Taiwan students end textbook protest as typhoon approaches

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 06, 2015 11:39 AM

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Hundreds of Taiwan students protesting revisions to history textbooks which they say attempt to promote "one China" ended a week-long sit-in in front of its ministry of education on Thursday, as a powerful typhoon bore down on the island.

As of Thursday night all protesters had left the ministry's front courtyard and all equipment had been carted away, said student leader Brian Sung. Local TV showed students taking down banners and dismantling the makeshift tents they had set up.

"We've achieved some of our goals and there's a typhoon coming," Sung said.

The students say new textbooks being shipped to high schools ahead of classes beginning at the end of the month unduly emphasize the role of China in Taiwan's history.

They had been demanding a repeal of the new curriculum and the resignation of the island's minister of education.

Taiwan's ruling pro-China Nationalist party fled to the island after losing a civil war to China's communists in 1949. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and has not ruled out the use of force to bring it under its control.

The occupation, which began last Friday, followed months of smaller protests in which students have thrown paint balloons, shouted slogans and staged sit-ins in front of the ministry. Last month, dozens were arrested for scaling ladders and breaking into the building. One later committed suicide, though the motivation was unclear. [ID:nL3N10E3CG]

Students said that concessions by politicians to thoroughly review the new curriculum and allow schools to choose whether or not to use the new books amounted to a partial advancement of their goals.

They did not rule out resuming their protests, however, after the passing of Typhoon Soudelor, likely to make landfall within days.

Soudelor is expected to be the most powerful typhoon to hit the island in years, Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said.

(Reporting by Michael Gold; editing by Ralph Boulton)