A potential solution to the great divide between the Ministry of Education and the student protesters occupying the ministry to protest against controversial high-school curriculum guidelines might be in the making, as former National Taichung First Senior High School dean Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) attempted to mediate a deal yesterday.
Consensus was reached at 10pm last night that Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa (吳思華) would meet with representatives of the student protesters this afternoon to attempt to reconcile their differences.
Chu Chen (朱震), convener of the Northern Taiwan Anti-Curriculum Changes Alliance, said that he, alliance spokesman Wang Pin-chen (王品蓁), four other student members and Taichung First Senior High School student Liao Chung-lun (廖崇倫), former spokesman of the Apple Tree Commune student club, which started the debate against the controversial curriculum guideline adjustments, would attend the meeting. Three teachers are also to accompany them to the meeting.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
According to Ministry of Education Secretary-General Wang Chun-chuan (王俊權) the meeting could be transmitted live online and the ministry would arrange a news conference afterward.
A number of protesters, mainly high-school students, entered the ministry compound early on Friday during a demonstration against the controversial high-school textbook guideline adjustments, which went into effect on Saturday. The student occupation of the plaza inside the ministry gates yesterday surpassed 60 hours.
The students have demanded that Wu resign, that the implementation of the new guidelines be halted and an extra legislative session to review the changes.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
A number of civic groups yesterday afternoon staged a march around the perimeter of the building in support of the students.
Earlier yesterday, the presidents of five private universities called for the students to withdraw as soon as possible and begin a rational dialogue with the ministry.
Samuel Chang (張光正), of Chung Yuan Christian University, read the announcement at a news conference, saying the group understood the objectives of the students’ protest and approved of their ideals, but condemned any unlawful and disorderly activity, and hoped the issue could be discussed in a rational manner.
The group of university presidents also said they were apprehensive the radical approaches of some students might set a bad example, expressing concern the issue could make Taiwanese society more confrontational and impair the nation’s competitiveness in the future. They called on the ministry to invite professionals, experts and student representatives to build a dialogue and find a solution, while urging the students to end their protest and withdraw from the premises.
The statement was signed by Chang and his counterparts at Tatung University, Chinese Culture University, Shih Chien University and the Taipei-based China University of Technology, as well as 10 academics.
In response, the student protesters released their own statement, saying: “We all want to return to our normal lives, but [they] should return normal textbook guidelines to us first.”
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations