Fri, Mar 25, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Education must strive to promote humanism

By James Wang 王景弘

A few days ago, Emperor Akihito of Japan appeared on national TV with an impassioned address regarding the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear reactor crisis that had rocked his country. He expressed the hope that more victims would be saved, saying that even one more survivor would make the continued rescue attempts worthwhile. One couldn’t help but be touched by the compassion and empathy in his words.

On the other side of the world, in north Africa, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, in the face of attempts to topple him, was giving the order for his forces to kill his own people, without mercy. That is, one more death wouldn’t matter.

Taiwan’s neighbor, which some regard as their “motherland,” was led 22 years ago by Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), a man whose name ironically means “Little Peace,” but who preferred to countenance the killing of thousands of his own people to preserve two decades of “stability.”

Some Chinese may well berate me for comparing Akihito with Deng, but the only reason I use the example of Akihito is that he exhibited the emotional response one would expect from an ordinary person.

There is a well-known Buddhist saying in China: “It is better to save one life than to build a seven-story pagoda.” The meaning is simple: to kill is wrong, to save lives is good.

It is quite astonishing that some Chinese netizens have actually been falling over themselves to welcome, even celebrate, the Japanese earthquake. In Taiwan, too, some extreme pan-blue netizens have been advocating retaking the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) by force, and even attacking Tokyo, slaughtering the millions of “Jap devils” who live there.

This type of thinking is the product of brainwashing by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the education system in China, which promotes anti-Japanese sentiment and non-humanistic ideas. Both the CCP and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) exploit the memory of the Nanjing Massacre to teach anti-Japanese sentiment and even outright hatred for Japanese. They are not concerned with teaching the specifics of the massacre; they just want the anti--Japanese feeling to live on in later generations.

From a humanistic perspective, the killing of innocents is a crime, whether it is the massacre of thousands or the taking of a single life. Since the Chinese vilify the Japanese for the Nanjing Massacre, why do they have a portrait of Mao Zedong (毛澤東), the instigator of the Cultural Revolution, displayed for all to see — and praise — in Tiananmen Square? And why is the person responsible for the 228 Massacre, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), given in his own “memorial hall”?

According to one official Chinese estimate, as many as 2 million people died as a direct result of the Cultural Revolution, many times more than the number of people who lost their lives during the Nanjing Massacre. Some people believe as many as 200,000 were killed during the 228 Massacre. In the nationalist ideology of the CCP and KMT, Mao and Chiang are heroes, despite having slaughtered their own “compatriots.” This is a warped view resulting from a warped education system.

Taiwan is now a democracy and as such education in this country should be focused on the pursuit of the truth, instilling in students a moral compass and the cultivation of a belief in the sacred nature of life, so that no one else ever slaughters others again.

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