TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Pro-democracy activist and a central figure in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Wang Dan (王丹), will no longer teach at Hsinchu’s National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) as Taiwan’s me-too movement continues to build momentum.
An investigation has been launched into Wang’s conduct by NTHU, and he has withdrawn his application to continue teaching there. His is the latest career to be impacted by the movement that has now implicated national and local politicians, emergency services staff, academics, media personnel, and other high-profile figures.
The NTHU humanities department (which employed Wang as a visiting assistant professor) said on Wednesday (June 7) that a meeting had been held, after which Wang submitted a letter to the institution to withdraw his application to continue teaching there, per CNA. NTHU’s Gender Equality Committee also announced on Wednesday (June 7) that they would be launching an investigation into Wang’s conduct, and called on students who interacted with him between 2010-2017 and 2022-2023 to submit relevant information.
On June 2, Wang strongly denied allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by two men who took to social media to detail unwanted physical sexual contact from him. On Wednesday Wang announced that he would return to Taiwan from the U.S. earlier than scheduled to face the accusations laid against him, per CNA, the same day he withdrew his application to continue teaching at NTHU.
Wang’s decision to step down is possibly the most high-profile development of Taiwan’s ongoing sexual abuse scandal in recent days, but comes amid many more investigations being launched into sexual misconduct by different institutions.
On Wednesday a DPP legislator said she had received complaints that a security guard in his 60s working under the jurisdiction of the police in a Taipei City park had verbally and physically sexually harassed six women over a five-year period. One of the alleged victims said she felt the park authorities had not taken the incident seriously, and that one of the victims had resigned as a result.
Park authorities said six meetings had been held regarding the harassment allegations, and determined in January that the accused had verbally harassed one female employee. He was firmly reprimanded twice.
However, the city’s labor bureau on Thursday said that no written record of how the incident was handled or dealt with had been kept, violating occupational health and safety regulations. The bureau said it has set a deadline of one month for park authorities to improve, and will issue fines up to a maximum of NT$300,000 (about US$9,760) if it is found that any of the victims suffered “occupational harm”.
Two park workers who say they were sexually harassed by a park guard give a press conference with legislator Hung Wan-chen on Thursday. (CNA photo)
Meanwhile, the Yilan County Fire Department said on Wednesday that an incident had occurred in which a female staff member was filmed by her superior while she was sleeping during a training session held in May, and an investigation has been launched. Yilan County Mayor Lin Zi-miao (林姿妙) addressed the incident saying sexual harassment will not be tolerated, and an investigation by the fire department into the incident has been launched.
New Taipei City is also conducting an investigation into the alleged sexual harassment of a water services worker by his superior. It was revealed to CNA on Wednesday that an employee of the New Taipei Water Resources Department filed a complaint of physical sexual harassment from his superior in May, and an investigation has been launched by the city government.
In the south of Taiwan, a dean at National Chiayi University has been suspended and is being investigated for physical sexual harassment of a master’s student for whom he was serving as thesis supervisor. The female student posted on social media describing an incident that occurred in April that she said the university dean lied about to the university’s sexual equality committee.
Chiayi University, where a dean has been stood down for sexual harassment of a student. (National Chiayi University photo)
The student said that she had asked the man to stop the unwanted physical contact when it had first occurred, but that he continued. She said that after seeing the dean at a graduation ceremony caused her to cry, he had told the university’s sexual equality committee that the student’s family had been threatening him.
Meanwhile, in the central county of Nantou, a primary school principal has been stood down and is under investigation for allegedly sexually harassing female students in the past. A woman named Tsai (蔡) recently posted on social media describing how when she was a student in an unnamed Nantou cram school, the then teacher had sexually harassed her.
Tsai said that her parents had forgiven the man, and he had gone on to teach in several other Nantou schools. She said there were many rumors about the man carrying out similar behavior, and encouraged others to speak up.
President Tsai apologizes
On Tuesday President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) addressed the issue once again, apologizing for the DPP’s involvement and instructing Premier Legislature Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) to oversee the party’s response. On the same day, the Taipei City Labor Bureau announced it had sent requests for explanation of eight sexual harassment incidents to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a Kuomintang (KMT) aligned thinktank, and media firm Next Digital.