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Lien Chan promotes new English-language book on Taiwan history
【Culture】2011-03-04  22:01:12
Taipei, March 4 (CNA) Senior journalist and former diplomat Joe Hung (Hung Chien-chao) has written "A New History of Taiwan, " an account in English described by former Vice President Lien Chan as "accurate" and "easy to read".

Speaking at the book launch, Lien praised Hung, whom he called an old friend, as a knowledgeable and professional journalist.

"Being a Taiwanese, Hung has always thought of it as his duty to have English-speaking foreigners know about the actual history of Taiwan, " Lien said. "He has also thought that it is his responsibility to write a book that features an accurate history of Taiwan."

Lien's grandfather, Lien Heng, was the writer of the authoritative General History of Taiwan, published in 1920, which Hung said was the inspiration for his own effort.

Hung studied English literature at Taiwan University. He later earned a doctorate in history from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Hung said he thinks that, as a Taiwanese who speaks English fairly well, he would be the only person in Taiwan who would write a book on the history of Taiwan in English.

"If I didn't write it, no one else would, " said the 79-year-old veteran journalist, who is now chairman of the Central News Agency (CNA), Taiwan's national wire service.

He published his first English-language book on Taiwan's history in 2000, titled "A History of Taiwan." A decade later, Hung completes his second book with a new chapter listing significant events in Taiwan in the past 10 years -- a period which he dubs "the lost decade."

In a recent op-ed in the China Post, one of Taiwan's English-language dailies, Hung criticized the years since Chen Shui-bian became president in 2000 as the "lost decade" because Taiwan's "economy stagnated, unemployment hit a historical high" and "the country became a house divided as President Chen continued his hate-China policy of creeping independence for Taiwan."

Lien said the "lost decade, " however, is also the period of time when there was a major breakthrough in long-frozen cross-strait ties, referring to his historical visit to China in 2005 as the chairman of the then opposition party Kuomintang.

It was the first such contact between the party and its long-time adversary the Chinese Communist Party since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

"In this way the book is significant, " Lien said, because it captures the moment when cross-strait relations experienced "a turning point."

Hung has 50 years of experience as a journalist, including stints as the CNA's correspondent in Washington, Tokyo and London. He also served as the agency's vice president and president before being appointed the Taiwan government's representative to Italy from 1993 to 2000. (By Elizabeth Hsu) enditem/ly

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