Thu, Apr 19, 2007 - Page 2 News List

TECRO sends official in Washington to Virginia Tech

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Education sent an official stationed in Washington at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) to the Virginia Tech campus shortly after Monday's shooting rampage there, officials said yesterday.

Chang Chin-sheng (張欽勝), director of the ministry's Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Relations, said yesterday that at least one officer from TECRO's "cultural division," which is staffed by employees from Chang's bureau, was presently on scene in Virginia awaiting the release of the official list of the names of those who died or were injured in Monday's tragedy.

"Our contacts on the ground assure us that no Taiwanese were killed or injured in the incident," Chang told the Taipei Times, referring to what his bureau said in a release yesterday was "more than 40" students and "around 10" teachers from Taiwan who are currently studying or teaching at Virginia Tech.

But, he added, his bureau has no way of knowing for sure whether any Taiwanese-Americans fell victim to the shooter, as US authorities have yet to release an official list naming the dead and wounded.

The education ministry official on site is counseling Taiwanese students and teachers at Virginia Tech while awaiting the list, Chang said.

Bureau official Huang Kuan-chao (黃冠超) said by phone yesterday that the education ministry immediately launched e-mail and phone campaigns urging Taiwanese students across the US to be vigilant against similar violence after Monday's massacre.

"We told them that they need to pay close attention to safety as these kinds of incidents can happen anywhere, anytime in the US," Huang said.

Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday called for the establishment of campus security standards around the country.

Su instructed relevant government agencies to work on the matter.

"We want to educate our children, but we also want to keep them safe. It was necessary for us to do something after we learned about the tragedy at Virginia Tech," Su said during yesterday morning's weekly Cabinet meeting.

Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang and CNA

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