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NCCU adopts new lyrics for controversial school anthem

2017/09/08 18:38:54

CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 8 (CNA) National Chengchi University (NCCU), which was established 90 years ago as a political school of the Kuomintang (KMT), has adopted new lyrics for its ideology-laden anthem and will remove a statue of the late President Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) from its campus, following years of protests from teachers and students.

In a school affairs meeting held Thursday, representatives voted for a new lyric that replaces two lines in the song that contain the words "our party" -- which refers to the KMT.

In the new version, the line "practicing the Three Principles of the People is our party's mission" is replaced by "practicing the rule of law is our mission," while the line "developing the Republic of China is our party's responsibility" is replaced by "upholding freedom and human rights is our responsibility," according to a statement released by NCCU.

In the future, the original version will exist parallel to the new version, so that people can choose which version they want to sing, NCCU said.

Also in the meeting, the representatives voted to remove one of the school's two statues of Chiang, the university said, adding that further discussion will be conducted to decide which one is to be removed.

NCCU traces its origin to the Central School of Party Affairs, which was established by the KMT in 1927 in Nanjing, China to train party cadres. Chiang, who was then commander-in-chief of the KMT's military arm, served concurrently as the school's first president.

After a series of reorganizations, the school was renamed the National Central University of Governance in the 1940s. The university was reopened in Taipei in 1954 under its current name, following the KMT's defeat by the Chinese communists and its retreat to Taiwan.

The university's historical links to the KMT are still reflected in the anthem lyrics.

One of the two statues of Chiang that can still be found inside NCCU today is in its main library, while the other is located in the uphill area of the campus.

In recent years, the anthem lyrics and statues have become targets of protests by some teachers and students, who consider them to be vestiges of KMT-imposed ideology and of the past authoritarian KMT regime in Taiwan.

With proposals to change the lyrics having been turned down nine times since 2004, an alliance of NCCU student groups launched a campaign in 2015 to abolish the song.

Last year, NCCU officially set up a "school anthem review committee," which later reached the conclusion that the original song lyrics will be retained, while adding an alternative version of the lyrics.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Y.F. Low)