A high-school civics textbook that touts the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) as a “mature, democratic political party with integrity and the capability to govern,” runs counter to reality and aims to brainwash future generations, opposition lawmakers said.
At a meeting of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee on Thursday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) took out the textbook published by Chuanhwa Publishing Co (全華圖書) while interpellating Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧).
A paragraph dedicated to the KMT in the textbook, which is designed for first-grade high-school students, states: “As the longest-serving ruling party in the nation, the KMT is a mature, democratic party with integrity and the capability to govern, and has played a critical role in the well-being of the country’s 23 million people.”
“The KMT has been embroiled in more than 100 legal cases since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office [in 2008]. Is this textbook trying to ridicule or praise the party?” Cheng said.
Cheng said the quoted content clearly did not tally with reality, particularly given the recent spate of corruption cases involving KMT members.
He added that publishing such untruthful statements was tantamount to an attempt at brainwashing future generations.
“Moreover, the textbook fails to make any mention of the DPP’s eight-year governance of the country [between 2000 and 2008] when introducing the party to young pupils, which is also inconsistent with history,” Cheng said.
DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said that amid the ongoing graft cases involving former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世) and former Taipei City councilor Lai Su-ju (賴素如) of the KMT, the textbook’s description of the KMT as a “mature party with integrity” could be the greatest irony promoted by the national education system.
“The textbook appears to have degenerated into political propaganda and forsaken every democratic value in this nation,” Lin Chia-lung said, calling on the ministry to reflect on the matter and make necessary changes.
Chiang said he would refer the matter to the Textbooks Review Committee, which was the main body charged with screening textbooks, adding that while the content of school textbooks was subject to public scrutiny, he “did not get the impression that the statements in question are praising the KMT.”
Yang Kuo-yang (楊國揚), director of the National Academy for Educational Research’s Development Center for Textbooks, said the textbook was granted a six-year approval license due to expire in 2015 and that the center would request its publisher to provide explanations or make necessary corrections should the review committee find its content inappropriate.
In response to media queries, Chuanhwa Publishing editor Tsai Yi-jung (蔡依蓉) said a formal inquiry in written form needs to be sent to the company before an official statement could be made on the matter.