Daily Bloom is the shortform blog of New Bloom, covering breaking news events as they occur in real-time.
The highlight of day five of the occupation was, of course, that the long-awaited meeting that took place between student occupiers and Minister of Education Wu Se-Hwa in National Central Library. Despite being a two hour long meeting, however, Wu was not prepared to negotiate in any way with students and discussions ultimately broke down, students storming out of the meeting one by one until the only one left was Chu Chen. At one point, students who had left the meeting would later charge back to the meeting, banging on the doors of the meeting room, after seeing Chu Chen break down in tears on the Livestream of the meeting which had been set up on a projector screen in a room designated for reporters in the basement of National Central Library. In the end, students held a press conference while in tears. It was, in fact, quite a pitiable sight seeing students in tears while media was flashing away at them with their cameras.
During the press conference students did not press that one of their demands had been for Wu to resign but Wu, for his part, stressed that textbook revisions were legal even if perhaps flawed. Wu has become an object of popularly mockery on the Internet since the meeting, however, because of a piece of footage from the meeting in which rolled his eyes in response to being questioned by a teacher, then attempting to quickly mask this through quickly smiling. We might also note that Wu was unwilling to reveal the names of those who were in the textbook revision committee. Nevertheless, the meeting ultimately came to nothing.
A “big intestine blossom forum” (大腸花論壇) was subsequently held at the site of the Ministry of Education, hosted by the well-known Indie DaDee. “Big intestine blossom forums”, an activity in which speakers are invited up on stage to drink and curse about their frustrations, had been common during last year’s Sunflower Movement as a means of giving vent to frustrations about the implacability of the government. This night’s “big intestine blossom forum” was apparently largely a spontaneous development although with the participation of many high schoolers in the movement, as Indie DaDee noted humorously at several points, that meant that they could not drink on stage because they were not of legal drinking age.
As night wore on, however, rumors began to swirl of an impending police eviction planned for that night, as well as future action by pro-China gangster “White Wolf” Chang An-Lo, infamous for conducting political assassinations for the KMT during the ‘80s. Neither materialized, however, nerves were on edge given that this was the first weekday night of the occupation to date and the number of people who stayed overnight in the Ministry of Education courtyard were less than before.
An expression of support would come in the form of the Internet, with Anonymous Asia taking down the sites of the KMT, the KMT Youth Corps., the KMT Taipei Bureau, the New Party, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Presidential Office. This was largely understood by protestors as a much needed expression of international support.
After midnight, DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-Wen would pay a visit to the occupation site to visit late-night occupiers. Though no doubt a brilliant PR opportunity, Tsai’s visit also reflects to what extent the current textbook issue has become a centrist issue. Indeed, legal solutions for the textbook solution may now be in the works, with no less than KMT’s Wang Jinpyng calling for a special legislative session the issue in conjunction with DPP whip Ker Chien-ming. Though KMT legislators have been reluctant and this has been a point of division among KMT legislators, once again raising issues of Wang’s Taiwanese faction within the KMT, it may be that KMT members are becoming more willing for a special legislative session to be held to resolve the issue. But as with negotiations earlier today, this, too, may come to naught. And as no occupation can last indefinitely, the clock is ticking.
Author: Brian Hioe
Photo Credit: Brian Hioe
Biography: Brian Hioe (丘琦欣) is an M.A. student at Columbia University, a freelance writer on politics and social activism, and an occasional translator. He is a resident of Taipei, Taiwan.