College students who want to express their views should do so in a rational way instead of resorting to the “inappropriate” act of throwing shoes at government officials, Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) said.
“College students have the right to express their opinions about the government, but they should not throw shoes at anyone,” Chiang said on Monday in response to lawmakers’ questions at the Legislative Yuan.
His comments came in the wake of several shoe-throwing incidents aimed at President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), including at least two over the weekend.
All of the shoes have missed the president or have been blocked by security staff.
However, Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) was not able to avoid being hit by a sneaker thrown by a student protesting a land expropriation case last month.
Almost unheard of until a few months ago, shoe-throwing has become a staple of protests against the government, especially among those angry with the forced demolition of residences in Miaoli’s Dapu Borough (大埔) for a science park extension.
As part of enhanced security for the president, nets have been put up to block objects being thrown, which have included eggs.
The practice has worried the private sector, which is concerned about the country’s political stability and economic development.
Answering questions at a meeting of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee, Chiang said people should treat each other with respect and engage in rational communication to avoid negatively affecting the nation’s democratic development.
Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said security will be stepped up for the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) national congress on Nov. 10, with the National Police Agency enlisted to help prevent further attacks.