Decrying the strong-arm tactics used by police against protesters early yesterday morning in Taipei, the National Taiwan University (NTU) students’ association backed a call by protest leaders Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) and Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) for a nationwide “strike.”
As of press time yesterday, more than 45 student groups, totaling 3,000 students from 18 universities — including National Tsing Hua University, National Chengchi University, National Chiao Tung University and National Cheng Kung University — had joined the strike call.
“The government not only failed to respond to the public’s demands, but also took inappropriate measures to attack students, violently suppress them, hurt the country’s backbone and trample on basic human rights,” the NTU group said about the crackdown on the protesters who tried to occupy the Executive Yuan on Sunday night.
The statement called for a “strike” on four fronts: putting classes on hold so that students can join protests; holding classes on-site at the protests; teacher support for students’ decision to protest and leniency for those students participating in the demonstrations.
Ko Chih-che (柯志哲), the head of NTU’s sociology department, also issued a statement of support.
The focus of the department’s education and research is on civic participation, procedural justice and social equality, Ko said, adding that: “The department is supportive of all student-organized strikes as long as personal safety is taken into consideration, and it encourages any methods to understand or participate in the development of relevant proceedings.”
NTU Secretary-General Lin Ta-te (林達德) said the university is primarily concerned with the rights of education and the school’s normal operations and procedures.
While strikes are not the best solution to resolving the conflict, if all of the proceedings are in accordance with students’ rights of education and other Ministry of Education regulations, the university would respect any decision to reschedule or relocate classes, Lin said.
Meanwhile, Wang Hung-jen (王宏仁), a sociology professor at National Sun Yat-en University in Greater Kaohsiung, criticized President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for remaining behind barricades and being unwilling to emerge to communicate with the public.
“The department’s teachers are willing to stand by our students in this most precious ‘democracy class,’” Wang said.
Wang said the department decided to suspend all courses until the siege has wound down, at which time it would offer make-up classes.
Students in the department have voted to join the strike.
Taipei Medical University’s administration said that students skipping classes to take part in the protests would not be counted as absent.
Other schools are being more cautious in their support.
Lan Yang Institute of Technology dean Lin Chiang-lung (林江龍) said the school would neither support its students’ participation in the protests, but would not try to block them. Those students who want to participate would have to talk with their teachers to call in an absence, he said.
Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) appealed to students to remain calm and for teachers at the site of protests to persuade student demonstrators to return to classes.
The ministry does not support student strikes, Chiang said, adding that the rights to education should be maintained for everyone.
Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin, Chen Yi-ching and Hung Ting-hung
The Han Kuang exercises, the nation’s major war games, are to start today and run for five days. The drills are to include a military aircraft emergency takeoff and landing exercise on a regular roadway on Wednesday, featuring all three fighter jet models in Taiwan’s fleet, a military source said last week. The drill is to begin at 6:30am on a 3km section of Provincial Highway No. 1 in Pingtung County’s Jiadong Township (佳冬), and feature an Indigenous Defense Fighter, an F-16V, a Mirage 2000-5 and an E-2K Hawkeye early warning aircraft, the source said. The emergency landing and takeoff drill aims to
MRNA VACCINE: Heart inflammation is rare, but possible after a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot, and students need to be aware of possible side effects, an expert said As Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations for students aged 12 to 17 are to begin on campuses on Thursday next week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged recipients to be especially watchful for five signs of possible myocarditis or pericarditis, which are rare adverse reactions to some COVID-19 vaccines. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices convener Lee Ping-ing (李秉穎) joined the CECC’s daily news briefing to report on possible side effects after receiving a BioNTech vaccine. Lee said that cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed in people in the US who have received mRNA COVID-19
Taiwan on Friday accused China of seeking to use the Honduran election to “create controversy” and undermine Taiwan’s long-standing ties with the country, saying it would strive to win support for Honduras’ relations with Taipei. Honduras’ main left-wing opposition party, the Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE), led by ousted former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, has said that if it wins November’s presidential election it would seek to “readjust” the country’s debt and establish diplomatic relations with China. Honduras is one of 15 UN member countries that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has already warned Honduras not
TESTING THE WATERS: Making the considerations public a day after a Biden-Xi phone call indicates that the US is testing China’s reaction, a think tank head said A Financial Times report that the US is considering allowing Taiwan to change the name of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington to feature the name “Taiwan” highlighted Washington’s “two-pronged” approach to China, a researcher said yesterday. The report on Friday said that Washington might allow the nation to change the office’s name to “Taiwan Representative Office.” The report came after US President Joe Biden on Thursday spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) by telephone for the first time since February. A White House readout of the call said that “the two leaders discussed the responsibility of both