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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times History, deceit and fabrication

History, deceit and fabrication

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History provides a record of social activity and acts as a tool for dialogue between modern society and the past.

Truth and objectivity are two fundamental elements that are exposed through the writing of history. History provides images of warmth and prosperity, as well as death and hardship. It is populated with noble and honorable figures, as well as lowly and contemptible figures. Some issues might feel sordid or shameful when talked about, while others might sound stupid and make people feel uncomfortable. It is historians’ responsibility to interpret and record historical facts. Any intentional editing, removal or embroidering of these facts is inappropriate.

In a recent interview with the Japanese magazine Voice, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said that “70 years ago, Taiwan and Japan were one country, and since they were one country, it is of course not true to say that Taiwan participated in China’s War of Resistance Against Japan.”

On Tuesday last week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), a political novice, made the mistake of telling China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Liaison Bureau Director Liu Junchuan (劉軍川) that “with the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, it was you who pushed us out of China, threw us away.”

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) strongly criticized Lee for “voicing such pro-Japanese flattery that only sells out Taiwan, humiliates the people and degrades himself.”

He also said: “How does this respect the sacrifices of Taiwan’s forefathers in the War of Resistance Against Japan?”

Of these three people, one a senior, popular, former politician, one a politician whose time has come and gone, and one a political novice, who speaks the truth and who is a subjective hypocrite?

Lee and many others who lived through Japanese colonial rule and the military rule of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) are still alive. They are the most valuable witnesses of World War II, they have their own individual experiences and they have lived through the psychological process and frustration of transforming from “Japanese” to “Chinese.” When people who did not live through those times do not respect older generations’ rights to speak about their own life experience, and refuse to try to understand or accept it, they are distorting and smearing their experiences, and that is a matter of intolerable harassment.

Ko’s choice of words when he said that “you who pushed us out of China, threw us away” was both careful and polite, and compared with the historical fact that China sold Taiwan out to Japan and turned it into a living hell, it could be said that it avoided the important issues and made light of what happened. Ko clearly has not cleansed himself of the residue of China-centric textbooks.

Leaving aside the fact that Ma and the Chinese behind him first sold Taiwan down the river and forced Taiwanese to struggle for their survival, enduring humiliation and hardship, they still are not ashamed of blaming others for allowing China to cede Taiwan to Japan “in all perpetuity,” but not allowing Taiwanese to be Japanese. It makes the severity of the split personality and mental confusion of such Chinese people self-evident. Ma’s connecting the anti-Japanese resistance of former high-ranking Taiwan-born General Lee Yu-pang (李友邦) to Taiwan’s resistance against Japan during World War II, but then ignoring the fact that Lee Yu-pang was executed in 1952 for joining the Chinese Communist Party, makes it all too clear that he is trying to intentionally edit and embroider history.

Lee Teng-hui, who was president during the talks between Taiwan and China in the early 1990s, keeps saying that the so-called “1992 consensus” is a fabrication, and former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) has admitted that he made up the phrase. Still, Ma, who was not part of the inner circle, is using the “1992 consensus” as a test balloon for relations with China, giving the Chinese leadership no choice but to sing the same tune.

However, the movie The Cairo Declaration, filmed in China, places former Chinese leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東) at the Cairo Conference. That China continues to forge modern history makes it clear that history written by Chinese can only be described using two words: deceit and fabrication.

Chang Kuo-tsai is a former deputy secretary-general of the Taiwan Association of University Professors and a retired National Hsinchu University of Education associate professor.

Translated by Perry Svensson


Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2015/08/24



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