Thu, Oct 22, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Curriculum change activists indicted

DOUBLE STANDARDS?Wang Pin-chen said that the judicial system should apply the same standards to the Ministry of Education as it does to student activists

By Hsieh Chun-lin, Liang Pei-chi and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

From left to right, Chen Po-yu, Yin Juo-yu, Yen Hsiao-he, Tsai Ming-ing and Peng Cheng, pictured in a composite photograph, have been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and coercion over their actions during the storming of the Ministry of Education’s compound in Taipei on the night of July 23 during protests against the changes to the high-school social studies curriculum guidelines.

Photos: Taipei Times

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday announced the indictment of five anti-curriculum changes activists — Chen Po-yu (陳柏瑜), Yen Hsiao-ho (閻孝和), Peng Cheng (彭宬), Yin Juo-yu (尹若宇) and Tsai Ming-ying (蔡明穎) — on charges of obstruction of justice and coercion.

The office said that it has referred two adolescents, surnamed Chang (張) and Lin (林), to a juvenile court, and that it would not file charges against 22 remaining activists being investigated for breaking into and occupying the Ministry of Education compound, due to the ministry’s withdrawal of charges, insufficient evidence and the death of one defendant.

According to the indictment, on the night of July 23, Tsai allegedly shoved a security guard surnamed Hsieh (謝), who was attempting to close the compound’s front door on the incoming protesters, and as Hsieh turned to confront Tsai, Peng allegedly grabbed him, while Yin allegedly bear-hugged Hsieh from behind, causing contusions to the guard’s chest.

Chen allegedly dragged away a security guard on the second floor of the ministry, surnamed Hsu (許), who was blocking Lin, resulting in protesters entering Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa’s (吳思華) office, the indictment said.

Prosecutors further alleged that Yen, in order to facilitate the entry of protesters into Wu’s office, held Hsu down, slightly spraining the fingers on Hsu’s left hand.

Yen, an anthropology student at the National Taiwan University, said that he fully anticipated legal action against him before participating in the occupation of the ministry, adding: “We were exercising our right to resistance and to civil disobedience.”

Anti-Curriculum Changes Alliance spokesperson Wang Pin-chen (王品蓁) said that although the alliance would respect the court’s verdict, it hopes that “the judicial system will treat all people equally, and will not apply one standard to students, and another standard to officials.”

“We maintain that we simply fought for our rights and did what was right. Our actions were within appropriate bounds,” Wang said.

“If the justice [system] wants to apply the most exacting standard on students, then the same standards must also be applied to the education establishment,” Wang said.

“The Ministry of Education was at fault from the beginning, and should not try to squeeze through legal loopholes,” he added.

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