Wed, Aug 19, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Student protesters return from walk across nation

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Students Hsu Kuan-tse, left, and Chou Tzu-hsiang, accompanied by supporters, walk through downtown Taipei yesterday on the final leg of a nationwide walking tour to protest changes to high-school curriculum guidelines.

Photo: Weng Yu-huang, Taipei Times

Two student-rights advocates returned to the main site of protests over high-school curriculum guideline changes yesterday, completing a national walking tour to highlight the issue.

Hsu Kuan-tse (許冠澤) and Chou Tzu-hsiang (周子翔) led a parade of students and rights advocates in front of the Ministry of Education building for the final leg of the tour, shouting: “Reject black box procedures”; “Oppose brain-washing education”; and “Students are not idiots” as they marched in pouring rain to the ministry gates.

“I have already given up on ministry officials — no matter what you say, they do not listen,” Hsu said. “Eventually, when we grow up, we will take over [their] positions and do a better job.”

Hsu said that while he had kept his word, finishing a nationwide walk, Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa (吳思華) had broken his promise to publicize the names of members of the committee that approved controversial “fine-tuning” of social studies guidelines.

At an Aug. 3 meeting with student leaders, Wu said he would publicize the names within 10 days, if the committee members gave their consent.

Hsu last week attempted to meet Wu at a summer school promotional event Wu was to attend at an elementary school in Jian Township (吉安) in Hualien, but Wu canceled his participation after hearing that student-rights advocates would be there.

Chou said that after completing the tour he feels like he has “fully experienced life’s hardships,” adding that he plans to focus on promoting student activism in schools and prepare for college entrance exams next year.

The pair began their tour from the ministry’s gate on July 23, walking an average of 10 to 14 hours a day, covering 1,100km, they said, adding that they presented petitions to city and county governments to oppose the guidelines.

According to media reports, they were followed by police throughout their tour, during which they staged protests, including the disruption of a ceremony for National Kaohsiung Normal University president Wu Lien-shang (吳連賞), who was reportedly on the committee that approved the guidelines.

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