The senior Taiwanese high school students' classical Chinese literature curriculum will be significantly trimmed from next year under a plan by the island's Ministry of Education. The announcement follows a series of controversial decisions to sever Taiwan's historical links with the mainland, including the separation of Chinese history from the 'national history' of Taiwan and the decision to refer to the founder of the Chinese republic, Sun Yat-sen , as a foreigner. The ministry said on its website that the weight of classical works would be cut from two-thirds to only half of the Chinese-language curriculum. This would make way for the teaching of colloquial Chinese and Taiwanese language and literature. The number of Chinese language classes would also be cut from five sessions a week to four. The study of basic classical Chinese literary works would no longer be compulsory. Instead of being allowed to choose from 2,000 literary works and teach as many pieces as they could, teachers would be asked to choose from 40 pieces assigned by the ministry. Ko Ching-ming, professor of Chinese literature at National Taiwan University, said the revision had nothing to do with politics or severing Taiwan's historic links with the mainland. However, the plan drew criticism from opposition politicians, who called it another move by Chen Shui-bian's government to push for de facto independence. Some teachers also said the move was improper and expressed concern that it would further bring down the Chinese-language standard of students in an 'e-generation' dominated by non-literary computer language. Education Minister Tu Cheng-sheng pointed out that some classical Chinese literature pieces had nothing to do with Taiwan, which would not help students to appreciate classical literature in any way.