Understanding Taiwan

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Understanding Taiwan, or Recognizing Taiwan, (Chinese: 認識臺灣; pinyin: Rènshì Táiwān) is a textbook for junior high-school aged children that has been in widespread use in Taiwan (Republic of China) since 1997. The book is divided into sections that cover social studies, history and geography (社會篇、歷史篇、地理篇).


Under the administration of the Kuomintang (KMT), or the Chinese Nationalist Party, students in Taiwan had been required to learn the history of China in the postwar period. Though students then did learn history of Taiwan as well, it was included in history of China textbooks, rather than independent history of Taiwan textbooks, with many lies. After the demise of Chiang Kai-shek, his son and successor Chiang Ching-kuo began to liberalize the political system of Taiwan, lifting martial law in 1986. After Chiang Ching-kuo's death, Lee Teng-hui, the first native Taiwanese president, continued the liberalizing trend, and held the first direct presidential election in 1996. He argued that Taiwanese students should learn more about geography and history of Taiwan, hence the curriculum standard added Understanding Taiwan with social studies, history and geography sections.


Understanding Taiwan was released in 1996 and adopted as the junior high school textbook in 1997. This textbook aroused much interest in East Asia. The history section is presented as "history of Taiwan", and the era of Taiwan under Japanese rule was introduced more positively than previous junior high school textbooks, with objective facts and surveys.

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