Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Amidst curriculum row, 'comfort women' debate draws ire

Amidst curriculum row, 'comfort women' debate draws ire

Taipei, Aug. 3 (CNA) A women's rights group on Monday criticized what it called the "debasing" of "comfort women" in the recent dispute surrounding revised high-school curriculum guidelines, urging the public not to inflict more pain on these victims of sex slavery during World War II.
"As the only civic group in Taiwan focused on the human rights of 'comfort women,' the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation deeply regrets the recent debate over whether "comfort women" were forced (into sex slavery)," it said in a statement.
The foundation urged the public not to "add insult to injury" by questioning the horrific experiences of the women. Protesters have taken to the streets in recent weeks to oppose changes to high school history curriculum guidelines, which according to the demonstrators, "are presented from the perspective of Chinese unification."
The controversial modifications include using the term "retrocession of Taiwan," instead of the original phrase "taking over Taiwan," to describe the end of 50 years of Japanese rule and Taiwan's subsequent handover to the Republic of China government.
While most of the protesters' anger is directed toward what they are calling "black-box" or secretive changes to the curriculum that present a "China-centric" view, a handful of opponents have also questioned a modification related to "comfort women."
The change describes the victims of Japanese sex slavery during World War II as "women forced to become sex slaves" instead of simply as "comfort women."
Some opponents of the curriculum changes have argued that not all comfort women were forced.
In the statement on Monday, the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation said its survey of 59 "comfort women" in Taiwan shows that almost all were either forced or tricked into sex slavery by brokers, police, district offices, their own families and relatives or Japanese authorities.
Even if a small minority of women knew they were going to be "comfort women," they agreed to do so because of poverty and in order to survive, the foundation said.
"By no means can we use the word 'voluntary' to oversimplify the oppression suffered by these women from the lower levels (of society)," the foundation said.
The foundation urged any discussion on "comfort women" to return to the central issue of women's basic human rights. (By Christie Chen)


Updated : 2021-09-19 16:56 GMT+08:00