Tue, May 16, 2006 - Page 1 News List

TSU plans referendum on anthem

NATIONAL SONG Two of the party's legislators said the current anthem's lyrics are obsolete and that they will move for a referendum on choosing a new one

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday proposed abandoning the current national anthem, saying that the party would finalize a suitable song for the country through a referendum.

In the wake of comments last Saturday by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who urged the public to sing the national anthem "out loud," TSU legislative caucus whip David Huang (黃適卓) and TSU Legislator Mark Ho (何敏豪) yesterday held a joint news conference at the Legislative Yuan to propose scrapping the anthem altogether.

They urged the public to write a new one to replace it.

"The very first phrase of the national anthem `the Three Principles of the People, our party's aim shall be' (三民主義吾黨所宗) is a product of an authoritarian age and it was the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government that imposed the idea on all the people of China at that time," Huang said. "I don't think the people of today's Taiwan should accept it or sing it aloud."

The national anthem is a song that was used by the Whampoa Military Academy -- the predecessor of the Chinese Military Academy which is now in Fengshan, Kaohsiung -- in the 1920s, in the early years of the Republic of China. The lyrics were written by Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) and the party mentioned in the song is the KMT.

Huang said Taiwan's national anthem should emphasize that "all the ethnic groups in Taiwan are equal" and a profound affection to the land.

The lyrics Sun wrote were aimed at encouraging the KMT's disciples and do not match the situation in Taiwan, he said.

"All of the people of Taiwan should be able to identify with the new national anthem and it should not reveal the beliefs of any specific political party," Huang added.

But Huang also said that neither the Constitution nor other laws regulated the content of the national anthem, so if the administrative branch opposed the party's proposal, the TSU would move for a referendum to finalize the national anthem.

Ho suggested that the first phrase of the national anthem should be changed to "Principles of Taiwan, our people's aim shall be" and one of the original phrases in the national anthem "to found the Republic" should be specified as "to found the Taiwan Republic."

Ho urged people to take the inappropriateness of the current national anthem seriously and said that composing a new one would be helpful in establishing the people's identification with the country and the land.

"The TSU hopes that people who are interested in composing a new national anthem will contact us," Ho said.

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