Fri, Feb 07, 2014 - Page 8 News List

Party-state haunts history revisions

By Chen Tsui-lien 陳翠蓮

If textbooks were to be written in accordance with the Constitution, the nation would have to return to talk about “the Communist rebellion” and “opposing the Communists and restoring the nation” of 30 years ago, and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) talk about “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” would be unconstitutional.

Even more alarming, the ministry claims that the “minor adjustments” to the curriculum are a routine measure, but Chou Wan-yao (周婉窈), a history professor at National Taiwan University, has shown that of the 2,013 Chinese characters in the Taiwanese history curriculum, 734 characters have been changed. That is 36.4 percent, more than one-third of the total. How can such a change be called a “minor adjustment”? By comparison, of the 3,278 characters in the Chinese history curriculum, a mere 114 have been changed, or 3 percent.

It should be clear to everyone what the ministry is attempting to do with the “minor adjustments” to the Taiwanese history curriculum.

In addition to the adjustments to the history curriculum, the Chinese language and the civic education curricula are also being changed on the sly. Only now is it becoming clear that in democratic Taiwan the specter of the party-state lives on, surreptitiously trying from time to time to restore the old order.

As the masters of a democracy, should Taiwanese continue to tolerate this bullying and domineering attitude?

Chen Tsui-lien is a professor of history at National Taiwan University and a member of the board of Taiwan Democracy Watch.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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