Opening the door to Chinese students and recognizing Chinese diplomas are a government strategy to accelerate unification with China and will force Taiwanese schools to close, a group of academics said at a Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) press conference yesterday.
Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信), an associate professor of law at National Cheng Kung University, said Chinese students who pursue higher education in Taiwan would be government-funded or would plan to stay and work in Taiwan after graduation.
“In other words, Chinese students who come to Taiwan will either have the political motive of spreading unification rhetoric to hasten Taiwan’s annexation by China or will end up stealing jobs from local students after graduation,” he said.
Taiwan allows foreigners to take the bar exam and certified public accountant exams, he said. But because the tests must be taken in Chinese, few foreigners take them.
“But that would not be the case with Chinese students because they could easily take the exams in Chinese. Can you imagine having a Chinese lawyer as your counsel [in] a human rights case?” he said.
He also said forged diplomas from China were a serious problem that Taiwan would have trouble dealing with because it does not have an embassy or representative office in China, which would make it virtually impossible to authenticate degrees.
“If you were a parent, would you want your kids to live in an authoritarian regime where their rights would be suppressed? Would you want them to be educated in the communist way of thinking? If not, then take a stand against the government by saying no to these measures,” said Tseng Tao-hsiung (曾道雄), former music professor at National Taiwan Normal University.
Kuo Sheng-yu (郭生玉), the former commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Education, did not agree with the government that opening universities to Chinese students would attract top-quality students and save cash-strapped schools from bankruptcy.
As Beijing has agreed to allow Taiwanese high school graduates to go to college in China, there will be a significant outflow to study across the Strait, he said.
“Taiwan’s low birth rate coupled with the popularity of studying in China will only push struggling Taiwanese schools over the edge,” he said.
Given a choice, top Chinese students will choose to study in the US or Europe, not Taiwan, he said.
TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said the Ministry of Education owed the public an explanation and should postpone its plans until there is a public consensus.
Association of Private Universities and Colleges chairman Lee Tien-rein (李天任) said presidents of private universities countrywide had concluded at a recent meeting that private — but not public — institutions should be allowed to recruit Chinese undergraduate students.
Lee said the public might react negatively to Chinese undergraduates attending public universities and sharing government-funded resources with local students.
The government’s proposal would allow public and private universities to recruit Chinese graduate students, Lee said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG