More than 130 historians from universities and research institutions across the country have signed a petition calling for the Ministry of Education to revoke its adjustments to high-school history curriculum outlines due to their lack of academic professionalism and due procedure.
The petition, the largest mobilization of Taiwan’s historians, is still open to signatures and is aimed at voicing historians’ opposition to the President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s “ambush” on educaion, petition initiator Hsueh Hua-yuan (薛化元), head of the Graduate Institute of Taiwan History at National Chengchi University, told a press conference.
“We urge the ministry to respect academic professionalism and to revoke the curriculum changes. Meanwhile, we will keep up the pressure by collecting more signatures,” Hsueh said.
After the details of the curriculum changes were unveiled last month, historians have said the “minor adjustments” were “not minor, but major changes” and an effort to “de-Taiwanize and Sinicize the nation.”
For example, under the adjustments, the “Japanese-governed period” was changed to “Japanese occupation period” and the period during which Koxinga, also known as Cheng Cheng-kung (鄭成功), ruled Taiwan in the 17th century was named the “Ming Cheng period” to highlight Taiwan’s historical ties to China.
“[Those changes] went further than changing a simple word. They jeopardized history’s nature of objective existence and obliterated historians’ research,” said Chang Su-bing (張素玢), director of National Taiwan Normal University’s Graduate Institute of Taiwan History.
Noting that historians usually prefer to stay out of politics, Hsu Hsueh-chi (許雪姬), a researcher at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History, said she decided to step forward and speak up because “the situation has become unbearable.”
“The Ma administration does not even bother pretending to be fair now. They just do whatever they want. Their intention and anxiety to incorporate Taiwan into China is easy to see,” Hsu said.
“The curriculum adjustments were carried out for no other reason than unification, as far as I’m concerned,” she added.
Having an economics professor serve as the convener of the ministry’s review task force, which played an integral role in the adjustment, was “ridiculous,” said Chen Chin-ting (陳進丁), director of National Dong Hwa University’s Department of History, adding that the adjustments were being used as a tool for the government’s ideology and have made it difficult for teachers to do their job.
Citing his experience serving on the consultation board of previous curriculum adjustments, Taiwan History Association chairman Tsai Chin-tang (蔡錦堂) said there was an “evil side” to the recent changes to high-school history, Chinese and civil ethics curriculums.
He said curriculum outlines should focus on principles rather than details and the government should consult academics specializing in Taiwanese history and teachers before making such changes.
“I would not say that was the banality of evil. It’s been obvious to me that it was an intentional evil,” Tsai said.
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...
Police in Kaohsiung are investigating a possible murder after a woman’s body was found in a plastic container on Thursday. The bucket was found by a person operating an excavator on a construction site at a private lot next to the Ciaotou Sugar Refinery Station (橋頭糖廠站) on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system. Police investigator Chen Jen-cheng (陳仁正) yesterday said police had reviewed missing person reports and have narrowed the identity of the victim down to about 20 possible people. Physical evidence suggested she might have been a Fongshan District (鳳山) woman surnamed Lin (林), who was about 60 years old when she
Taiwanese have donated more than NT$10 million (US$329,946) to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, following an appeal for help by a Yilan-based Italian priest to save his “other homeland.” Catholic Father Giuseppe Didone on Wednesday issued a public letter asking for donations to be made to the fundraising center of Camillian Saint Mary’s Hospital Luodong to purchase emergency provisions, including surgical masks and protective gowns, for medical personnel in Italy. Didone yesterday expressed his gratitude and said that he was touched by the love shown by Taiwanese. While state-funded hospitals in Italy are mostly adequately supplied, many local clinics are suffering from
Taiwanese sports are to return next weekend, with the baseball and soccer leagues starting their new seasons, although there are to be restrictions for spectators and protective measures due to COVID-19. The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) season was originally scheduled to begin on March 14, then pushed back to March 28, before settling on next Saturday. “To conform with the government’s mandate limiting crowds at outdoor events, we will strictly limit the total number of people at each league game at fewer than 200,” CPBL secretary-general Feng Shen-hsieng (馮勝賢) said. “This figure will include the players, coaches, team employees, ballpark