Students from the Northern Taiwan Anti-Curriculum Changes Alliance yesterday stormed out of a Ministry of Education sponsored forum in Taipei on controversial adjustments to high-school curriculum guidelines.
Alliance spokesman Brian Sung (宋運川) said that K-12 Education Administration Director Wu Ching-shan’s (吳清山) responses to students’ questions lacked sincerity, with Wu avoiding key issues and deliberately wasting time.
“[Wu] was unable to give an account for why the ministry waited until now to put on the forums, or where in the world Minister [of Education Wu Se-hwa (吳思華)] is,” Sung said.
Photo: Wang Chun-chung, Taipei Times
He rejected offers by Wu Ching-shan to arrange a meeting between student representatives and Wu, saying it was too late.
“We are running out of time, with less than seven days left [before curriculum guidelines take effect],” Sung said. “Books are already printed — talks with us should have taken place two or three months ago.”
Alliance convener Chu Chen (朱震) said that the group intended to “fight a rearguard action” if the curriculum guideline adjustments go into effect next month as planned. While the level of sacrifice individual students were willing to make varied, student activists would continue to express support for any action opposing the curriculum guidelines, he said.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
About 40 students had trickled into the auditorium of the Affiliated Senior High School of National Taiwan Normal University to listen to a report on the adjustments by ministry officials, the majority of them alliance students wearing headbands and carrying protest banners and placards.
After the conclusion of the ministry’s report, Wu Ching-shan participated in a question-and-answer session that saw students question what critics call the “China-centric” focus of the changes and an opaque, “black box” approval process.
Forums were simultaneously held at National Hsinchu High School, National Changhua Senior High School and Tainan First High School.
Earlier forums had been canceled after the first forum saw student activists confront Wu Se-hwa, who did not attend any of yesterday’s forums.
Students attended the forum after breaking up their protest outside the Ministry of Education ahead of schedule yesterday morning after being “snubbed” by Deputy Minister of Education Lucia Lin (林思伶).
Lin appeared at the protest site early yesterday to “show concern” for students’ health and safety, having a brief exchange with another alliance spokesman, Wang Pin-chen (王品蓁), before being interviewed by reporters and walking into the ministry building.
Lin said she was sure there would be opportunities for talks with the students in the future, but ruled out on-site talks.
“When students are putting on an event, they often do not think about communicating because they just want to complete the event,” she said.
Lin’s remarks drew an angry response from student protesters.
Wang said that Lin had not stated her identity and had only asked whether a nearby student lying on the ground was sleeping or had “fainted” before walking over to media to be interviewed.
“Our central demand in putting on this event was that a deputy minister would come out for talks,” Chu said.
Given Lin’s unwillingness to engage in dialogue with the students, it was unlikely that their demand for on-site talks would be met and they had decided to save time and energy to participate at the evening forum, he said.
Students had originally planned to continue their protest into the evening.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did