Mon, Jun 26, 2017 - Page 3 News List

National Chengchi University to hold off on anthem decision until September

PAST GLORIES?The anthem’s lyrics have been criticized by teachers and students who question how they fit with the trend toward transitional justice

By Wu Po-hsuan and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An announcement on Friday by a National Chengchi University (NCCU) committee that changes to the school’s unpopular politically charged anthem would need to wait until September drew fire from student protesters.

The school was founded in 1927 in Nanjing as the then-Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central School of Party Affairs to train party cadres, which is still reflected in its anthem lyrics. Protesters said that incoming students would refuse to sing the anthem until the lyrics have been changed.

Reflecting the political atmosphere in China at the time of the school’s founding, the lyrics play on themes such as revolution, shared party membership and the Three Principles of the People espoused by Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙).

The lyrics have in past years frequently become the subject of discussion among teachers and students who question how they fit into the nation’s trend toward transitional justice.

Student advocate group NCCU Wild Fire last year formed a petition to have the lyrics changed, which the school responded to by forming a committee to discuss the issue.

The committee has released proposed changes including changing “revolution” to “country,” “Three Principles of the People” to “democracy and rule of law,” “our party” to “us,” and “establish the Republic of China” to “protect freedom and human rights.”

At Friday’s meeting the committee said it has collected input on the proposed changes over 62 days, adding that it suggests keeping both versions of the anthem so that students and faculty may sing whichever version they prefer.

Campus reporter Yvonne Wu (吳映璠) cited both students in favor of the changes and those against them.

National Chengchi University public administration alumna Ruth Chen (陳盈如) said she “would feel that the spirit of my home [the school] is gone” if the lyrics were changed.

Others, such as law senior Ting Yu-hsiang (丁友翔), said the anthem is no longer in touch with the school’s spirit.

“A school anthem should not be created to praise a specific political party,” Wu cited Ting as saying.

NCCU Wild Fire head Yang Tzu-hsien (楊子賢) accused the committee of delaying implementation of the revised lyrics.

Younger students in particular are averse to singing the current lyrics, he said, adding that the committee should speed up the changes.

Meanwhile, protests calling for the removal of two Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) statues would also need to await September’s meeting to be resolved, the committee handling that issue said, adding that both issues would be handled at the same time.

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