School songs at two Taiwanese government-funded taishang (a term used for Taiwanese businesspeople working abroad) schools in China reflected a serious national identity problem, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.
The school song of the taishang school in Shanghai described China as the “motherland” while the school song of the Dongguan taishang school in Guangdong Province contains the words “working together to establish a great China (共創大中華),” DPP legislators Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) and Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) told a press conference.
The schools were among three taishang schools in China that provide education to almost 4,000 children of Taiwanese businesspeople and received more than NT$100 million (US$3.38 million) a year from the Ministry of Education.
“The ministry sponsored the schools in the hope of helping -Taiwanese children retain their Taiwanese identity. That was why the lyrics are unacceptable,” Chen said.
Even more unbelievable, she said, was that the writer of the lyrics for the Shanghai school song was a retired principal of an elementary school in New Taipei City (新北市), while the ministry said that the school songs were “out of its jurisdiction.”
Chen said the DPP demanded that the ministry take immediate action to review the schools’ practices and its sponsorship, adding that the third school — Huadong taishang school — did not have lyrics with political implications in its school song, which showed that the practice was not compulsory.
The schools have already made concessions to Beijing because students do not sing the national anthem of the Republic of China (ROC) and the schools do not fly the ROC flag, Huang said.
Despite the schools being allowed to use Taiwanese textbooks, he added, references to the ROC and the names of government agencies are taken out.
If the schools did not rewrite the controversial lyrics, Huang said he would demand the ministry cut its sponsorship of the schools.