Daily Bloom is the shortform blog of New Bloom, covering breaking news events as they occur in real-time.
Although a slow day in the encampment itself, night seeing speeches, performances, and the broadcast of a film, the day’s significant developments may have largely taken place outside the encampment. Namely, if a solution for the current crisis is in sight, it may come from agreements that student representatives may be allowed to participate in the review committee of the new textbook curriculum.
However, in itself, this comes out of that the KMT unanimously opposed holding a special legislative session in order to discuss the textbook issue, as students demanded. The DPP was decried for its incompetence where not too long ago it appeared that KMT Legislative Speaker Wang Jinpyng would ally with DPP whip Ker Chien-Ming to seek a special legislative session.
But if a review was not what students had hoped for, it is a possibility that it will allow for students to push for the curriculum changes they hope for, and students emphasized that they would demand participation, along with the participation of academics, teachers, and other members of the public. Splits in the KMT are quite visible in regards to that the KMT turned around and opposed the special legislative session, this being a blow not only to Wang Jinpyng but Eric Chu, who had also supported the special legislative session.
Notably, the number of riot police on site at the Ministry of Education was especially high where it appears that what police were afraid of was escalation actions on the part of students out of frustration that their demands were not being met. Concerning the police, controversy also emerged when police searched the home of student activist Yang Shangen despite the apparent illegality of the procedure.
In the meantime, after the confrontation between Minister of Education Wu Se-Hwa and student representatives which took place yesterday—apart from that Internet memes mocking Wu Se-Hwa’s rolling of his eyes after addressed by a Taida professor continue to circulate—it would seem that students now take center stage in the public spotlight. One might note the sudden presence of student guests on political talkshows after the confrontation. Whatever the effect of this, certainly, this has served to raise the public profile of the movement. Wu Se-Hwa has since claimed that he was attempting to exercise his eyes or turning to look at a student. But the moment became instantly iconic, particularly since Wu Se-Hwa seemed to attempt immediately afterwards to make up for the eyeroll by quickly smiling.
But a storm may be coming. “White Wolf” Chang An-Lo, the famed gangster who carried out the political assassination of Taiwanese journalist Henry Liu for the KMT and subsequently reinvented himself as a pro-China politician—in fact a close associate of one of the sisters of current Taiwanese president Ma Ying-Jeou—has stated that he will be “passing by” the Ministry of Education tomorrow at 7:30 PM. Chang did something similar during last year’s Sunflower Movement during which he threatened to forcibly evict Legislative Yuan occupiers, then arrived with a large encourage of drugged up gangsters. Chang, of course, did not evict occupiers, but his gangsters attacked a few protestors who got too close, actions which were met with indifference by police. Taipei mayor Ko Wen-Je has promised that police will restrict Chang’s actions, but we shall see as to what happens tomorrow night.
Yet the real trouble may come from the literal storm which will come bearing down upon Taiwan this Friday, although it remains a question as to whether Typhoon Soudelor will make landfall upon northeastern Taiwan. Even if protestors have promised to endure any storm until their demands our met, Typhoon Soudelor will be the world’s most powerful storm to date for the year of 2015. It would be difficult to sustain an occupation in the face of its full force.
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.