Three prominent student protesters yesterday announced their withdrawal from the “policymaking” leadership group of the students occupying the Ministry of Education forecourt.
“We are tired — body and soul. We are tired of this education and tired of the government,” Chu Chen (朱震), Wang Pin-chen (王品蓁) and Liang Yan-jou (梁豔柔) said in public statement.
They said the burden on their shoulders was not just the fight for their ideals, but also pressure from the reactions of the public and officials.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
The trio said that they were determined to leave, but would remain supporters of the movement.
“We already don not have the heart to stand on the frontlines and continue to take criticism with our broken bodies,” they said, adding that they were “ashamed” and ”apologetic.”
All three were prominent members of the Northern Taiwan Anti-Curriculum Changes Alliance of students from the greater Taipei area, with Chu serving as the alliance’s convener. Chu also served as the leader of the crowd that charged into the ministry forecourt late on Friday last week, following the suicide of Dai Lin (林冠華), another prominent alliance member.
Their departure came after Chu, Wang and other student representatives broke down in tears during a Monday meeting with Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa (吳思華), after Wu refused to suspend controversial adjustments to high-school curriculum guidelines.
“Our response to these three students is that we absolutely respect their decision, but our movement will not be influenced by their withdrawal,” National Taichung First Senior High School Apple Tree Commune Club spokesperson Chen Chien-hsun (陳建勳) said, adding that their withdrawal was understandable given the pressure they faced.
Wang and Chu had often complained that they were exhausted, he said, while denying that there had been any difference of opinions.
Both Chu and Wang had participated in a “policymaking group” meeting late on Tuesday night, but had notified him of their withdrawal in a telephone call yesterday morning.
Neither Chu nor Wang were seen at the protest site yesterday, following their absence on Tuesday.
The withdrawal of the Northern Alliance leaders apparently left Chen’s Apple Tree Commune and students from the Taichung area the most prominent of the groups occupying the ministry’s courtyard.
While students from the Taoyuan High School Alliance played a prominent role in the early phases of the student movement, Chen confirmed that they had earlier voluntarily withdrawn from the activists’ “policymaking group” because of the pressure involved.
Representatives from the Taoyuan Alliance were notably absent from the seven students who met with Wu on Monday.
Chu, Wang and Liang comprised three of the Northern Alliance’s four representatives at the meeting. The remaining student representatives were affiliated with the Apple Tree Commune.
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