Young must not be fooled with false history

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

Stu­dents in Tai­wan have the right to re­ceive history ed­u­ca­tion that is cor­rect and should not be ma­nip­u­lated by po­lit­i­cal forces as tools for their agenda. Tai­wan’s ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­ity has ad­justed the con­tent of some text­books in or­der to right some mis­read­ings of the is­land’s history, such as al­ter­ing “Ja­panese gov­er­nance” to “Ja­panese col­o­niza­tion” and “(Chi­nese) takeover of Tai­wan” as “lib­er­a­tion of Tai­wan.”

How­ever, the move has met op­po­si­tion from the Demo­cratic Progress Party and some or­ga­ni­za­tions, and some high school stu­dents were in­cited to protest out­side the ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­ity’s of­fice, de­spite not know­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween the old text­books and the new.

The pro­tes­tors’ mis­per­cep­tion of history and lack of na­tional iden­tity, a great dan­ger to Tai­wan, are the re­sult of the “Tai­wan in­de­pen­dence” pro­pa­ganda spread by for­mer lead­ers Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian from 1988 to 2008.

Lee and Chen prac­ticed a de-Sini­ciza­tion pol­icy and dis­torted his­tor­i­cal facts in text­books by beau­ti­fy­ing the Ja­panese col­o­niza­tion of the is­land and de­fam­ing the main­land. For in­stance, they changed Ja­panese col­o­niza­tion into Ja­panese gov­er­nance and Tai­wan’s day of lib­er­a­tion into “day of suf­fer­ing”.

The Tai­wan gov­ern­ment of the time, led by Chen, also sep­a­rated “Tai­wan history” from Chi­nese history, and sev­eral text­books even claimed that some Tai­wan women “vol­un­teered” to be­come com­fort women for Ja­panese troops.

In do­ing so, they caused some in Tai­wan to have misun­der­stand­ing about the true history of the is­land: es­pe­cially young, in­no­cent stu­dents, as demon­strated by the protest­ing high school stu­dents.

How­ever, the ma­jor­ity of stu­dents and the public sup­port the cor­rec­tion of the text­books and have ex­pressed dis­agree­ment with the protest.

Many aca­demics and par­ents have called on the ill-in­ten­tioned par­ties to stop in­cit­ing young peo­ple to serve their own elec­tion and po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests.

The latest ad­just­ment to text­books was made af­ter strong ap­peals by the is­land’s peo­ple, and for aca­demic and his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy.

The ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­ity has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to pass on the true history to the young gen­er­a­tion and help them form a cor­rect na­tional iden­tity.

Stu­dents can de­ter­mine right and wrong through their own learn­ing and ra­tio­nal think­ing in­stead of the back­handed in­flu­ence of some politi­cians.

Cer­tain par­ties must stop politi­ciz­ing the is­sue and ma­nip­u­lat­ing the stu­dents. The protest­ing stu­dents must also sober up and think whether their acts are ben­e­fi­cial to the is­land.

Last month Lee Teng-hui, ini­tia­tor of Tai­wan’s de-Sini­ciza­tion move, de­clared that the Diaoyu Is­lands, an in­her­ent Chi­nese ter­ri­tory af­fil­i­ated to Tai­wan, be­long to Ja­pan. How­can the Tai­wan stu­dents be fooled by sup­port­ing the moves of one who is giv­ing away part of their home­land ?

LI MIN / CHINA DAILY

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