Lawmakers yesterday remained at odds on whether to adopt a series of restrictions on Chinese students following allegations by the main opposition party that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) firmly opposed barring Chinese students from getting paid work during their studies.
Amid the deadlock, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) accused the KMT caucus whip of giving in to a demand by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Monday that some proposed restrictions against Chinese students be written into law.
“The party’s policy is that the proposed restrictions not be made statutory. If we’d known we would give in now, there would not have been brawls when the amendments were reviewed by the committee,” Hung said.
KMT caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) denied promising the DPP anything on Monday, saying he had only “exchanged ideas” with DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) to find possible solutions to the issue.
While pushing the legislature to revise three amendments to allow Chinese into local tertiary educational institutions and recognition of some Chinese academic credentials, the government proposed that a set of measures — dubbed the “three limits and six noes,” — be attached to the policy, which it said would protect the interests of Taiwanese students.
The “three limits” refer to restrictions on the number of Chinese universities that the government plans to recognize, the total number of Chinese college students who could enter Taiwan and the types of Chinese diplomas that could be accredited in Taiwan.
Under the “six noes,” Chinese students would not be given extra credits on examinations, recruitment of Chinese would not affect the number of Taiwanese students allowed to enroll, Chinese would not be eligible for scholarships and would not be allowed to moonlight, take civil service examinations, obtain professional licenses or stay in Taiwan to work after graduation.
The DPP has asked for inclusion of all the measures in the amendments, but the KMT disagrees.
Kuan said the KMT had agreed to restrictions such as the government not recognizing Chinese certificates in medicine-related areas and that Chinese students would be barred from working while studying in Taiwan and from enrolling in departments concerning national security.
Kuan said Lin later backtracked after Ma opposed putting into law measures prohibiting Chinese students from taking paid jobs while in Taiwan.
KMT Legislator Chao Li-yun (趙麗雲) called Kuan’s allegations “groundless,” saying: “We did not come up with any final copy [of the subject] on Monday.”
Vice Minister of Education Lin Tsung-min (林聰明) denied that he had consulted the presidential office on the matter and then changed his position on Monday.
Recent polls show that up to nine in 10 Taiwanese support some type of regulations over Chinese university students coming to Taiwan. The survey, released by Taiwan Thinktank last week, shows that more than 60 percent oppose Chinese students being allowed to work part-time during their studies.
These concerns stem from fears that Chinese students would accept lower wages than their Taiwanese counterparts, depressing salaries and taking away employment opportunities, the DPP said.
“We’ve heard stories from around the world on how many Chinese students fake their studies to work in the country, hence the term ‘professional students,’” DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said.