Friday, July 31, 2015

After Young Taiwan Activist’s Suicide, Hundreds Storm Education Ministry

The crisis over controversial changes to school curricula in Taiwan intensified after the suicide of one of the activists 

Hundreds of Taiwanese activists stormed the Ministry of Education building in Taipei after midnight on July 31 as anger mounted over the ministry’s efforts to implement controversial changes to high school curriculum guidelines and the death by suicide of one of the young activists the previous day. 

The occupation—one of several direct actions in the past two years—occurs after months of snowballing protests over efforts by the government to make “minor” changes to curriculum guidelines. Critics say the process lacked transparency and that the new Sino-centric content imposed by the guidelines distorts history and whitewashes the authoritarian period in the nation’s history. The dissidents also maintain that members of the 10-person committee in charge of the “minor” adjustments, set up by then-minister of education Chiang Wei-ling in January 2014, are not suited to handle the matter. Chief among them is convener Wang Hsiao-po, a vice chairman of the Alliance for the Reunification of China. 

My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here (photo by Hsiengo Huang).

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