Tue, Dec 27, 2016 - Page 3 News List

School event row sparks debate on Taiwanese history

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

A cosplay event at a school in Hsinchu City has sparked debate about Taiwan’s past, with politicians saying that the Republic of China (ROC) national flag and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government’s praise of the Japanese colonial era are manifestations of the “Nazi spirit.”

The legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee yesterday convened a meeting to examine Sao Tome and Principe’s decision to cut its 19-year diplomatic ties with Taipei, but it was briefly overshadowed by the widely criticized campus event featuring a group of Hsinchu Kuang Fu High School students dressed as Nazis on Saturday.

Controversy about the school event has snowballed with Representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) attributing the students’ actions to ignorance about history.

“If the education system had fully incorporated history about the state violence that occurred in Taiwan, young students would naturally be critical of Germany’s Nazi regime,” Shieh said on Facebook on Saturday. “Instead, certain political parties still boycott the revelation of historical truth and continue treating the [ROC] national flag as a special symbol.”

Saying that the students were also victims to some extent, Shieh lamented the nation’s continued “worship” of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and retired military officers’ efforts to curry favor with China while waiving the ROC flag in Taiwan.

“I will tell Shieh that he is now the nation’s representative to Germany and is no longer just a college professor or TV anchor. We will let him understand this,” Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) said in response to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ma Wen-chun’s (馬文君) criticism of what she said was mockery of the flag.

Separately yesterday, New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) issued a statement urging the Presidential Office to apologize to the students for throwing them under the bus over the cosplay event simply because of opposition from Westerners.

“It was just a student event that school authorities did not have a hand in creating the content for, as it was aimed at facilitating creativity ... not advocating Nazi ideology,” Yok said, adding that the public had blown the issue out of proportion.

Yok said the real “modern Nazis” are the DPP government, which has beautified the Japanese colonial era, as well as members of the 2014 Sunflower movement who cut classes, staged demonstrations and illegally occupied government buildings.

He also called on the Ministry of Education to reinstate Hsinchu Kuang Fu High School principal Cheng Hsiao-ming (程曉銘), who resigned on Sunday amid public outrage over the event.

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