Well, you'd think the earth was crashing into the sun, anyway. FocusTaiwan rounded up some of the comments in the media on Tsinghua U's Chen Wei-ting scolding Minister of Education Chiang for being a hypocrite and a liar who never apologizes....
The staidly pro-KMT China Times was the most restrained and insightful:
Renowned local writer Chang Ta-chun said the biggest problem of the students is not that they were being impolite but that it was their "empty" remarks that led society to lose the main point of the movement.Chang Ta-chun raised an important point: the student's comments enabled the pro-KMT media to shift the media focus to the behavior of the students rather than to the behavior of the government in permitting the Next Media buyout, which concentrates at least 40% of the media in the hands of a single pro-China plutocrat.
He also said the education minister was "dumb" and did not listen properly to the demands of the students.
Richard Chia-Tung Lee, an honorary chair professor at NTHU, said that "the behavior of Chen led me to think of the Cultural Revolution in China, in which the red guards scolded society's elite."
The statement issued by NTHU that apologized "on behalf of Chen for his misbehavior" also drew angry responses from the school's student communities.
NTHU's Student Association, Graduate Student Association and Student Council issued a late night statement Tuesday saying they "do not agree with the way the school interpreted Chen's behavior".
In addition to the student association's disavowal of the apology and criticisms of campus authorities (blogged), photos posted to Facebook showed that Tsinghua U (NTHU) students held a protest on campus to protest the university's apology for the behavior of Chen Wei-ting.
The rabidly pro-KMT United Daily News went after Chen Wei-ting with guns blazing, hosting a couple of pages of articles. This one at the KMT news site said:
Freedom is not only a right but also a responsibility. Freedom is not a free lunch. Freedom is a severe test of a person’s abilities.This article presents common anti-democracy propaganda themes of right-wingers everywhere, which boil down to the observation that freedom is good unless it is actually used. The idea that freedom = anarchy is one aspect of a pervasive cultural ideal here in Taiwan that social order = sameness. This is particularly held among KMTers. I've noticed over the years that if a local expresses the idea that society is falling into anarchy, they are usually pro-Blue.
On December 3rd, several college students were invited by three DPP legislators to attend a committee meeting for the exclusive purpose of listening to a report by the Education Minister. The students pointed their figures at the Education Minister while reproaching and scolding him. The Legislative Yuan is a mechanism to exercise “freedom” and students also have “freedom” of expression. However, the December 3rd meeting stirred a controversy in society. The question is: College students have the right to express their opinions freely, but do they have the ability to “exercise freedom”?
Freedom can reveal a person’s good side as well as a person’s bad side. Freedom allows for all possibilities but it is not the content of freedom. In a free society, a freeman has the right to express opinions. As a consequence, the person has to have the ability to be responsible in exercising “freedom” and should not become a person who is disabled to exercise freedom.
During the authoritarian era under the Martial law rule, people pursued “the right to exercise freedom,” and “opposition to authority” became synonyms for “freedom.” Moreover, even “opposing for the sake of opposition” had legitimacy. However, in today’s free society, more than twenty years after the lifting of Martial Law rule, people have “the right to exercise freedom.” Consequently, people should pursue the “ability to exercise freedom” instead, because freedom is not a free lunch, and freemen have to be responsible in exercising freedom.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has become a party made up of “people who have become disabled to exercise freedom.” The college students who attended the committee meeting acted like “DPP legislators” because the words and gestures they used were almost the same as those used by DPP legislators. The students seemed to be “disabled to exercise freedom.” The students’ behavior sacrificed their freedom as intellectuals and almost made them parrots. We praise the college students for bravely exercising freedom, but we hope in the future the students will pay more attention to their ability to exercise freedom.
In fact, many in today’s media have also become “disabled to exercise freedom.” The college students were concerned about the media’s disability to exercise freedom of speech. The students might believe that they were justified; therefore, they should pay more attention to their ability and responsibility in exercising the freedom of speech.
The pro-Green Liberty Times observed:
Chinese dissident Wang Dan, who is currently a Visiting Chair Professor at NTHU, posted on his Facebook page that "it is amazing how the United Daily News publishes two pages of stories just to scold the students."The Taipei Times translated Wang Dan's remarks much more pithily:
"The students' demands and the inappropriate conduct of the ministry are dismissed as minor points. Instead, the 'impoliteness' of the students is being magnified."
"The way the media reported the story shows that it is taking sides."
"Students are young. Of course they cannot be as eloquent as politicians. Why is society being lenient toward the authorities but critical of students who actively participate in public affairs?" he asked.
KMT Deputy Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu said students have no right to question officials at legislative sessions. Even if they hold different opinions on an issue, they should follow the "pecking order" and respect their seniors.
“I’m wondering why society is so tolerant of authority, yet so critical of young people who participate in public affairs,” he said.As noted above, the Next Media buyout has vanished from the discourse. The Ministry of Education's behavior has also vanished from the discourse. Now the focus is on the behavior of students.
The Diplomat just keeps getting better and better. The fearless and perspicacious Ketty Chen and Julia Famularo scribed excellently on the rejected Dalai Lama visit to Taiwan in The Diplomat this week. What's the connection? This mentality of "freedom is great as long as it isn't exercised" also underlies the Taiwan government's decision to deny the Dalai Lama a visa:
In President Ma’s post-reelection inaugural address last May, he discussed his plan to further cooperation between China and Taiwan. Ma stated at the time: “In the next four years, the two sides of the strait have to open up new areas of cooperation and continue working to consolidate peace, expand prosperity and deepen mutual trust. We also hope that civic groups on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will have more opportunities for exchanges and dialogue focusing on such areas as democracy, human rights, rule of law and civil society, to create an environment more conducive to peaceful cross-strait development.”The Dalai Lama had been invited to Taiwan by exactly those kind of civic groups Ma apparently lauds in his speech, but their initiative was refused. The context is identical -- China relations. Like so many other campaigns in Taiwan society under the current Administration, movement is permissible, provided it is in a pro-China direction....
REF: Chinese netizens react to student criticism of Minister.
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