Lee calls for `cultural revolution'

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thu, Jan 13, 2005 - Page 3

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday said that the nation must rid itself of Chinese culture by creating a new "common culture" based on the diversity of Taiwan's ethnic groups.

"Although Taiwan has had a lot of complicated issues since Chinese immigrants came here in 1945, the nation has been unable to form a clear and stable culture that residents can be proud of," Lee said.

"The nation has to establish a new culture based on the Aborigine, Hakka, Hokklo, Mainlander and Japanese cultures," he said.

"By doing so, we should'nt view Taiwan's post-World War II culture as only Chinese culture," he said.

Lee made the remarks in a speech delivered at a symposium entitled, "Taiwan's future cultural development and direction under globalization," held at Chengchi University yesterday.

The former president said the development of a new, genuine Taiwanese culture should be put in the context of globalization and should not be restricted to Chinese cultural thinking.

"One important method for Taiwan to resist the culture of the old foreign regime is to implement localization in politics and culture," Lee said.

"Given the fast pace of globalization, it is urgent for Taiwan to develop its own cultural characteristics if the nation wants to be respected by other countries."

Therefore, Taiwan must rid itself of Chinese cultural values imposed on the country by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

"Some people in Taiwan have stressed and promoted Chinese culture, but they don't understand its essence," Lee said.

"The tricky nature of Chinese culture is transmigration. It never alters, which I think is quite terrible," he added.

Lee also said that it was not enough for Taiwan to develop economically if it wants to improve its status in the international community.

"Culture is the tool needed to create a modern nation. Our people have to realize they are the masters of the land," he said.

Lee also added that the nation's education should be reoriented toward a historical and geographical perspective that recognizes the nation's diversity and Taiwan's evolution into a democracy.

"Otherwise, people in Taiwan would identify with the culture of the Chinese Communists, as most of their national and cultural identification was created by the KMT's education," Lee said.

"Taiwan will continue suffering from its colonial past if we do not establish our own unique culture," he added.