Keeping up: New Bloom's facebook page is constantly updated. They put together and posted the video above. There's a live feed here. Note that New Bloom has posted that there is a water cannon vehicle present, presumably because it will be used.
Rocked first by the suicide of Dai Lin, Taiwan was then shocked by the open letter from his mother. Solidarity has the translation, which you should read. I can't read it without crying at the naked realization at the end...
The one who’s sick is this society. It’s the adults. It’s the parents who were brainwashed, like me. You were a little prince who always had pure thoughts. You completed your mission. You made public opinion boil over all right. You’ve made us brainwashed adults rethink things.She's saying what so many of us have been saying for ages: the over 45 group is the most timid, brainwashed, strawberry generation of them all. It's not a coincidence that support for KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu is strongest in that group. She also wrote an open letter angrily denying KMT claims that the DPP was operating the students. Remember, in the KMT ideological bubble, only conspiracy by the evil enemies of Chineseness can explain anti-KMT stances, because the KMT is always right.
The convener of the curriculum committee that made the changes was on a political talk show. See why the changes were made (Taipei Times):
Asked what kind of impact the curriculum adjustments had on the KMT’s campaign for next year’s presidential and legislative elections, Wang said they had created a strong cohesive force among pan-blue supporters.Were the changes made for educational purposes, or to bring the curriculum in line with the Constitution, as KMT presidential candidate Hung has claimed? Nope: according to the leader of the changes, they were purely political and overtly pro-KMT. What's scary is that these people are so deep in their bubble that they thought asserting that the capital was Nanjing was "convincing rhetoric."
“A lack of ‘national goals’ is a critical problem facing the KMT. The party requires more convincing rhetoric to persuade the public and that was exactly what we aimed to achieve through the curriculum changes,” Wang said in the article.
My man maddog was having a good laugh on Twitter about the changes, putting up this image:
The Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) government is once again facing off against a group of young protesters who oppose the government’s policies and procedures. The current protest is directed at the government’s efforts to change the content of history textbooks. This is another in a long series of protests that addressed a wide range of issues including property rights, freedom of the press, labor rights, environmental issues, and most famously opposition to the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement (CSSTA) that led to the Sunflower occupation of Taiwan’s legislature last year.I've written several times about how the Taiwanese have incorporated democracy into their identity, and among the young, this incorporation is a fusion. This generation, I would always add, is also the first in the modern era to grow up with poorer economic prospects than the previous one. These ideas of democracy are butting up against a school system designed for authoritarian control from start to finish.This protest is only the beginning of the long struggle against it, one in which many parents are engaged as well, attempting to find or construct democratic, human-centered alternatives.
The young protesters in Taiwan are frequently described as being “anti-China” and driven by their strong sense of Taiwanese identity. This is partially accurate. The young people in Taiwan are definitely strongly Taiwanese identified, but they are not necessarily “anti-China.” To understand these protests it is essential to understand that the young are strongly democratic. They were born into and fully believe in democracy in their country. Thus, it is not surprising that one thing that the protests have in common is anger over the government’s lack of transparency and respect for democratic procedure. It is therefore more accurate to describe the students as “pro-democracy” or “anti-authoritarian” than “anti-China.” It is also important to note that a significant percentage of the population in Taiwan supports the student protesters.
Since Ma took office in 2008, his administration has demonstrated neither a strong interest nor any level of competence in managing domestic politics. Ma’s government has been insular and arrogant, frequently responding to criticisms with a condescending attitude. Decisions are made behind closed doors with little if any effort to consider the preferences of the voters. The decisions are then foisted upon the people with the message that the government knows best and the people must agree.
It is not surprising, then, that the young protesters have consistently criticized the government for its “black box” decision-making procedures. For example, in an April 2014 interview, Wei Yang (魏揚), a leader of the Sunflower movement stated, “The government and the civil society had no communication. There were no comprehensive impact assessments. There were no deliberations about the trade pact. We called it a black-box operation, and this is outrageous to the people.”
Wuer Kaixi, the Tiananmen dissident who is now running for office in Taichung, published a great piece at Thinking Taiwan this week saying that it is time for Taiwanese to take things into their own hands. It observes:
Actively changing the constitution and the laws to recognize the PRC will come at a small price and will also give a voice to the people, challenging China and the West to release Taiwan from its shackles, while also fundamentally changing the way we think about cross-strait policy. Compromise is not the way forward, and patience is simply a delay tactic. Only by taking the initiative can the people of Taiwan take control of their fate.It seems that, that when the KMT die-hards hype the pro-China changes to the curriculum as "according to the Constitution", they are just setting up "the Constitution" as the target for the next great youth movement.
This is only the beginning...
- Everyone was LMAO at this really stooopid article: blames women for not wanting to have kids: single women are a national security threat. Hello, anyone ever heard of immigration?
- Disgraced New Taipei Deputy Mayor was responsible for 71 projects
- Solidarity's news roundup -- there was apparently bribery involved in the water park disaster. Soong may declare as early as Aug 6.
- Peter Enav at Thinking Taiwan thinks about what Xi might do when the Chinese realize their Taiwan policy has failed, something I've been pointing out here for months now. When the KMT goes, so goes China's Taiwan strategy.
- Anonymous attacks the government's websites over the curriculum changes
- Tsai promises official apology to the aboriginal peoples of Taiwan if elected.
- Drifting towards crisis: as Eric Hundman noted on Twitter when he posted this, US conservatives are making noise about Taiwan's situation.
- J Michael on the use of the word "rational" deployed by the KMT against the protesters.
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!