Protesters rally against cur­ricu­lum, de­mand ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter re­sign

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Nearly a thou­sand peo­ple ral­lied out­side Tai­wan’s ed­u­ca­tion min­istry Sun­day, de­mand­ing the min­is­ter’s res­ig­na­tion and the scrap­ping of what they de­scribe as a “Chi­na­cen­tric” high school cur­ricu­lum.

The protesters, whom po­lice es­ti­mated at around 800, ripped up the new ver­sions of text­books printed un­der the new cur­ricu­lum guide­lines.

The crowd, most of them adults, chanted slo­gans like “Sup­port­ing stu­dents,” “Safe­guard­ing democ­racy” and “(Min­is­ter) Wu Se-hwa step down.”

The turnout was the largest since July 24 when 30 protesters, many of them stu­dents, broke into the min­istry to protest at the changes.

They were ar­rested and later re­leased but some face charges.

Young ac­tivist Lin Kuan-hua, one of those in­volved in break­ing into the min­istry, com­mit­ted sui­cide at his home Thurs­day.

Protesters Sun­day paid trib­ute to Lin, adorn­ing an iron fence out­side the min­istry with hun­dreds of flow­ers, half of them white roses.

“The flow­ers are in mem­ory of Lin,” said Chuo Li-chen, a 57-yearold house­wife from the north­ern city of Taoyuan.

“I want Lin to know he won’t die in vain. I be­lieve his death has awak­ened more peo­ple who had been brain­washed by the Kuom­intang gov­ern­ment for decades.”

Self-gov­ern­ing Tai­wan split from the main­land in 1949 af­ter a civil war. But Bei­jing still sees the is­land as part of its ter­ri­tory and does not rule out force to achieve re­uni­fi­ca­tion at some stage.

Public con­cern is grow­ing, es­pe­cially among the young, at per­ceived in­creased Chi­nese in­flu­ence over the is­land in the wake of a rap­proche­ment with Bei­jing forged by cur­rent Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou from the Kuom­intang (KMT) party.

Stu­dents oc­cu­pied par­lia­ment for three weeks last year over a trade deal with China in a protest known as the Sun­flower Move­ment, in­spir­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of ac­tivists.

The cur­ricu­lum changes dis­puted by protesters in­clude a ref­er­ence to Tai­wan be­ing “re­cov­ered by China” in­stead of “given to China” af­ter the end of Ja­panese oc­cu­pa­tion in 1945.

The 50-year pe­riod of Ja­panese rule is also re­ferred to as an era when “Ja­pan oc­cu­pied” the is­land, re­plac­ing the pre­vi­ous phrase “Ja­pan gov­erned.”

The main China-skep­tic op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party ac­cuses the KMT of be­ing “cold-blooded” and says it tried to smear the stu­dent protest cam­paign. It calls for the cur­ricu­lum changes to be re­scinded.

The KMT and scholars be­hind the cur­ricu­lum changes say the DPP is stok­ing the protests.

CNA

A pro­tester rips up a text­books printed un­der the new cur­ricu­lum guide­lines out­side the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, yesterday.

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