Mon, Oct 02, 2017 - Page 3 News List

May Chin pressured school over concert: NTU

By Rachel Lin, Tsai Ya-hua and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

A page from documents obtained by the Liberty Times on a report on the agreement by National Taiwan University’s athletics department to allow the use of its athletic field for the “Sing! China: Shanghai-Taipei Music Festival” is shown to the media on Saturday.

Photo: Rachel Lin, Taipei Times

Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator May Chin (高金素梅) pressured National Taiwan University (NTU) to loan its athletic field for use by the “Sing! China: Shanghai-Taipei Music Festival,” according to school documents obtained by reporters.

The festival on Sept. 24 was called off just two hours after students protested over what they said was the school’s failure to prioritize students’ right to use campus facilities.

After the event was called off, three university students were assaulted, allegedly by members of the pro-unification Chinese Unity Promotion Party (CUPP).

The university launched a review into its decision to host the event, which was one of series of events initiated as part of the Taipei-Shanghai Forum, and its investigative committee met for the first time on Saturday to discuss the issue.

A copy of the athletics department’s written report to the committee was obtained by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of the Taipei Times), which showed that festival organizer Mu Chieh Ta Co (幕婕塔) on Aug. 8 filed a request to rent the field for the event and it was approved the following day.

The athletics department said in the report that it had been worried that hosting the festival, which would require cordoning off the athletic field for six days, might disrupt classes and excess noise might draw protests from area residents.

Due to those concerns, the department said it decided on Sept. 14 not host the festival and told Mu Chieh Ta to look elsewhere for a venue.

However, the university president’s office and the department on Sept. 15 received telephone calls from Chin’s legislative office chief Chen Chih-huang (陳智篁) and the Ministry of Education’s Legislative Liaison Section respectively to voice Chin’s concern over the reversal and wanting to know why the school no longer wanted to host the event, the report said.

The university reversed its decision again that day and agreed to host the event after a meeting with Mu Chieh Ta and Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs Deputy Commissioner Shen Hsi-hsing (沈希行), the report said.

The second reversal was attributable to pressure from Chin’s office and Mu Chieh Ta’s promises that it would manage noise levels at the concert, the report said.

Athletics department staff involved said they felt pressured by the phone calls from Chin’s office, the report said.

Deputy Minister of Education Tsai Ching-hwa (蔡清華) said the liaison section did receive a call from Chen Chih-huang on Sept. 15 asking it “to find out” why NTU had backed out of its contract with Mu Chieh Ta.

A liaison section employee then called the university in accordance with standard operating procedures and protocols, Tsai said.

During the phone call, the employee did not ask the school to host the festival, Tsai said, adding that neither he nor Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) were aware of the issue.

Chin yesterday posted on Facebook that allegations that she exerted pressure were an “exaggeration,” but that she supported cross-strait exchanges and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) “rational attitude” to China.

Taiwan should not “continue to carry out purges, partisanship, political struggles against others and indulge in self-intoxication,” Chin wrote.

Chen Chih-huang said he “was unclear” the report’s allegations.

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