Fri, Dec 08, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Visa denials due to cooling China ties: academics

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Wang Hsin-hsien, left, a professor in National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of East Asian Studies, yesterday speaks at a conference at the university in Taipei.

Photo: Chung Li-hua, Taipei Times

Multiple denials of entry into China or Hong Kong over the past three years, including that of General Association of Chinese Culture deputy secretary-general Chang Tieh-chih (張鐵志) on Wednesday, indicate that China is reluctant to encourage Taiwanese hopes that unofficial channels are still “going strong,” academics said at a seminar at National Chengchi University (NCCU) yesterday.

Chang, who was on his way to attend the annual Four Cities Forum in Hong Kong, was denied entry to the territory after being told that his Hong Kong identity card had expired.

Chang obtained the card in 2013 when serving as editor-in-chief for City Magazine, a Hong Kong publication.

His request to apply for an e-visa was also denied on the spot, without a statement of reason.

The past year has seen attempts to keep interactions between private entities representing the Republic of China’s (ROC) and the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) interests to a minimum, NCCU political science professor Kou Chien-wen (寇健文) told reporters yesterday.

Kou said that academics belonging to government-backed think tanks have been barred from traveling to China in an official capacity and likewise, Chinese academics with prior plans to attend official seminars in Taiwan have canceled their plans to comply with Chinese policy.

The end goal is to minimize, or entirely quash, interpretations by the Taiwanese media or government that such meetings are a subtle continuation of quasi-official interactions, Kou said.

Comparing the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 18th National Congress with the 19th last month, Kou said that while the 18th congress mentioned “mutual trust in military matters” and “political negotiations” — both of which indicated a willingness to elevate talks to governmental levels — such issues were decidedly lacking in the 19th congress.

Beijing has evidently concluded that government-to-government talks are not an option, Kou said.

Wang Hsin-hsien (王信賢), an associate professor at NCCU’s Graduate Institute of East Asian Studies, said Chang had entered and left Hong Kong many times in the past without difficulty.

Wang said that Kuo Cheng-liang (郭正亮) has also been barred from entry into Hong Kong. This was after he was nominated as a Democratic Progressive Party legislator-at-large on Aug. 9 last year.

Over the past year, Wang said he observed that academics involved with government-linked think tanks were only allowed to travel to China in their personal capacities.

Realization of China’s political agenda will be prioritized over any form of meaningful interaction with Taiwan, Wang said.

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