Taiwan education authorities approved changes to high school textbooks that replace "China" with "the Chinese mainland" in a move to more accurately present historical facts, Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.
The guideline also requires high school textbooks to emphasize Japan's colonial rule from 1895 to 1945. Observers said the revisions are a positive move that will present a more accurate history to Taiwan students.
Wang Jough-tai, "chief secretary" of Taiwan's education ministry, said the proposed changes were approved by "education minister" Chiang Wei-ling late on Monday. Xinhua reported that the new guideline will go into effect from Aug 1.
High school textbooks should describe the era of Tokyo's rule as the "Japanese colonial period". It should also refer to "China" as the "Chinese mainland".
Taiwan's education ministry and its committee members in charge of the revision have also approved adding the word "forced" before "comfort women" in describing the women forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military during World War II.
"With the revisions, the new guideline is setting the history of Taiwan people back on the right course," said Jin Canrong, professor of political science at Renmin University of China in Beijing.
"The previous guideline strayed too far from historical accuracy under the then-administration of the Democratic Progressive Party, which wants to weaken Taiwan's connection with the mainland," Jin said.
The DPP, currently the opposition party on the island, made several changes to history textbooks from 2000 to 2008, including toning down Japan's aggression against Taiwan and the mainland before and during World War II.
According to guidelines by the DPP, textbooks do not mention the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 and how Japan came to control Taiwan.
"The textbooks under the old guidelines distorted history and have prevented Taiwan students from getting access to historical facts," said Zhang Shengjun, a professor of political science at Beijing Normal University.
"The Taiwan people have the right to know the truth," Zhang added.