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Increasing cultural exchanges across the Taiwan Straits demonstrate the vitality of Chinese culture, Huang Zhixian, president of the All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots, said on Tuesday.
The hearts of people on both sides of the Straits continued to beat together during the years when contact was banned because they are culturally connected, he said at the opening of the two-day Forum of Chinese Culture that kicked off on Tuesday at Peking University in Beijing.
Since the 1980s, communication has resumed and cultural exchanges have increased, he said. He added, however, that the efforts of people agitating for Taiwan independence have intensified in the cultural field.
But such political means cannot stand in the way of cross-Straits exchanges, he said at the forum, which was attended by about 300 scholars from both sides of the Straits.
In August, the island authority passed a draft on history education that requires, starting next year, that the history curriculum for senior high school students will be divided into three regions - Taiwan, East Asia and the world - abandoning the three current categories: Taiwan, the Chinese mainland and the world.
The new proposal suggests that mainland history is "foreign", while the history of the island is the history of "the country", said Chi Kuang-yu, professor of politics at National Taiwan Normal University of Taiwan.
The China content has also been greatly reduced and will no longer be told chronologically by dynastic periods but rather in thematic units, according to the draft.
That kind of change "will poison the minds of the young generation on the island and is intended to make the young people forget their origins, the connection to the mainland", he said.
Zhu Songling, a professor specializing in Taiwan studies at Beijing Union University, said even if the island authority downgrades the Chinese mainland in history education, it cannot change the fact that both sides belong to the Chinese nation.
He said the new approach might mislead young people, creating conflicts between what they learn in textbooks and what they see in practice as cross-Straits exchanges deepen.