ROC) no longer exists. Ma, who has sworn to defend the ROC to the death, has basically denied the existence of this entity.

Former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) question "where has the ROC gone?" seems more than justified. Besides, the Shanghai Communique affirms that there is only one China. Once 23 million Taiwanese deny that they are Chinese, this totally undermines the foundation of the communique, and the US "one China" policy becomes urgently in need of change.

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