It is inappropriate to include former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) in Academia Historica’s list of the 100 “most influential” people in the history of the Republic of China (ROC), the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.
The list is part of a series of activities surrounding the centenary of the ROC next year.
Shortly after the ministry criticized Deng’s inclusion, Academia Historica removed him and Deng’s predecessor, former Chinese leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東), from the online list. Before his removal, Mao was No. 3 in the running for top political leader, ahead of former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) leader Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).
The salvo came after KMT -Legislator Justin Chou (周守訓) revealed that Deng, a former chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), appeared in the list under the rubric military figures.
The inclusion, Deputy Minister of National Defense Chao Shih-chang (趙世璋) said later in the day, was evidently “inappropriate.”
Academia Historica vice president Chu Chung-sheng (朱重聖) said the presence of Deng, who was also paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China, in the military category — alongside figures such as Lee Tsung-jen (李宗仁), who served as vice president and acting president of the ROC under the 1947 Constitution, General Zhang Xueliang (張學良), former governor of Taiwan Province Chen Cheng (陳誠) and General Yen Hsi-shan (閻錫山), a former premier under the KMT regime — was “not ideal.”
Deng never really served in a military capacity, Chu said.
However, during the war of resistance against Japan, Deng led areas of resistance behind enemy lines in northern China, which qualified him for the title, Chu said, adding that the campaign of -resistance against imperial forces had been arduous.
Chu said the manner in which the categories were defined could lead to misunderstandings and that Academia Historica would take immediate steps to rectify the problem.
Chou said during a Foreign and National Defense Committee meeting at the legislature that the list was divided into eight categories, for individuals who had made contributions to politics, economics, military affairs, diplomacy, society, religious affairs, academics and the arts.
Deng, he said, was currently at the top of the military category.
Asked by Chou for his views on Deng’s making it to the top of the military category, Chao said this was inappropriate.
Wang Ming-wo (王明我), head of the ministry’s General Political Warfare Bureau, said Academia Historica had not consulted the ministry on the matter and added that the the ministry would look into the issue.
Chou, who said he had asked many senior military figures about the list, added that every one of them had expressed surprise. He asked the ministry and Academia Historica to discuss the matter.
Academia Historica’s list of the 100 most influential individuals in the ROC is available at www.drnh.gov.tw:8080/.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP