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Ma calls for Taiwan textbook revision

By Li Qiaoyi (Global Times)

08:23, July 13, 2012

Inappropriate contents such as "Japanization" and "Taiwan independence" should be removed from the island's senior high school textbooks, Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said, according to reports by the Hong Kong-based China Review News on Thursday.

The comments by Ma, who began his second term in office in May, over the long-standing history textbook dispute, came in response to a suggestion of Chiu Yi, a Chinese Kuomintang party "legislator," who on Wednesday called for a merging of Taiwan and mainland history into "domestic history" and removal of inappropriate content.

Drafts of senior high school textbooks that are to be published are ridiculous, with contents severely contradicting Taiwan's existing "constitution," noted Ma, chairman of the governing Kuomintang.

The term of office of many committee members responsible for drafting guidelines for senior high school history textbooks and revising related curriculums had yet to expire during Ma's first presidential term, the China Review News reported, citing Ma.

Ma has urged the island's education authorities to deal with the issue in a timely fashion.

Ma's statement came shortly after a senior mainland official called for support for a proposal to rewrite Taiwan's textbooks, which had been revised under the former administration of the Democratic Progressive Party, which strongly advocates "Taiwan independence."

History textbooks that distort facts could mislead coming generations, Fan Liqing, a spokesperson with the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, told a press conference in June, calling for a "Chinese culture-based" principle in revising Taiwan's history textbooks to be upheld.

"Ma's resolution to revise history textbooks would definitely steer the development of cross-Straits relations toward a positive, healthy path. It reflects the mainstream aspiration across the Straits," Yu Keli, director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said.

Now it remains to be seen if Ma takes active, feasible measures to keep his word, Yu said.

However, Li Fei, a deputy director of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, said, "It might be part of Ma's campaign strategy to save his popularity as his approval ratings have recently taken a hit in the wake of a bribery scandal involving a top official who had been his key confidant."

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