Taiwan’s anti-mainland youth deluded

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-8-3 0:58:01

The campaign to protest changes to the school curriculum by some Taiwanese students escalated over the weekend. The textbook revision is deemed as a move to pursue a closer relationship between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland.

Students who are against adjustments to high-school teaching guidelines started a petition, asking for candidates to the region's legislature to retract the new school curriculum once elected.

This has prompted a collective response from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), while most candidates from the Kuomintang (KMT) refused to commit themselves. It seems that the DPP is making an issue out of this curriculum dispute before Taiwan's leadership election next year, and is using this as a means to boost DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen and weaken the popularity of KMT candidate Hung Hsiu-chu.

The adjustment to the island's teaching guidelines was scheduled to be adopted on Saturday. The changes include references such as the "Chinese mainland" instead of "China," and "Japanese colonial period" instead of "Japan-ruled period."

Some high school students in Taiwan have triggered a series of fierce protests since mid-July, demanding the abolition of the new guidelines. Taiwanese students, after their Sunflower Movement which protested a cross-Straits trade pact, have once again stepped to the forefront of political and ideological conflict.

The protest against the new textbook reveals the confusion of Taiwan's youth over their recognition of history, which has been pushed by political forces since the latter part of Lee Teng-hui's "presidency." Over the past few years, it has become a delicate factor that affects Taiwan's politics.

Whatever we name this historical view, it represents certain people's pro-Japan and anti-mainland sentiments. Yet as Japan declines, its position in the big picture of the Asia-Pacific framework is bound to decrease. However, with Washington backing Tokyo, the root cause of pro-Japan sentiment is actually being "pro-US" and "anti-China."

Perhaps now we need to face up to any behavior that is in opposition to the rise of China. Only when the mainland's hard power turns stronger, and with matching soft power, can the mentality of "being ashamed to be Chinese" melt away. Therefore, while it seems like a few teenagers are causing trouble, it mirrors the real circumstances of this very moment in the development of China's resurgence, in which China is facing both political games with the major powers and domestic anti-China sentiment.

It makes no sense to lecture these teenagers. The real villains are those who create the illusion for the students that they are "saving the future of Taiwan" by doing so. Facing such political forces, the mainland can only conduct dialogue with them by strength, clarify our bottom line, and resolutely fight back at any political attempts to cross the line.

The continuing development of China is the fundamental solution to all these thorny problems. When we find that development is much easier than resolving the issues, the problems will no longer be difficulties.

Posted in: Editorial

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