Officials are being disciplined following a controversy stirred up by an Academia Historica Internet poll earlier this week in which late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) was listed in the military category for the top 100 influential figures in Republic of China (ROC) history, sources said.
Academia Historica Editing and Compiling Department director Wu Shu-feng (吳淑鳳), reportedly in charge of the Internet poll, has been demoted to a non-managerial position, while the performance record of Academia Historica vice president Chu Chung-sheng (朱重聖) is likely be affected as well, sources said.
The controversy came to light on Wednesday when Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Justin Chou (周守訓) asked Deputy Minister of National Defense Chao Shih-chang (趙世璋) at a Legislative Yuan committee meeting about the propriety of listing Deng in the military category.
The list of candidates, which also included late Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東), was selected by Academia Historica in an Internet poll that asked people to vote for the ROC’s top 100 most influential figures. According to the institute, the poll was part of celebrations for the ROC’s 100th anniversary next year.
In response to Chou’s question, Chao said the listing was absolutely inappropriate.
Shortly after Chao criticized the poll, Academia Historica removed Deng and Mao from the online list. Before their removal, Mao ranked No. 3 in the category of political leaders, ahead of his longtime enemy — late ROC president and KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) — while Deng ranked first as the most influential figure in the military category with 90 votes.
The Web site carrying the poll was shut down later that day. Presidential Office sources said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) ordered the closure. Academia Historica is under the direct jurisdiction of the Presidential Office.
Ma was very concerned about the controversy and demanded that the institution deal seriously with the matter, the sources said.
Academia Historica said in a press statement that the online poll was flawed and was therefore closed.
“We sincerely apologize for any controversy caused by the voting program,” the statement said.
Poor planning, lack of thoughtfulness and the inclusion of highly controversial figures on its candidate list were the main reasons leading to the controversy, officials with the institute said on condition of anonymity.