Taiwn student demonstrations over textbook revisions underscore growing sense of independence from China. Julie Noce reports.
Students in Taiwan are rejecting changes made to their textbooks. They say the revisions are aimed at brainwashing them into accepting a "one China" view of history. Hundreds of students stormed the ministry of education compound last week, scaling walls and tearing down barbed wire fencing. They were still there on Monday, urging authorities to repeal the curriculum before the new history books hit school shelves later this week. I hope they can withdraw it, one student said. I hope they let education return to what it should be. The protests represent a surge of nationalism here especially among the country's young people who are more likely to identify themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese. In upcoming elections in January, the youth movement is expected to help sweep in a president from a party which leans towards independence from China -- something Communist Party rulers in Beijing would never condone. The country's Education Minister told Reuters he hopes the controversy can be resolved through positive discourse in the classroom rather than on the street. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) TAIWAN'S EDUCATION MINISTER, WU SE-HWA, SAYING: "But the real purpose of education is to make our students understand why there are two different opinions from two sides and how we can further discuss the different opinions from the two sides. I think that this is a key point in educating students." Taiwan's ruling Nationalist Party fled to the island after losing the civil war against China's communists in 1949. Since then, China has viewed self-ruled Taiwan as a renegade province and has not ruled out the use of force to bring it under its control.