Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝)

Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) will be the new Minister of Education in Taiwan. He is a well-known scholar of Chinese history having held positions at the Academia Sinica and National Hsing Hwa University. The Taiwan News states that he “studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London between 1974 and 1976,” however Who’s Who in the ROC states that he was a visiting scholar at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. His most recent position, which he has held since 2000, is Director of the National Palace Museum. Despite this, he does not have a PhD, nor was he educated overseas.

Tu accepted the position following the rejection of the job by Wong Chin-chu. Wong is Changhua County chief and has dubious qualifications for the position. She holds an MBA from National Taiwan University and has taught public school in Taiwan. More noticeable is her long history of service to the DPP, including 3 terms in the Legislative Yuan. Wong’s appointment would have appeared much more like that of Assistant Minister of Education Fan Sun-lu, than previous ministers under either the DPP or the KMT.

It is not clear to me what Tu’s connection to the DPP is. One source of his link may be the highly ‘Taiwanized’ nature of his research which focuses on the early role of Taiwan in the Chinese Empire. The MOE has been politically charged ever since the DPP took power in 2000. Many of its bureaucratic officers were appointed during the previous KMT government, and lack of cooperation with the DPP may have created a situation where the government considers loyalty, rather than ability, as a significant qualification.

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