Groups draw line in in­volve­ment with stu­dent protests


Groups ad­vo­cat­ing Tai­wan’s for­mal in­de­pen­dence yesterday down­played in­volve­ment in stu­dent protests against high school cur­ricu­lum guide­lines on history af­ter a re­port by a lo­cal pa­per wrote that par­ents noted “changes of be­hav­ior” in their son who at­tended events or­ga­nized by civic groups.

The re­port pub­lished by the lo­cal China Times fol­lowed up on a tense episode be­tween stu­dent pro­tester Chou Tian- kuan and his par­ents that had re­sulted in a phys­i­cal al­ter­ca­tion that had to be bro­ken up by protesters at the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion on the evening of July 31. The re­port quoted Chou’s fa­ther as say­ing his son’s “per­son­al­ity changed from an in­no­cent youth to a Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard within three months.” He blamed the “im­moral, be­hind- the- scenes” in­volve­ment of the World United For­mosans for In­de­pen­dence (WUFI) and Tai­wan So­ci­ety North (TSN) for the change in his son’s be­hav­ior.

A spokesman for WUFI told the China Post via tele­phone that he did not be­lieve any of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ac­tiv­i­ties were de­signed to “af­fect or change peo­ple’s think­ing. The ac­tiv­i­ties were lec­tures and dis­cus­sions re­lated to the pre­sen­ta­tions.” He was also not aware of the in­di­vid­u­als who took part in the events, but em­pha­sized that they were not di­rected to­ward a spe- cific in­di­vid­ual.

TSN Pres­i­dent Chang Yeh-sen told the China Post he was “un­clear” about Zhou’s in­volve­ment in events run by the or­ga­ni­za­tion. He said that vol­un­teers from the TSN were on hand to ame­lio­rate a scuf­fle be­tween Zhou and his par­ents, which gen­er­ated eth­i­cal de­bates con­cern­ing the be­hav­ior of youth in­volved in the protests. Chang said that the TSN pro­vided protesters with a place to rest at the site of the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion en­trance area. “We did not par­tic­i­pate in any of their dis­cus­sions or meet­ings. We cared mainly about their safety and health,” Chang said. Chen is, how­ever, seen ad­dress­ing a crowd on July 24 in front of the MOE in a post pub­lished on the TSN Face­book page, in which the or­ga­ni­za­tion pledged “to be the shield” of the stu­dent protesters.

A post on WUFI’s of­fi­cial Face­book page on July 30, fol­low­ing stu­dent ac­tivist Lin Kuan-hua’s sui­cide stated, “…( it) will be ours, it will be ours. Oh, one day, when the war is won. We will be sure…”

WUFI sup­ports “peace­ful and non-vi­o­lent means” for the es­tab­lish­ment of a “Re­pub­lic of Tai­wan.” Tai­wan So­ci­ety and its branch or­ga­ni­za­tions prom­ise to “lead the peo­ple with­out any fear or hes­i­ta­tion to­ward our des­tiny, a new, in­de­pen­dent Tai­wan.”

The younger Chou has since apol­o­gized to his par­ents and has vowed to re­main in­volved in the protest.

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