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.