Taiwan students storm Education Administration

Student groups against the new curriculum guidelines stormed into the Education Administration (EA,) building yesterday, also threatening to bring the protests to a larger scale, officers said. According to police officers, the iron gate of the administration building was brought down. Around 50 students gathered to protest against the new curriculum guidelines.

The campaign heated up as officials refused to talk with the students on the ground floor, demanding that student representatives join officials upstairs. Students tried to barge into the building, saying that they will not be "placated" by soothing and vague words from the government, and demanded that officials should meet the entire crowd face-to-face for negotiations.

The iron gate was warped after students pushed forward against the building's guards, with 13 of them making their way into the building, officers said.

Chou Cheng , representative of the high schools' alliance, tried to negotiate with the police, asking them to protect the students inside the building, as well as calling upon EA officials to negotiate with them.

Consensus was reached as Han Chun-shu, vice chief of the Division of Academic and Vocational Senior High Education came to speak with the students on the ground floor. The 13 students who had gone into the building also came out, officers said.

Han reiterated the administration's position, saying that both the old and new textbooks will be used for the coming term, and that students will not be tested upon the controversial content.

Students were not happy with the answer given by Han, however. They said that the EA has repeated the same statements over and over, with little response to what they are really asking for. "This is only the beginning of the protest. More will follow," students said, stressing that they will not give up until the administration calls off the new curriculum guidelines.

Political Power Involved?

Democratic Progressive Party spokesman Cheng Yun-peng said yesterday that the party had only assisted and not intervened in the campaign at all. "Our position is that high school textbooks must accord with the truth, and the procedure of making new guidelines should meet regulations," he said.

Deputy Legislative Speaker and likely Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday posted on her Facebook page, calling upon the DPP Chairwoman and 2016 presidential contender Tsai Ing-wen not to bring politics into schools, saying that it was immoral to turn the issue of the high school curriculum into a political matter.

In response, Cheng said that Hung should be standing with the students, especially with her once having been a teacher. Instead, Cheng said Hung is defending the new illegitimate guidelines, disgracing students' voluntary act as a political move. "This shows that Hung has not moved past the period of martial law," he added.

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