Schools to teach
Nanjing is ROC capital: ministry
POSITIONING: In a document sent to schools
across the nation, the Ministry of Education said teachers should clearly
explain the positioning of the ROC capital
By Chris Wang / Staff reporter
A Ministry of Education circular
describing Nanjing as the Republic of China’s capital and Taipei as the current
seat of its central government is shown in a photo posted on Facebook yesterday
by National Taipei University of Education professor Lee Hsiao-feng.
Photo downloaded from Lee Hsiao-feng’s Facebook page
A government document ordering schools’
procurement of teaching materials that mark Nanjing as the capital of the
Republic of China (ROC) and Taipei as the current location of the central
government indicated President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration’s persistent
attempts to promote the links between Taiwan and China, as well as the
administration’s misinterpretation of the Constitution, lawmakers and academics
A photograph posted by National Taipei University of Education professor Lee
Hsiao-feng (李筱峰) on Facebook yesterday, which showed a Ministry of Education
document issued on Monday to schools nationwide, went viral on the Internet.
“The document reflects the Ma administration’s ideology and its state of mind as
a government-in-exile, which the majority of Taiwanese do not agree with. We
should not be surprised because Ma has always tried to go against the trend,”
The professor said the photo was taken by one of his students, who is a teacher.
“Although Taiwan and mainland China have been marked with different colors in
the textbook, Nanjing should be the ROC capital and Taipei is the current
location of the central government, according to the ROC Constitution,” the
Due to universal standards in map legends, Taipei would still be marked as the
capital on the maps in teaching materials, but teachers are obligated to clearly
explain the complexity of the situation to their students, the ministry said in
the document, which was sent to high schools, vocational schools, junior-high
schools and elementary schools across the country, except for those in Taipei,
Greater Kaohsiung and New Taipei City (新北市).
Lee said that Ma has been trying to sinicize teaching materials, for example by
insisting on referring to the period during which Taiwan was a Japanese colony
as the “Japanese occupation period” in high-school textbooks.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said the
Constitution does not designate any city as the capital.
“Ma has been using the Constitution as a political tool to link Taiwan with
China and to endorse his initiative of ‘one country, two regions.’ Everyone
knows it’s nonsense and his interpretation of cross-strait relations is far from
reality,” Lee Chun-yi said.
Under Ma’s leadership, government officials’ interpretation of the nation’s
status has been “absurd,” he added, citing the example of Mongolian and Tibetan
Commission Minister Tsai Yu-ling (蔡玉玲), who recently said that Mongolia remains
Ma has been inconsistent, DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said, as he said he
wanted to “make Taipei a world-class capital city” when he served as Taipei
The DPP administration between 2000 and 2008 reiterated that Taipei is the ROC
capital, Chen said.
“Judging by a series of policy changes during the Ma administration, it has been
engaging in a ‘de-Taiwanization campaign’ in an attempt to brainwash students
and to force Ma’s ‘one China’ ideology upon young people,” Chen said.
Later yesterday, the ministry official in charge of the matter said he would
take full administrative responsibility for not making the ministry’s intent
clear in the document.
The head of the ministry’s K-12 Education Administration Division, Chiu
Chien-kuo (邱乾國), said that during the Period of Political Tutelage (訓政時期), it
had been mentioned that the capital of the nation was Nanjing, but there was no
such mention in the Constitution after its ratification.
Since the implementation of the Act Governing Principles for Editing
Geographical Educational Texts (地理教科書編審原則) in 1997, the guiding principle for
all maps in geographical textbooks was that Taipei was to be marked as the
capital with a label stating: “Location of Central Government,” Chiu said.
The part in the ministry’s document mentioning Nanjing did not provide a
detailed explanation, for which he extended his apology, saying he was willing
to assume responsibility for any administrative lapse, he added.
Additional reporting by staff writer