Tue, Mar 07, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Exchange student rules mulled

PLEDGEIf universities have agreed not to discuss the ‘one China’ principle, they should also agree not to discuss unification or the ‘1992 consensus,’ a legislator said

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Ministry of Education is to draft guidelines for universities when engaging in student exchanges with Chinese universities to ensure academic freedom, equality and reciprocity, Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said yesterday.

Taiwanese universities were discovered to have signed letters for Chinese universities saying that they would not teach subjects that criticize or reject the “one China” policy. In some Chinese provinces, students are required to obtain the letter before their plans to study in Taiwan could be approved.

Shih Hsin University reportedly admitted 11 students from China for the February to June semester.

Pan said the ministry would talk with authorities to establish principles by which cross-strait educational exchanges can continue without concerns over sovereignty or academic freedom.

Local universities have made a wide range of promises, Pan said, adding that the ministry would investigate over the next two weeks.

While it has been rumored that universities that signed such letters would be punished, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) asked the ministry not to “randomly accuse universities of the practice.”

“It is simply a pledge, not a commitment to ‘one China’,” Wang said, urging the ministry to respect universities’ professionalism and refrain from placing them under unnecessary pressure.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said that as such pledges agree not to discuss “one China” topics, they should also agree not to talk about unification or the so-called “1992 consensus.”

“What if China wants universities to sign a pledge saying that the Republic of China is not an independent sovereign nation?” Lee said, adding that such pledges must be properly regulated.

The “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted making up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese government that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

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