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Education Ministry to drop charges against break-in students

Education Ministry to drop charges against break-in students

Taipei, Aug. 5 (CNA) Education Minister Wu Se-hwa (???) said Wednesday that he will reverse his decision to press charges against student protesters who were arrested last month for breaking into the Ministry of Education (MOE) building. The MOE will drop the plan, Wu said after attending a curriculum guideline review workshop at the K-12 Education Administration's Taichung office, where he expressed his hope that the protests against revised senior high school curriculum guidelines will come to an end as soon as possible. Anti-curriculum guideline revision activists -- mostly students -- have for several weeks staged a series of protests on the streets in different cities and counties. In a protest July 23, a group of activists climbed the wall of the MOE compound in downtown Taipei, breaking into the building at night. A total of 33 people were arrested in the early hours of the next day when police conducted a raid on the premises after receiving a report from the MOE's security guards. The minister later decided to press charges against 24 of the students who were allegedly involved. However, even though the MOE has decided not to have the students prosecuted, they may still face a criminal offense investigation. The protest movement against the changes to the curriculum guidelines, which the students see as having been conducted from the perspective of "Chinese unification," intensified after one of the students nabbed for the break-in committed suicide. This tragedy prompted the students to expand their protest actions to the Legislative Yuan and to the MOE. They managed to "occupy" the forecourt of the MOE compound on July 31 and have remained there ever since. In a face-to-face dialogue with the student leaders of the occupation movement Aug. 3, Wu promised that the old and new curriculum guidelines could be used concurrently and that teachers would have discretion over which ones to use. He rejected the protesters' demand that the disputed guidelines be withdrawn or put off. The revised guideline has been implemented since Aug. 1. On Tuesday, the Legislature decided to suggest that the MOE review the guidelines from scratch, based on the conclusions reached during talks among the ruling and opposition legislative caucuses. These "goodwill" responses from the government failed to satisfy the protesting students in the MOE forecourt, who said Wednesday that they will not leave the site unless their demand is met. (By Wu Jhe-hao, Liao Jen-kai and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-19 19:37 GMT+08:00