Anthology of writings by noted historian published

2017/10/01 18:27:04 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
 Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun (right)

Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun (right)

Taipei, Oct. 1 (CNA) A nine-volume anthology titled "Documenting History to Build Up the Taiwan Nation: The Complete Works of Chang Yen-hsien (張炎憲)" was launched Saturday in Taipei at an event that brought together friends and students of the late pioneer researcher of Taiwan's history.

Speaking at the launch of the compilation at the National 228 Memorial Museum, Chang's widow Lin Hsiu-li (林琇梨) choked up when she thanked everyone that made the publication possible.

"I am extremely grateful," said Lin. "When he [Chang] was at home, he spent most of time writing. He once told me that he was so occupied with writing forewords for other people's books that he could hardly make time for his own. His wish is now granted, which gives us comfort."

Chang died Oct. 3, 2014 at the age of 67 while visiting the United States to conduct oral history interviews on the 228 Incident.

According to the Wu San-lien Foundation for Taiwan Historical Materials, which published the books, the 660 pieces of work reach more than 2 million words.

The articles are grouped into five categories -- the principles Chang applied in his historical research, the roles he played in social movements, the bulk of his research focusing on the 228 Incident, how he devoted himself to promoting education and research on Taiwan's history, and the personal traits that made him a well-respected historian, said Chen Shih-hung (陳世宏), one of the editors of the anthology.

Chen said they trawled through hundreds of boxes to find the never-before-seen works, some written under a pseudonym owing to the political sensitivity of the contents.

Since the 1980s, Chang led a large-scale oral history project on the 228 Incident and overseas political dissidents blacklisted by the Kuomintang during the White Terror era. He was appointed to lead Academia Historica when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) first came to power in 2000, a position in which he served for eight years.

During Chang's tenure at Academia Historica, efforts were undertaken to emphasize the viewpoint of Taiwan characterized by a shift from a Sino-centric to a Taiwan-centric perspective in the collection, preservation, and research of Taiwanese history, said Wu Mi-cha (吳密察), the incumbent Academia Historica director.

Citing a famous quote by Chang that "the history of Taiwan should be written by Taiwanese," National Chengchi University history professor Tai Pao-tsun (戴寶村), who served as chief editor of the anthology, said that Chang worked tirelessly to write the history of Taiwan, as he believed that Taiwan's history should be written based on the collective experiences and perspectives of the Taiwanese people.

The date for the launch of the publication was scheduled to mark the third anniversary of his death.

Tai said that the date was also chosen to coincide with the run-up to the anniversary of the Oct. 1, 1949 founding of the People's Republic of China and that of the Republic of China Oct. 10 National Day.

"Chang envisioned a day that Taiwan would become an independent nation. As the two countries have been preparing to celebrate their respective establishments, it's our hope that the day for building a Taiwan nation will come when people get to know more about Taiwan's history."

Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said Chang's achievements in advocating a Taiwan-oriented perspective on history were "incredible" and had a significant impact on the deliberations that produced the cornerstone of the awakening of Taiwanese consciousness and democratization.

The anthology can serve as a reminder to all political workers not to forget why they entered politics, "which for me was to create an ideal nation for the people", said Cheng.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)
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