Academia Historica president Lin Man-houng (林滿紅) yesterday bid a tearful farewell to her colleagues after she resigned the previous night over a controversial poll that listed Chinese Communist leaders in the top 100 most influential figures in the establishment of the Republic of China’s (ROC) history.
Lin on Wednesday night tendered her resignation, which was immediately approved by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Lin said the Presidential Office did not pressure her into the decision and that she resigned voluntarily.
Lin said she was grateful to Ma for giving her the opportunity to fulfill her dream as an academic, adding, however, that it was time to go after completing her “phase mission” of serving the country and its people.
As part of celebrations for the ROC’s 100th anniversary next year, the institute introduced an online poll on Wednesday last week asking the public to vote for the ROC’s top 100 most influential figures. It stirred up controversy when it was found that the list of candidates selected by Academia Historica included late Chinese Communist Party leaders Mao Zedong (毛澤東) and Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平).
Shortly after the criticism, 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 long-time 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.
Lin yesterday said it was indeed “inappropriate” to include Mao and Deng in the poll as the purpose is to celebrate the 100 years of the founding of the ROC.
However, she added: “Mao and Deng were definitely among the most influential people in the history of the ROC.”
The controversy mainly resulted from “different objectives,” she said.
When asked whether she would do the same thing had she had the chance to do it all over again, Lin said she would if the poll was to select the “most influential people in the history of the ROC.”
However, she would not do so if the poll was to elect the top 100 most influential people to celebrate the centenary of the ROC.
Noting that Academia Historica’s additional task — managing the Presidential and Vice Presidential Artifacts Museum — was a big challenge, she said it cost a lot and took them so much time and energy that “they missed one spot.”
Likening her performance to that of a student, Lin, who was a university professor, said a teacher cannot give a student a bad grade simply because he misses one class, but instead the teacher must look at the student’s performance throughout the semester.
“That is not the way to grade students,” she said.
Lin said she has accomplished much over the past 31 months and that she will return to school so she can finish writing some books.
Lin, the first female president of Academia Historica since its establishment in 1947, yesterday handed over her official seal to Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Liu Pao-kuei (劉寶貴), who will serve as the acting president until Ma finds a replacement for Lin.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾), who on Wednesday proposed refering Lin to the Control Yuan for impeachment, remained critical of Lin yesterday despite her resignation.
“How can we have such a government official? We have way too many government officials [like her]. This is why the government has low approval ratings,” Lo said.