Students' hunger strike in Taiwan ends Catholic dorm curfew

Female students said university's curfew policy was gender bias
Students' hunger strike in Taiwan ends Catholic dorm curfew

FJU Cinderella's hunger strike next to a female dormitory at Fu Jen Catholic University. ( photo)

A hunger strike by a group of students at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei has forced the university's administration to abolish a curfew policy on female students' dormitories.

A group of female students — who called themselves FJU Cinderella — launched their hunger strike May 30 that aimed to end a curfew policy that they argued was gender biased.

Principal Chiang Han-sheng visited the hunger strikers June 1 and the University Council agreed June 2 to abolish the curfew starting next semester.

The FJU Cinderella's Facebook page received more than 7,500 likes and 1,500 shares within an hour after the result was announced.

"We have used many different ways to resolve this issue but the school didn't answer our requests in the past seven years. Hunger strike was the only peaceful way," Huang Tai-li, FJU Cinderella's spokeswoman told on May 31.

A review on the curfew policy on female dormitories had been called for since 2009 when the boy's dorm abolished curfew and started to use electronic key cards to replace manual roll call.

The university's administration citied security reasons for female students for being behind the curfew.

Before the hunger strike started, the curfew issue has drawn wider attention in Taiwan as students tried to lobby Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education, when he attended a symposium on religious dialogue at the university on May 27.

Some lawmakers, professors and student associations of other universities also showed their support on social media. However, some disagreed with the students using a radical approach even though they agreed the policy should be abolished.

Fu Jen Catholic University, first started by Benedictine Fathers in Beijing, was founded in Beijing in 1925 but closed down in 1952 after Chinese Communists took control of the country. Seven years later, Pope John XXIII assigned then Archbishop Yu Pin of Nanjing, who became a cardinal in 1969, to reopen the university in Taipei.

Fu Jen has 10 residence halls, some 26,000 students and over 160 student associations and clubs.

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