TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — During a sports meet held to celebrate National Taipei University's (NTPU) 70th anniversary, several students stormed the flag platform, took down the Taiwanese flag, and replaced it with the rainbow flag, resulting in chaos at the scene.
On Saturday (Oct. 26), NTPU held a sports meet to mark the 70th anniversary of its founding, with a crowd of 2,000 student athletes and distinguished alumni present. After the athletes had finished filing into the venue, the national anthem was played as the Taiwanese flag, school flag, and event flag were raised.
Suddenly, 10 students stormed the flag platform, surrounded the six flag bearers, and blew portable air horns to disrupt the ceremony. The students forced the flag bearers to lower the flags and then hoisted the rainbow flag, the pansexual pride flag, and a white banner that read "NTPU leaping over the wall in support of comrades" (北大翻牆撐同志), reported CNA.
Chaos then ensued under the flag poles, with faculty trying to stop the students from raising the flags and students fighting them off until they were fully raised. NTPU Student Congress Spokesman Chen Chien (陳謙) said on Facebook that the students were disgruntled because their compulsory attendance at the meet had caused them to miss out on the Taiwan Pride Parade, which they considered more important.
Chen said that he and other students had hoisted the flags to express their support for LGBTQ rights. He said that he was assaulted by instructors and sustained an injury to his abdomen requiring him to go to En Chu Kong Hospital, where he was prescribed medication to treat stomach swelling.
Lu Yu-cheng (呂育誠), executive secretary of NTPU, told CNA that teachers were also injured in the scuffle and sought treatment at the hospital. Lu said that school officials will collect photos and other evidence and clarify the exact demands of the students.
According to Lu, the Student Rewards and Disciplinary Committee will hold a meeting to discuss the matter. Lu added that the school believes it was an isolated incident and that it will be handled with a "tolerant but prudent approach."
On Sunday, an NTPU professor surnamed (朱) took to Facebook to say that attendance at the event was not mandatory for students and questioned why they felt compelled to participate. As for their demand that military instructors be removed from the campus, he asked, "How can we live and work in Taiwan without soldiers?"
He then asked the students, "Do you think your words and deeds were appropriate?" Chu's post sparked a heated debate, with one student writing "Without soldiers, there would be no February 28 incident."
Others said that they hoped the two sides would not blur the focus on the main issues. Some students questioned whether the teacher's post should be discussed rationally or be judged publicly by the students involved.
However, some students supported the teacher's comments. Chu responded to the debate at the bottom of the post by saying he would take it down.