Sun, Feb 23, 2014 - Page 3 News List

History textbook changes ‘fundamental’: historians

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Education’s controversial high-school curriculum revisions, which include the removal of the term “White Terror” from the curriculum outline, constitutes a move against transitional justice that would prevent Taiwanese from learning “real history,” a forum organized by the Taiwan Society said in Taipei yesterday.

“This is about instilling students with a ‘Greater China’ historical perspective,” Taiwan Society president and historian Chang Yen-hsien (張炎憲) said.

Scheduled to be implemented in September — the beginning of the new academic year — the revisions include the addition of the word “mainland” in reference to China and the use of “Japanese colonial rule” for the 50-year period of Japanese occupation in Taiwan.

Chang said the ministry’s so-called “slight adjustments” in fact “focus on rebuilding the historical connection between Taiwan and China, as well as the perspective of the Han Chinese, while neglecting that Taiwan was also once ruled by the Netherlands, Spain and Japan.”

This is part of the government’s “brainwashing” policy to teach Taiwanese China-oriented perspectives, he said.

Regarding the replacement of the term “White Terror” with “abuse of government power,” Kuan-yu (蔡寬裕), secretary-general of the Taiwan Association for the Care of the Victims of Political Persecution During the Martial Law Period, said that attempts toward transitional justice should include revealing the full history of the White Terror, coupled with an apology from the government and compensation for families of people killed during the period.

“This is not only doing too little for transitional justice, it is also obliterating history,” he said.

Jim Lee (李筱峰), a professor at National Taipei University of Education’s Graduate School of Taiwanese Culture, said he sees the ministry’s move as making a dramatic and fundamental change in education from a Taiwan-oriented perspective to a China-oriented perspective.

“As the push for Taiwanese identity grows, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government is getting nervous. The ministry’s move is paving the way for Beijing’s ‘united front,’” Lee said.

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