The Ugly Chinaman author’s wife suspends publication of book to prevent content from being misused by Taiwanese secessionists

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Photo by Bo Yang and Chang Shiang-Hua: Courtesy of Chang


The wife of Bo Yang, a deceased writer born in mainland China and based on the island of Taiwan, has announced that the publication of one of Bo Yang’s books which criticizes the bad habits of Chinese people in the 20th century will be halted because some of its contents could be used by secessionist forces to insult China. It caught the eye on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Chang Shiang-Hua, wife of Bo Yang, declined to include a passage from Chinese ugly and the crisis of Chinese culture in teaching materials for middle school students on the island of Taiwan. Chang announced that she would no longer publish the book after the current contract with publishers on both sides of the Taiwan Strait expires in 2024.

“Bo Yang once said, ‘when China progresses, then we can stop reading this book’, which means that when the Chinese people stop indulging in the closed, conservative and unrealistic issues of the past and have new goals to pursue, this book should be abandoned. Chang told the Global Times in an exclusive interview where she shared her decision to stop publishing the book. She also mentioned that she hopes publishers will stop publishing the book from now on.

Chinese ugly and the crisis of Chinese culture, published on the island of Taiwan in 1985, was the bestseller of the year on the island. The book is a collection of dozens of essays by Bo Yang, primarily criticizing the deep-rooted bad habits of Chinese people in the 20th century. With an attitude described as “wishing that iron turns into steel at once,” Bo Yang called various drawbacks of traditional cultivation “cultivation of soy sauce pots”, which caused strong culture shock in the world. Chinese world.

Chang told the Global Times that at the time, the book was addressed to Kuomintang (KMT) executives on the island of Taiwan, noting that the interpretation of this book cannot be separated from its context and that it is necessary to have the corresponding historical knowledge to understand the meaning expressed by Bo Yang.

“Children who have just entered their first year of high school between the ages of 10 and 12 have very little absorbed Chinese culture. But now the Taiwan education authority is trying to implant a subjective sense [hating the mainland] in young people first, ”Chang said.

She noted that the publisher had not negotiated with her on the exact essay to use and that she feared that under their deliberate title of “The Ugly Chinaman,” the youth of the island easily misinterpreted the concept of China.

The main reason Chang made the decision not to publish Bo Yang’s book is that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) wants to use his book in its deinization campaign. “Tsai Ing-wen once said that she is Chinese and that she grew up reading Chinese books. But what she did was the opposite. He is not a reliable person and the DPP is pushing for de-sinization in the classes. Chang said.

Chang noted that on the island, no writer would refuse to publish their work or refuse to use their work in educational material. “But this is the ‘honor’ offered by the wrong people. What kind of ‘honor’ is it?” Chang asked.

Chang noted that if Bo Yang were alive, he would be very angry to see that the youth of the island of Taiwan are gradually being brainwashed by the DPP’s deinization campaign and resist reunification between the two shores.

“He told me more than once that ‘the time of’ Taiwan independence ‘is the time of reunification,” Chang said.

Chang noted that compared to the people of Taiwan who rarely speak of Bo Yang, except to misinterpret his work and slander China on the mainland, Chinese ugly and the crisis of Chinese culture has always been a bestseller.

“In the past, mainlanders said that residents of Taiwan were very literate. But now it may be the other way around, because under the brainwashing of Taiwanese independence education by DPP authorities, Taiwanese youth have grown short. sighted and caring only for themselves. The government has only educated a generation of unnecessary young people. Chang remarked.

Times have changed and the continent has grown so much in recent years. Chang said that “The last time I went to the mainland was in 2019. Compared to the 1980s, I saw more smiles on people’s faces. What touched me the most, these are the taxi drivers. They were so warm to offer their help. I can feel their happiness and confidence in them, “Chang said.

As the mainland grows rapidly, some people on the island of Taiwan are acting exactly like what Bo Yang criticized in his book. For example, Chen Shih-chung, the head of Taiwan’s health authority, was criticized for violating prevention measures and for eating and drinking with a group of people. “He’s totally the ugliest Chinese Bo Yang criticized in his book,” Chang said.

According to local media on the island, the DPP pushed for the “anti-infiltration law” which came into effect to create “green terror” and hamper cross-strait trade. Chang also fears that she may become the target of attacks by the DPP for her cooperation with publishers on the mainland.

When asked if she was worried about her personal safety while also strongly exposing the true nature of the DPP, Chang replied that this was why she was willing to speak to the media. “According to the unscrupulous nature of the DPP, speaking loudly in the media is a kind of self-protection,” she said.

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