Chen says he's openminded when it comes to history

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Nov 19, 2004 - Page 3

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) urged the public to be open-minded when reviewing the country's history, saying that to seek the truth of Taiwan's history is not equal to desinicization nor an act of independence.

"As the 11th president of the Republic of China [ROC], I support Chinese culture and respect the revolution of history," he said. "And I cannot and will not interfere with the editing and compilation of history by professionals."

Chen said that he recognizes and approves of Chinese culture, but emphasized that Chinese culture does not equal to Sinicization. He said this is a point that many people can understand.

Chen made the remarks while attending the Chinese Cultural Revival sports carnival.

He pointed out that as president and one of the 23 million people in the country, he -- as well as other administration officials -- has the utmost respect for historical evolution and no value differentiation.

Chen rejected accusations by opposition parties that the Ministry of Education's attempts to change the syllabus of high-school history textbooks is politically motivated and aimed at moving toward Tai-wan's independence.

He said those who think that rewriting the curriculum is an act of disrespect toward the nation's ancestors or who want the minister of education to resign are regrettable.

Chen said he hoped that those politicians who are trying to benefit from creating controversy should not make an issue of the guidelines for the high-school history curriculum.

Meanwhile, Examination Yuan member Lin Yu-ti (林玉體), who told the media that Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) should not be labeled the nation's founding father, continued to defend his remarks yesterday, saying that he has to be loyal to his conscience and responsibly rectify Taiwan's history.

"Sun was one of the four biggest rebel bandits wanted by the Manchu Dynasty," Lin said during a TV interview. "If he could be venerated as a founding father, why not the other three bandits?"

Lin said he did not regret raising the issue during the legislative election campaign.

"They [pan-blue parties' supporters and candidates] threw eggs at my portrait. What a waste," he said.

"I will not withdraw just because of those political clowns' behavior," he said.

Asked by reporters whether he will campaign for pan-green candidates to further push his ideas about Taiwan's history, Lin said that he is fighting for a review of history, which had been spoiled by five decades of KMT rule, not to serve any particular political party.