Tue, Sep 26, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Student safety should be guaranteed, minister says

By Chen Wei-han, Lin Yuan-lin and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Members of the Chinese Unity Promotion Party hold placards during a news conference yesterday.

Photo: Wang Kuan-jen, Taipei Times

Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) yesterday condemned violence against students, saying that campuses are grounds for freedom and democracy, and students’ personal safety should be guaranteed when they are expressing their opinion.

The remarks came in the wake of reports that several National Taiwan University (NTU) students were attacked by members of a pro-unification group after a cross-strait music festival at NTU’s athletic field came to an abrupt end on Sunday.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday condemned members of the Chinese Unity Promotion Party (CUPP) for the violence, demanding an apology and compensation for the physical and psychological damage inflicted on the students.

The Taipei City Government, police and the school have to learn from the incident and do what is necessary to prevent such incidents, DPP spokesman Chang Chih-hao (張志豪) said.

The event organizers, who have apologized for the incident, should shoulder the responsibility for the violence, Chang said, adding that the authorities should investigate the violence with fairness to ensure the safety of the students and the general public.

DPP Legislator Karen Yu (余宛如) said while she supports cross-strait exchanges, the Chinese organizers of the music event ignored NTU’s authority and referred to the school as “Taipei City Taiwan University (臺北市臺灣大學),” disgracing Taiwan and hurting the principle of equality in cross-strait exchanges.

DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) asked Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and NTU to explain the decisionmaking process that resulted in the heated protest and counterprotest, saying the incident could not be explained away with bureaucratic statements.

Separately, the CUPP accused rights advocate Lee Po-chang (李柏璋), a well-known Sunflower movement figure, of instigating the violence

The CUPP told a news conference that Lee insulted CUPP supporter Kuan Hsiu-chen (官秀貞), before punching another CUPP member, Yang Shao-jui (楊紹瑞).

Another member, Hu Ta-kang (胡大剛), defended the others with a stick, the CUPP said.

CUPP founder Chang An-le (張安樂), the former leader of the Bamboo Union gang, denied that his son, Chang Wei (張瑋), had any role in the incident.

He said that Chang Wei went to the scene to help after hearing there was a fight and there were no police officers.

When asked for comments, Lee denied initiating the violence.

Lee said the altercation occurred after he left the campus.

He said he was walking alone when he was cornered by a group of CUPP members who insulted him.

He returned the insults with a slur and the CUPP members assaulted him, Lee said.

“There were many of them and Yang was the first to throw a punch. I was fighting to defend myself and I got bruises on my face,” he said. “I swear I did not throw the first punch and I am reserving my right to press charges.”

Additional reporting by Rachel Lin

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