[Note from Donna Jack:
This young man was protesting something similar to what is and has been happening in this country for decades. In recent history education is being increasingly controlled federally, through the Department of Education; Outcome-based Education; Education 2000; The Elementary and Secondary Education Act; No Child Left Behind; the US Department of Education, Common Core; the College Board which owns Advanced Placement and GED; other nationally and internationally controlled organizations; and additional legislation passed through Congress (the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that was sadly supported strongly by both parties in Congress during the Christmas season.
This young man who took his own life in Taiwan, most likely was being persecuted mercilessly. This has been happening for decades in the public school arena in our own country — to people who don’t go along – like our 2014/2015 school board majority members and their families. Countless students and adults across this country can share of persecution they have suffered, or suffering they have observed, for not going along with the status quo in public education.
The 20-year-old spokesman for Taiwanese demonstrators
took his own life by burning barbecue charcoal
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 July, 2015, 4:43pm
UPDATED : Friday, 31 July, 2015, 3:04am
Taiwanese student Lin Kuan-hua, a spokesperson for the movement against controversial high school curriculum revision, took his own life on Thursday morning. Photo: SCMP Pictures
A 20-year-old former student protesting the Taiwanese Education Ministry’s controversial changes to high school textbook guidelines took his own life on Thursday, authorities said.
New Taipei police said Lin Kuan-hua, who suspended his schooling in June, killed himself by burning barbecue charcoal and did not leave any note immediately before his death.
Taiwanese media reported that Lin had wished himself happy birthday on his Facebook page in the early hours on Thursday and wrote, “I have only one wish: Minister, please withdraw the textbook guidelines.”
Lin was identified as a spokesman for demonstrators staging protests outside the Education Ministry last week against the controversial high school textbook guidelines.
Some demonstrators entered the ministry building by force, broke into the minister’s office, and blocked the door with chairs, tables and file cabinets to prevent police from entering.
Police arrested 33 people for illegal entry and damaging public property. Education Minister Wu Se-hwa has threatened to file a criminal complaint against the arrested protesters, including three reporters and mostly students.
According to the revised guidelines, “minor changes” will be made to textbooks for geography, civil education, Chinese literature and history.
At issue are changes to history textbooks. Opponents say more space will be dedicated to Chinese and less to Taiwanese history, coverage of the Republic of China rule will be expanded and cast in a better light, and coverage of the Japanese colonial rule will be more critical.
School textbook publishers will follow the guidelines when they print textbooks for the new semester beginning next month.
Political parties took advantage of the tragedy to point fingers at each other on Thursday.
Lin Yi-hua, spokeswoman of the ruling Kuomintang, said her party felt sorry for the loss of a young man but regretful that “political agendas of some parties had prevented rational discussions of the issue.”
Lin said the Education Ministry, in response to protesters’ demands, agreed last month that schools could choose their own textbooks, old or new, when the new semester begins.
It also agreed that the differences in the old and new textbooks would not appear in college entrance examinations and that the ministry would launch an in-house review of the matter.
“However, Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen and her party misled the students and pushed them to the frontline, encouraging them to commit illegal [acts],” she said.
The opposition DPP’s spokesman Wang Min-sheng, meanwhile, criticised the process of the textbook guideline change as being opaque and urged the Education Ministry to withdraw what he called “illegal” textbook guidelines.
Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei said Wu was no longer fit for the job of education minister and that he should immediately resign.
Wu, who visited the victim’s family on Thursday, said he felt “ashamed and uneasy” for not having been able to prevent the tragedy from happening.