Opinion\From Chinese press

Taiwan covert move fails

China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-13 07:24

Under extensive public pressure, Taiwan education authorities decided on Sunday to limit the contents written in classical Chinese to the original 44 percent to 55 percent in the new Chinese textbooks to be used in senior high schools from 2019. The proportion of classical Chinese was originally confirmed by authorities in charge of the island's Chinese textbooks, but when it was submitted to the education authorities, it was lowered to 30 percent, and the number of articles in classical Chinese previously listed as "key points" for higher-grade entrance exams, too, was reduced. Taiwan residents see the move as a step toward reducing the value of ancient Chinese culture or an attempt to separate Taiwan from its roots.

After the absurd revisions were made public, people from various walks of life submitted petitions and organized protests, demanding the island's education authorities abandon the plan. More than 50,000 people signed the petitions launched by some scholars on the island.

After winning the leadership election on the island, the Democratic Progressive Party has made public its "Taiwan independence" agenda through a series of moves. But all such moves to delink Taiwan from traditional Chinese culture and push for its "cultural independence" have been foiled by Taiwan compatriots in the past-as they will be in the future.

According to some scholars in Taiwan, articles in classical Chinese in Chinese textbooks are particularly important, because they carry the essence of thousands of years of Chinese culture. "Without these classical works, we will become people without a cultural memory and this is unimaginable," one scholar said. Chinese culture is the only uninterrupted culture in the world, and the preservation of such classical Chinese works plays an important role in continuing and carrying forward the ancient civilization and culture.

Since education is inseparable from culture, the move to separate the island's education from traditional Chinese culture will lead its people nowhere. The DPP-led Taiwan authorities should not pursue their "ulterior political" motives of separating the island from its civilizational and cultural roots by depriving the next generations of the knowledge about classical Chinese language and culture.


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