Rules on Chinese diplomas stand: Chen

BEGGARS' WAR: The president said that once the door is opened to Chinese students, the job market would be next, sparking a competition in which Taiwan can only lose

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sun, Jul 22, 2007 - Page 1

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that Taipei would not relax its restrictions for recognizing Chinese diplomas and would maintain its ban on Chinese students.

"Although some [university] presidents might be disappointed ... there will be no changes regarding these two policies during the rest of my [presidential] term," Chen said in a speech at the annual university and graduate school fair in Kaohsiung yesterday.

"If the government grants recognition to Chinese diplomas and allows [Taiwanese] universities to enroll students from China, we will soon be forced to allow Chinese students to study and work in Taiwan," he said.

Chen said he has the obligation to uphold the regulations for the sake of national security and the fair distribution of educational resources.

"Once this door is opened, even if only slightly, we will have to relax an increasing number of policies and it will become impossible for us to close the door in future," he said.

The question of whether the government should recognize Chinese diplomas and allow Taiwanese universities to enroll Chinese students has provoked much debate in recent years.

The debate is partly the result of some Taiwanese high school graduates having chosen to attend universities in China.

Taiwan's low birth rate has also made it difficult for schools to find students.

In a forum held between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in April, China urged Taiwanese authorities to allow Chinese students to study in Taiwan.

Chen underscored the need for vigilance yesterday, reminding his audience not to be "naive" about the possible impact on the country's employment market should it allow Chinese students to attend domestic universities.

"Taiwanese professors would have to make a living by driving taxis while taxi drivers would become beggars," Chen said.

"Taiwanese beggars would not be able to compete with Chinese beggars," he said.

The two-day fair was held simultaneously in Taipei, Taichung and Hualien and featured public and private universities around the country.

Chen cut a ribbon with Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝), Minister of National Defense Lee Tien-yu (李天羽) and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) to open the exposition, organized by Tainan County-based Chang Jung Christian University.

Additional reporting by CNA

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