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1920s movement helped ground Taiwan's culture: minister

2017/10/17 20:13:30

Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君, left)

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said Tuesday that a cultural and intellectual movement in the 1920s, which was driven by the Taiwanese Cultural Association, was major contributor to cultural enlightenment in Taiwan.

Speaking at the opening of a Taiwan Culture Day event, Cheng said the association was established by a group of young people on Oct. 17, 1921 with the goal of building and promoting Taiwanese culture.

Over time, it set up small libraries around Taiwan, arranged film-screening tours, published newspapers, promoted formal education, and introduced Western scientific knowledge to the country, Cheng said.

"It was the first cultural enlightenment movement that originated in Taiwan," she said, noting that the founding members included Chiang Wei-shui (蔣渭水), Lin Hsien-tang (林獻堂) and Tsai Pei-huo (蔡培火).

During the period of Japanese colonization, the movement helped ground Taiwanese in their own culture and made them realize that they were in charge of their own lives, Cheng said.

In 2001, then President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) designated Oct. 17 as Taiwan Culture Day, in part to commemorate the movement led by the Taiwanese Cultural Association.

Cheng said that young Taiwanese today, like those in the 1920s, are also driving cultural changes though literature, art, films and music, and are telling their stories in their own way.

She cited the popular TV series "The Teenage Psychic" and the dark comedy "The Great Buddha+" as examples of the efforts of the modern day movement.

Over the past year, Cheng said, her ministry has been focused on the preservation of cultural assets and has been working to reconstruct Taiwan's history in areas such as art, literature, music and architecture, to lay a stronger foundation for cultural development.

Also speaking at the Culture Day ceremony, writer Lin Chi-yang (林淇瀁), better known by his pen name Hsiang Yang (向陽), said it was not only a day to commemorate the contributions of the Taiwanese Cultural Association, but also for people to think about how they could help revitalize Taiwanese culture in the 21st century.

He said the 2014 Sunflower Student Movement had a great impact on Taiwan's political and social scene and he hoped to see the emergence of a "sunflower" generation in the cultural sector.

In celebration of Taiwan Culture Day, 147 museums and cultural venues around Taiwan, including the National Palace Museum, were allowing visitors free admission on Tuesday.

(By Christie Chen)