As Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and the party’s vice chairmen keep criticizing each other, Acting Chairperson Lin Jung-tzer (林政則) has been criticized by the party’s Central Standing Committee for doing nothing to address the situation.
This is not entirely fair: While he might be afraid to take action within the party, he has turned to the outside world in a brave attempt to prove that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is promoting “cultural Taiwanese independence.”
The evidence he has mentioned for this so-called “cultural Taiwanese independence” is that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her administration have adopted measures that amount to desinicization, such as removing the previous government’s minor adjustments to high-school curriculum guidelines, as well as references to Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), Confucius (孔子) and the Yellow Emperor (黃帝).
When looking at what he calls evidence of desinicization, retracting the high-school curriculum guideline changes is a matter of removing mistakes and honoring the facts.
Removing references to the Yellow Emperor is a matter of removing deification, and Lin’s complaints about the removal of references to Sun, Chiang and Confucius only show that he does not understand the virtue of keeping uninformed opinions to himself.
The KMT continues to boast that Sun was a revolutionary leader who ended thousands of years of imperial rule in China, but is that not the same as saying he was the quintessential perpetrator of desinicization?
At times, “Loudmouth Sun” tried to follow the US and the UK, while at other times he preferred the Soviet Union, introducing a policy of cooperation with the USSR and tolerating the Chinese Communist Party. Removing references to Sun is not evidence of desinicization.
Chiang sent troops to suppress the 228 uprising of 1947 and instituted a highly oppressive dictatorship in Taiwan that included the White Terror era. His followers and their descendants built a big temple in his honor, placed Chiang statues everywhere and faced constant protest.
If removing references to Chiang means desinicization, then Mao Zedong (毛澤東) and his cohorts must have been dyed-in-the-wool supporters of desinicization, as they removed any sign of Chiang and were happy to import foreign Marxist-Leninist ideas lock, stock and barrel.
Anyone who has memorized the KMT regime’s textbooks knows that Confucius came from the state of Lu, that he traveled to neighboring states and that he had nothing to do with Taiwan.
In Taiwan, he is worshiped in temples where people burn incense and offer food in his name and he is seen as a symbol of academic freedom.
No protests have ever taken place at a Confucius temple and the DPP has no anti-Confucius policy in place. If removing any references to Confucius is the same as desinicization, then the leaders of China’s May Fourth movement — including former Academia Sinica president Hu Shih (胡適) — and Mao, who led the Cultural Revolution and criticized Confucius, are all guilty of desinicization.
In Taiwan, after World War II, Chiang promoted highly oppressive sinicization, but following democratization, Taiwan has adopted and integrated different cultures, naturally developing its own new format.
If this is the limit of Lin’s knowledge and logic, any pan-blue camp supporter who has read a book or two more than him should feel embarrassed on his behalf.
James Wang is a media commentator.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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