Wed, Mar 27, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Historians alter their perspective

VIEW OF THE PAST The Academia Historica, which has traditionally written from the perspective of China, just published a series on Taiwan from Taipei's point of view

By Lin Miao-Jung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Academia Historica (國史館) yesterday published three series of books on the nation's history written from a Taiwanese perspective.

Most of the institution's publications have been written from a Chinese perspective, and have often been criticized for that reason.

The three series released yesterday, entitled Documentary Collection on the Democratization Movement of Postwar Taiwan (戰後台灣民主運動), Documentary Collection on the R.O.C. and the United Nations (中華民國與聯合國), and On Taiwan Sovereignty (台灣主權論述), were published as part of a project by the institution to publish works written from the perspective of the people of Taiwan.

The first two publications to be released under the project came out late last year, one on the "one China" discourse and the other on democracy movements in Taiwan.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) attended the publication ceremony yesterday, having been invited because of her record of involvement in Taiwan's democracy movement.

"The history of Taiwan is a history of blood and tears," she said.

She recalled that while she was studying at Harvard University in 1970s, she and her friends researched material regarding Taiwan.

Risking her life under the authoritarian regime of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), she brought the material back to her country to let the Taiwanese people "know the true history of Taiwan."

Lu stressed her appreciation of Academia Historica's efforts to present a variety of opinions from Taiwan.

The president of the institute, Chang Yen-hsien (張炎憲), said that the purpose of the three book series is to systematically present analysis, narrative and documentation on Taiwan's efforts at participating in the UN and to record the changes and challenges that Taiwan has experienced within the international community and in cross-strait relations from the perspective of Taiwanese sovereignty over the past 50 years.

"The publications we announced today record how Taiwan's people pursued democracy, freedom, and human rights," Chang said.

DPP lawmaker Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) said that the three series published yesterday provide a wealth of historical material but "are not yet comprehensive."

Lin said though he appreciated the effort that had been put into publishing a history of Taiwanese democratization that focused on the former opposition parties and Taiwan consciousness, "the series somewhat overlooks the important opinions of the pro-unification camp, which were very influential in the past."

On its establishment in 1914, the Academia Historica founded China's national historical archives. Following the defeat of the Kuomintang in 1949, the Academia Historica was re-established in Taiwan in 1956.

Under the direct control of the Presidential Office, the Academia Historica is authorized to edit national history and preserve document archives and materials of national importance.

Following the victory of the DPP's Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in the May 2000 presidential elections, the institution adjusted its role to put more emphasis on the modern history of the ROC, which is limited for the most part to Taiwan.

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