MAC wary of teaching jobs in China

WORKING FOR IDEALS?:A Chinese official touted the program as beneficial for Taiwanese, but teachers’ salaries in Taiwan are nearly triple those in China

By Chung Li-hua and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sun, Jan 20, 2019 - Page 1

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said it is closely monitoring developments as China begins allowing Taiwanese to become elementary and junior-high school teachers, a role that entails pledging allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and carrying out the CCP’s ideological and political education.

Beijing has allowed Taiwanese who have obtained Chinese residency permits to apply for the teaching positions, with the application period ending on Friday.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) on Wednesday hailed the program as “another excellent policy realizing the equality of Taiwanese compatriots after the 31 measures announced last year.”

The policy is aimed at addressing the needs of Taiwanese studying in Chinese universities with the goal of becoming teachers, he said.

The application requirements include “supporting the CCP leadership, cleaving to the socialist direction of education and implementing all educational goals of the party.”

The educators would be required to attend “thought education” and sing the March of the Volunteers — the Chinese national anthem — as part of their job, sources said.

The council yesterday said that the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) forbids Taiwanese from joining the CCP or serving in the Chinese government or armed forces.

While the law does not specifically prohibit Taiwanese from teaching at elementary schools in China and the Ministry of Education has not determined the legal status of the academic program, the council said that Taiwanese employed by Chinese schools could still be in breach of the regulations under some circumstances.

As the application for such teaching positions included a political prerequisite, the council called on Taiwanese “to be aware of China’s political intent,” saying that Beijing is demanding that people make known their political stance under the guise of relaxing eligibility.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in March last year said at the CCP National Congress and at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference that the CCP should “augment patriotic education to pass on the ‘red DNA’ to the generations to come.”

The Chinese government has also been increasing its reliance on public schools as an instrument of political indoctrination, the New York Times reported in October 2017.

The Chinese Ministry of Education’s approved curriculum — including exercises in math classes — featured stories of revolutionary heroes, writings by Mao Zedong (毛澤東) and mythologized CCP history, such as the Long March, the newspaper said.

At the time, Beijing had established 231 model “Red Army” elementary schools, to which Xi and his mother had donated the equivalent of tens of thousands of US dollars, it said.

Although Ma touted the opening of the Chinese educational system to Taiwanese teachers as a beneficial measure, sources said that Chinese teachers are poorly paid.

While the salary for elementary and junior-high school teachers with a master’s degree in Taiwan is about NT$56,000 (US$1,816) per month, teachers in China with the same qualifications and job description are paid about 5,000 yuan (US$738), or 2,000 yuan in rural areas, the sources said.