Taiwan: protesters occupy Education Ministry

The Education Ministry in Taipei has been blockaded by student protesters for five days now, and the ministry has opened talks with protest leaders. The protests were launched to oppose textbook revisions that would emphasize the "One China" view of history. Protesters attempted to occupy the ministry building on July 23; after being ejected they returned a week later, tore down a fence and established an encampment in the courtyard. The protest camp has been maintained since July 30. The action was partially sparked by the suicide of student activist Lin Kuanhua, who was among those arrested in the July 23 action. The protests have drawn comparison to last year's Sunflower Movement, in which the Legislative Yuan was occupied for 24 days to oppose the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement (CSSTA), decried as a "black box" deal with China that the ruling Kuomintang attempted to push through undemocratically. The new "black box" textbooks would reportedly emphasize that Taiwan is part of the "Republic of China," portrayed as the rightful government of all mainland China—even refering to the RoC's capital as Nanjing and its highest mountains as the Himalayas. Protesters are demanding that the textbook revisions be dropped and that Education Minister Wu Se-Hwa resign. (Channel NewsAsia, New Bloom, Aug. 3)

  1. Kuomintang non-sequitur cosplay party

    We first saw the pictures on Facebook and then verified it with a report on Taiwan's China Post. It seems a bunch of right-wing "One China" supporters donned World War II-era Japanese military unforms and marched on the offices of the center-left opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), apparently in an effort to bait the protesters at the Education Ministry as "agents" of Japanese "brainwashing." The only slight semblance of political logic we can glean from this is the notion that if Taiwan doesn't belong to China it can only belong to Japan—an absurd denial of the simple reality that Taiwan has been a de facto independent nation since 1949. And pro-independence forces have no greater love for Japanese than Chinese imperialism, obviously. Finally, why did they pick the DPP as a target? Certainly, the DPP has shown greater sympathy for the protesters than the KMT, but the students have stressed their independence from all poltical parties.

    File under "WTF?"