Thu, Dec 16, 2010 - Page 2 News List

History institution president quizzed

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTER

Whether the head of Academia Historica was kept aware of the names to included in a “most influential” people poll — used to celebrate the Republic of China’s centential anniversary next year and included two late Chinese communist leaders — was thrown into question yesterday.

Infuriated lawmakers grilled Academia Historica President Lin Man-houng (林滿紅) in the legislature after embarrassed officials hastily shutdown an official Web site carrying the poll last week.

In rare agreement, lawmakers from both parties apparently did not accept Lin’s insistence that she was too busy to read a document that personally approved the inclusion of Chinese Communist Party leaders Mao Zedong (毛澤東) and Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平).

In the heated session led by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), Lin was asked whether she was aware of the names included in the poll. Lin replied that she was not.

“Do you agree that untruthful people should not become historians?” Kuan asked. “Then it must be true that historians cannot lie. If found to be lying, it would diminish their standing, is that correct?”

“Then how would you explain … a sentence on this official -document that shows [you] approved of the list of names included as part of the poll on the Web site,” Kuan said, after revealing a sheet of papers acquired from the institution.

On the documents was a signature from Lin confirming that the “input of a listing on 100 of the republic’s most important people has already received approval from the institution’s president.”

Lawmakers claimed it as evidence that Lin lied during an earlier part of the questioning.

However, when asked by Kuan whether the revelation meant she was unfit for her job, Lin replied that she believed there were “other qualifications” that were required to be appointed head of the institution.

Citing a heavy workload, she insisted that she was not aware of the content of the document and denied she lied during the session.

The committee later approved a motion tabled by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) to forward Lin and other officials from the Academia Historica to the Control Yuan for impeachment.

An senior official at Academia Historica has since been demoted over the incident, which reportedly earned the institution a rebuke from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

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