The self-proclaimed first cross-strait university fair in 14 years was held in Taipei and Kaohsiung yesterday, but organizers canceled plans to distribute information on 180 Chinese universities after receiving a warning from the Ministry of Education at the last minute.
The fair, organized by the China Times Group, which is owned by the Want Want Group, featured some 40 universities in Taiwan and abroad, including Hong Kong University and Macau University, after the organizers removed the booth that had been reserved to provide information about universities in China.
The ministry sent a letter to the organizers on Friday, banning seven Chinese academics from taking part in a cross-strait higher education forum.
The ministry’s China Affairs Division said Chinese universities were still prohibited from recruiting students in Taiwan as the legislature had not yet amended the Act Governing Relations Between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例).
The organizers could be punished with a maximum of one year in prison or fined up to NT$1 million (US$30,400) if they recruit students for Chinese schools or serve as brokers between schools and students, division Executive Secretary Chou Yi-shun (周以順) said.
But Wang Ya-fen (王雅芬), one of the organizers, said they did not intend to help Chinese schools recruit students but simply to provide school information at the fair, adding that students could also find the information on the Internet.
Wang told reporters on Thursday the fair would serve as an occasion for schools across the Taiwan Strait to have a “virtuous interaction.”
“Taiwanese parents and students can gain a better understanding of some facts and approaches to study in China ... instead of hearing rumors that they can purchase Chinese diplomas,” Wang said.