Wed, Mar 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Academics receive offers from Chinese school

By Wu Po-hsuan and Ling Mei-hsueh  /  Staff reporters

Several academics on Monday said they had received identical recruitment letters from China’s Minjiang University offering faculty positions with annual salaries of 150,000 to 1 million yuan (US$23,702 to US$158,010) in what appears to be a bulk mail campaign pushing China’s Taiwan policy.

The letters came on the heels of China’s announcement of 31 incentives — a series of economic benefits and subsidies previously exclusive to Chinese nationals and now available to Taiwanese — in a bid to attract Taiwanese talent and bring about unification across the Taiwan Strait.

Minjiang University, in China’s Fijian Province, was known as the Minjiang Vocational University before merging with Fuzhou Teachers’ College, and has a special connection to Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) — during his term as the Chinese Communist Party’s secretary of Fuzhou Municipal Committee, Xi served as the president of Minjiang Vocational University for six years.

Many Taiwanese academics, including National Taiwan University of Arts’ Department of Radio and Television professor Lai Hsiang-wai (賴祥蔚) and Shih Hsin University’s Department of Public Relations and Advertising assistant professor Loh Li-Chen (駱麗真), revealed on Facebook that they had received recruitment letters from the university’s School of Humanities and Communication.

Judging from the letters’ content, the university must have randomly sent the same letters to many Taiwanese academics, Lai said, adding that they do not appear to be serious recruitment attempts.

While an annual salary of 150,000 yuan might seem good enough for new graduates, it would not attract university professors, he said.

National Chengchi University’s College of Communication chair Lin Yuan-hue (林元輝) said he has never received such letters or heard about colleagues receiving them, adding that sending identical letters to different professors seems more like an attempt to promote China’s Taiwan policy rather than to actually recruit them.

The range of salaries offered in the letters is also too broad, he said.

While assistant professors in Taiwan make at least NT$800,000 a year, the letters’ minimum offer of 150,000 yuan, which is a little less than NT$700,000, would not appeal to any Taiwanese academics, he said.

However, if China is indeed willing to offer annual salaries of 1 million yuan, it is not known how many Taiwanese academics would accept the offer, as that would be higher than the salaries of even the nation’s top professors, he added.

Other academics who received such letters joked about them on Facebook.

While some said that accepting the offer would make them bellwethers of China’s 31 incentives, one netizen commented that they would become the next Lee Ming-che (李明哲) — a Taiwanese human rights advocate who on Nov. 28 last year was sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for subversion of state power.

Another netizen encouraged the academic to take the offer and “go undercover” in China.

Additional reporting by Ann Maxon

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