Chou Sheng Hsin (38) is a board member of the National Association for the Promotion of Community Universities (Napcu), and special assistant at the Yung-he Community College. When the Taiwanese government approved an arms purchase in 2004, Chou and a group of concerned friends launched an anti-campaign.
Chou Sheng Hsin promotes alternative education for adults, opposes arms purchases and fights for peace. Since the 90s she has been raising concerns and questions about the conservative, anti-human-rights and oppressive education system in Taiwan. For the past decade, Chou and other groups have been promoting educational reforms – smaller classes for smaller schools – and a 12-year compulsory education program. The government continues to give the same excuses for inaction: no money and no land. In May 2004, the Taiwanese government approved an arms purchase budget worth over 18 billion US dollars. The amount is to be realized by selling state-owned land, issuing treasury bonds and selling stocks. This decision came as a shock to Chou Sheng Hsin and her friends, who decided to oppose it. On June 19, they kicked off an anti-arms-purchase campaign. Over a thousand people took the streets demanding a referendum for the arms purchase. To date, this demand is active. Chou also decided to work through community colleges to expand the movement and to encourage people concerned with the future of Taiwan to think critically. She says “The road to democratic development is long. What forces propel us? I think that the answer lies in the most basic common values: respect and care for every life, and a vision of peace. The realization of these values rests not only on education, but also on daily living. As common and insignificant as we are, we probably cannot change this world, not to mention the grand vision of world peace. Yet, we can contribute our heart, no matter how small it is, in the search for a peaceful tomorrow. I hope everyone can grow up in a better environment and truly become themselves.”
National Association for the Promotion of Community Universities (Napcu)