Mon, Jun 10, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Academics part of Beijing program to be investigated

UNDERHAND TACTICS:Some Chinese universities invite Taiwanese academics to give lectures and then claim that they are honorary professors at the school, an official said

By Rachel Lin  /  Staff reporter

The entrance to the Ministry of Education is pictured in Taipei in an undated photograph.

Photo: Rachel Lin, Taipei Times

The Executive Yuan has formed a task force to investigate academics suspected of breaching cross-strait laws by taking part in China’s Thousand Talents Plan, Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said yesterday.

The government would not restrict any cross-strait educational exchanges, but such exchanges should be conducted in an equal and reciprocal manner, and according to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), he said.

Taiwanese academics could break the law if they attend events that promote unification under the pretense of enhancing educational exchanges, he said.

To prevent people from becoming prey to China’s “united front” tactics, the government would improve efforts to remind people to avoid cross-strait exchanges with political agendas, he said.

While 33 Taiwanese, including several retired teachers and six to seven professors and researchers, are said to have joined the program, Pan said the government is still investigating whether the allegations are true.

To counter China’s attempts to recruit Taiwanese talent and obtain Taiwanese technologies through the program and other state-funded research initiatives, the ministry has been planning to tighten regulations on cross-strait partnerships.

It drafted amendments to regulations to require universities to notify the ministry before launching partnerships or holding exchanges involving a political agenda with Chinese schools.

According to Article 33-1 of the act, unless approved by the ministry, universities and their employees cannot collaborate with Chinese individuals or organizations on political issues or matters that could affect national security, or jointly establish organizations for political purposes.

Participating in the program could contravene the article.

Amid rumors that Chinese universities allow Taiwanese public university professors to take part-time positions under assumed names to avoid repercussions in Taiwan, Department of International and Cross-strait Education Director-General Bi Tzu-an (畢祖安) said that anyone doing so would still contravene the law, as such university professors are banned from taking part-time positions.

When Taiwanese academics visit Chinese universities to give speeches, the host universities sometimes claim that they are honorary professors at the institution, he said, urging academics to watch out for such situations.

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