Taipei, Oct. 21 (CNA) College students who want to express their views should do so in a rational way instead of resorting to the "inappropriate" act of throwing shoes at leaders of government, Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling said Monday.
"College students have the right to express their opinions about the government but they should not throw shoes at anyone," Chiang said in response to lawmakers' questions at the Legislative Yuan.
His comments came in the wake of several shoe-throwing incidents in recent weeks targeted at President Ma Ying-jeou, including at least two over the weekend.
All of the throws have missed their intended target or have been blocked by officers charged with the president's safety.
Miaoli County Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung was not so lucky. A sneaker thrown by a student activist protesting a case of land expropriation hit him on the head in September.
Almost unheard-of until just a few months ago, shoe-throwing has become a staple of protests against the government, especially among those who are angry with the authorities' handling of the case in Miaoli known as the Dapu Incident.
As part of enhanced security for the president, nets have been put up to catch incoming missiles, which sometimes also include eggs.
The practice has worried the private sector, which is concerned about the country's political stability and economic development.
Answering questions before the Legislature's Education and Culture Committee, Chiang said people should treat each other with respect and engage in rational communication in order not to create a negative impact on Taiwan's democratic development.
Still, activists planning demonstrations to coincide with the ruling Kuomintang's National Congress on Nov. 10 are collecting shoes to be used on the occasion.
Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan said security will be stepped up on the day, with support from the National Police Agency.
(By Hsu Chih-wei and Jay Chen)