Friday, July 24, 2015

Taiwanese Students Occupy Education Ministry Over Textbook Controversy

Taiwanese students are up in arms regarding recent changes to the country’s history textbooks...and they escalated on Thursday 

Dozens of Taiwanese students briefly occupied the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Taipei last night to protest a series of “minor” adjustments (課綱微調) to school textbooks which activists and academics claim are Sino-centric and whitewash the authoritarian period in Taiwan’s history. 

Scaling ladders, the activists slipped by police and stormed the ministry building late on Thursday evening. According to the police, 18 activists subsequently barricaded themselves inside Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa’s office, using furniture to block the door. By about 1 a.m., police had succeeded in expelling the students, some of whom had their hands tied behind their backs with plastic restraints. 

In total, 33 persons were arrested, including 24 students—11 of them under the age of 18. Three journalists were also arrested and taken away. Law enforcement said they detained the media personnel to ensure they were not participating in the protest. Reporters at the site complained they were prevented from doing their work. Footage provided by one of the journalists who was taken away (he was released in the afternoon on NT$10,000 bail) shows police using strobe lights to prevent him from taking photographs, while other officers are pulling at him and are heard saying, “No one asked you to come to cover the story.” 

My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here (photo by the author).

No comments: