National Tsing Hua University’s Institute of Sociology and National Taipei University’s sociology department on Saturday took the unprecedented step of calling a week-long moratorium on all classes in support of students protesting inside and outside the legislature.
“The institute is always there whenever society needs it... Our students have been fighting on the frontline for justice and for society, and they do not show even an ounce of fear in the face of violence from the state apparatus,” institute director Yao Jen-to (姚人多) said in an open letter to students.
“Our only request is that all of you try to stay safe,” Yao said, adding that normal classes would resume once the government made a “satisfactory response” to the students’ demands.
Yao issued the moratorium four days after a group of students occupied the legislative chamber in protest against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus’ move to send the cross-strait service trade agreement directly to a second reading on Monday last week.
One of the movement’s leaders, Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), is a student at the institute.
Yao and several professors from the institute, including Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉), Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) and Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), have been rallying outside the building for the past few days.
The occupation is expected to continue, particularly after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) reiterated his determination yesterday morning to bring into effect an “agreement that will do more good than harm” and said the legislative siege should not be tolerated.
National Taipei University’s sociology department dean Tsai Ming-Chang (蔡明璋) announced a similar moratorium in a text message to his faculty and students on Saturday.
“In light of the ongoing student-led protests against the cross-strait treaty, the department has decided to suspend all classes for the following week and will reschedule the canceled classes,” Tsai said.
“Please return to school if the government responds to the people’s call for a clause-by-clause review of the agreement sooner than expected,” Tsai said, adding that the protests, which some reports have dubbed the “Sunflower Student Movement,” was an important learning opportunity for the students.
National Tsing Hua University president Ho Cheng-Hong (賀陳弘) said that Yao’s unilateral cancellation of classes could infringe on students’ right to education.
“No supervisor of the school’s teaching units is allowed to unilaterally announce a suspension of classes,” Ho said.
Lin Yu-shan (林裕山), secretary of National Taipei University’s president’s office, said the president respected the department’s decision and would ensure that it rescheduled the canceled classes.
Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) said it was “inappropriate” for universities to reschedule or cancel classes, as they are obligated to safeguard students’ rights to education.
Additional reporting by Tsai Chang-sheng
BILINGUAL PLAN: The 17 educators were recruited under a program that seeks to empower Taiwanese, the envoy to the Philippines said The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines on Thursday hosted a send-off event for the first group of English-language teachers from the country who were recruited for a Ministry of Education-initiated program to advance bilingual education in Taiwan. The 14 teachers and three teaching assistants are part of the Taiwan Foreign English Teacher Program, which aims to help find English-language instructors for Taiwan’s public elementary and junior-high schools, the office said. Seventy-seven teachers and 11 teaching assistants from the Philippines have been hired to teach in Taiwan in the coming school year, office data showed. Among the first group is 57-year-old
Police have detained a Taoyuan couple suspected of over the past two months colluding with human trafficking rings and employment scammers in Southeast Asia to send nearly 100 Taiwanese jobseekers to Cambodia. At a media briefing in Taipei yesterday, the Criminal Investigation Bureau presented items seized from the couple, including alleged victims’ passports, forged COVID-19 vaccination records, mobile phones, bank documents, checks and cash. The man, surnamed Tsai (蔡), and his girlfriend, surnamed Tsan (詹), were taken into custody last month, after police at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport stopped four jobseekers from boarding a flight to Phnom Penh, said Dustin Lee (李泱輯),
‘ORDINARY PEOPLE’: A man watching Taiwanese military drills said that there would be nothing anyone could do if the situation escalates in the Taiwan Strait Many people in Taiwan look upon China’s military exercises over the past week with calm resignation, doubting that war is imminent and if anything, feeling pride in their nation’s determination to defend itself. After a visit to Taiwan last week by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, China has sent ships and aircraft across an unofficial buffer between Taiwan and China’s coast and missiles over Taipei and into waters surrounding the nation since Thursday last week. However, Rosa Chang, proudly watching her son take part in Taiwanese military exercises that included dozens of howitzers firing shells into the Taiwan Strait off
TRICKED INTO MOVING: Local governments in China do not offer any help, and Taiwanese there must compete with Chinese in an unfamiliar setting, a researcher said Beijing’s incentives for Taiwanese businesspeople to invest in China are only intended to lure them across the Taiwan Strait, after which they receive no real support, an expert said on Sunday. Over the past few years, Beijing has been offering a number of incentives that “benefit Taiwanese in name, while benefiting China in reality,” a cross-strait affairs expert said on condition of anonymity. Strategies such as the “31 incentives” are intended to lure Taiwanese talent, capital and technology to help address China’s economic issues while also furthering its “united front” efforts, they said. Local governments in China do not offer much practical