National Chengchi University students yesterday boycotted the university’s controversial school anthem at the university’s Culture Cup choir competition, in which the school anthem is a required song.
The school anthem’s lyrics, panned by critics as a propaganda piece for “party-state ideology,” was written in the 1940s by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member Chen Kuo-fu (陳國府) and contains passages such as: “Implementing the Three Principles of the People is our party’s mission,” and “Building the Republic of China is our party’s responsibility.”
At least four departmental choirs boycotted the school anthem by singing a vowel in lieu of certain lyrics, or by not singing at all. One department’s choir omitted the word “party” from its rendition of the anthem.
Several choirs held banners bearing the slogan, “Hey, give us back the school anthem we made,” referring to an alternative anthem that the university’s administration rejected.
“We call on the university to stop resisting change, and restore to the students the right to manage the competition and the right to choose the school anthem,” said Lin Pei-yu (林佩諭), deputy director of the Student Rights Department at the National Chengchi University Student Association, which had protested against the school anthem yesterday morning.
Event organizers had attempted to allow choirs to sing either the controversial school anthem, or the tentative new anthem, Pilot (領航), composed by a member of the university, Culture Cup convener Liu Chih-chia (劉芝嘉) said.
The school ultimately rejected the organizers’ proposal, citing purported “procedural errors,” Liu said, adding that she is “extremely displeased” with the decision and that she supports the boycott.
Although the university had referred a motion to abolish the school anthem’s lyrics to the university affairs board, those measures are not enough to satisfy the student organization, said Yang Tzu-hsien (楊子賢), spokesman for the Wildfire Front, the student group that initiated the boycott in October.
“We had hoped the school would respond positively to the demands of the university department choirs boycotting the school anthem [in a timely manner] by dealing with the issue in the university affairs board meeting before the Culture Cup event. However, it only now decides to pass the issue ‘to be addressed by the board,’ which is tantamount to ignoring the concerned members of the student body and faculty by pretending to do something about it,” Yang said.
During the past decade, the anthem survived nine attempts to abolish it by members of the school’s board of university affairs.