The Anti-Curriculum Changes Alliance yesterday accused the Ministry of Education of causing the death of student Dai Lin (林冠華) by repeatedly upholding its intention to pursue legal action against protesters.
Lin, who was the alliance’s spokesperson, was yesterday found dead in his room with a grill burning coal and the windows sealed with tape.
Lin, one of the protesters arrested on Thursday night last week after entering the Ministry of Education building to protest against the ministry’s controversial adjustments to high-school curriculum guidelines, was facing criminal charges after being released on NT$20,000 bail on Friday.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
According to alliance spokesperson Joanna Feng (馮喬蘭), the group has repeatedly told the public that the curriculum changes are in direct violation of procedural justice and were the result of decisions made by people lacking professional knowledge, adding that their calls over the past year-and-a-half for the ministry to drop the changes have fallen on deaf ears.
The controversy over the curriculum adjustments is due to what critics call a return to the “China-centric” historical view, including deletion of key incidents of Taiwanese history and revision of phrases.
The alliance, made up of college professors, high-school teachers and a number of civic groups, said that the protests were unable to gain the ministry’s attention and the students’ hands were forced, adding that their subsequent efforts have been met with persecution.
The group called on protesters to exercise restraint and to let the government “reap the bitter fruit” it has sown, adding that students should not be made to bear the sins of the government.
It again called on the ministry to drop all legal charges against the people who entered the ministry’s building last week.
It also urged the ministry to drop tomorrow’s plans to implement curriculum changes, adding that Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa (吳思華) should step down.
The K-12 Education Parents’ Alliance yesterday also called on Wu to stop the ministry’s “act of revenge” against the students.
The children are still too young to withstand the pressure of the government, the ministry, the police, prosecutors and the public, the parents’ group said, adding that schools should not be resorting to scare tactics.
Even if adults do not agree with the children, they must first listen to their complaints with empathy before persuading them with reason, it said, adding that the ministry should learn its lesson from the loss of Lin’s life and drop all legal charges against students.
National Alliance of Parents’ Organizations chairman Wu Fu-pin (吳福濱) said the ministry’s insistence to press charges directly caused Lin’s death.
The looming legal charges are causing the children great pressure, he said, adding that if the ministry continued to think it was the Ministry of Justice and not education, it would be pushing children to their deaths.
The Taiwan March organization made a similar call, saying “the anti-curriculum changes movement is a long-term war against an insensitive government, an almost dysfunctional Legislative Yuan and the uncaring atmosphere prevalent in society.”
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