Selecting a national anthem
National Chengchi University’s school song was composed in 1940, when the university was still in China and known as the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central School of Party Affairs.
The school has long since ceased to be affiliated with the KMT and now, so that teachers and students can sing the school song without reservation, the university has resolved to form a special committee to look into adopting a new song.
On reading this news, I reflected on how the national anthem is based on the words of a speech made by Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) at the opening ceremony of the then-Whampoa Military Academy in 1924.
At the end of 1928, the KMT officially adopted it for the party’s anthem, commissioning the music and finally choosing a composition by Cheng Maoyun (程懋荺), a professor at the Central School of Party Affairs.
In 1930, the KMT government made a resolution to adopt the party anthem as the national anthem and, when attempts to commission an original composition came to nothing, the song officially become the national anthem. It continues to be so to this day.
This leads to the question, does the KMT party-state still exist in Taiwan?
The answer is no.
One is obliged to ask, then, how is it that Chengchi University can solicit suggestions for a new school song and initiate an online questionnaire that is open until the end of next month, while the government does not follow suit and solicit suggestions for a new national anthem that Taiwanese would feel more at ease singing?