Tue, Jan 08, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Lawmaker slams military academy over school song

By Wang Jung-hsiang and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Shyh-fang holds up a photograph of a military ceremony at the Republic of China Military Academy during a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Liu Shyh-Fang (劉世芳) on Sunday slammed the Republic of China (ROC) Military Academy for its anthem’s pro-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lyrics, two days after proposing to freeze the budget slated for the academy’s 95th anniversary.

Liu’s proposal to the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee marked the third time since 2016 that she has asked to partially freeze academy funding over a portion of its anthem that refers to the KMT’s flag.

The passage in question reads: “There is an angry tide, the banners of the party are flying; this is the revolutionary Whampoa / The doctrines must be implemented, discipline must never relent.”

The KMT in 1924 established what was then known as the Whampoa Military Academy to build a military force that it could wield against Chinese warlords that opposed its government.

During a review of the Army Command Headquarters’ NT$833.3 million (US$27.04 million) budget, Liu proposed cutting NT$3.33 million in funds for the school’s 95th anniversary celebration.

Taiwan closed the book on authoritarian rule long ago and became a democracy, and the political neutrality of the military was enshrined in the law, Liu said.

The reference to KMT flags in the academy’s anthem lyrics is “anachronistic and anti-democratic,” her proposal read.

Liu later said on Facebook that her actions are about enforcing the political neutrality of the military.

While few people care about the issue, her proposals have each year sparked a powerful backlash from certain media outlets, she said.

“We have been a democracy for some time and the armed forces are understood to belong to the state,” she said. “Party flags are not national flags. The anthem should not continue to mention flying a party banner.”

The academy should call a school meeting to decide what to do with its anthem through an open and democratic process that respects the autonomy of the institution, she said.

National Chengchi University, another public educational institution originally founded by the KMT, had changed its anthem’s lyrics, while still allowing for the old version to be used, she said, adding that the military academy should consider following the university’s example.

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