The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has taken a first step toward closer engagement with Chinese students in Taiwan with a two-day student camp, hoping the activity will foster better understanding between the two sides.
In the camp, held on Saturday and yesterday by the party’s think tank, 34 students focused on democracy and human rights as well as Taiwan’s history and its struggle for human rights.
The students participated in a symposium with a number of DPP officials, including Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), on Saturday and visited the Green Island Human Rights Memorial Park yesterday, DPP Department of Youth Development director Chang Chi-chang (張基長) said.
Taking inspiration from a remark from Chinese dissident Wang Dan (王丹), who said the DPP did not have to look far to increase its understanding of China because Chinese students currently studying in Taiwan were the best source for contact, plans for such a camp materialized within a short period, DPP Department of China Affairs director Honigmann Hong (洪財隆) said.
The party said it stayed low-key about the event in the hope of lowering political sensitivity that came with the nature of such activity, which was why it did not make any announcement about the event prior to issuing a press release yesterday.
The DPP has had difficulty handling issues related to Chinese students in Taiwan, such as their rights to work and receive National Health Insurance coverage, as the party was caught between national security concerns, reciprocal treatment for Taiwanese students in China and human rights considerations.
Although it previously insisted on tougher restrictions on Chinese students in Taiwan, the party appears to have softened its position.