Tue, Jul 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Chinese camps targeting students

By Rachel Lin  /  Staff reporter

China is recruiting Taiwanese students to attend educational camps as part of its attempts to promote unification, a source said.

Some of the camps require applicants to submit a written statement of their opinion on Beijing’s 31 incentives aimed at Taiwanese, the source added.

A Taiwanese professor said he has received an e-mail from a student about a summer workshop.

The program, which is to be held next month, offers classes as well as a tour to the Wuyi Mountains in China’s Fujian Province, he said.

Taiwanese aged under 35, regardless of work experience or occupation, can sign up, but they must submit a more than 500-word statement of their views on the incentives unveiled by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office in February, possibly to see whether they support Beijing’s “one China” principle, and pay about NT$20,000, the academic said.

Another educational camp in Nanjing targets undergraduate and graduate students.

The camp, which costs more than NT$10,000, also includes a tour of the tombs of the ancient State of Zhongshan.

While the camp has the stated goal of connecting young people and promoting diversity in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, at its core it is an attempt to promote unification, as it requires participants to agree with the “one China” principle, the academic said.

Young Taiwanese must think carefully before deciding to study in China and should not be too naive, Shih Chien University president Michael Chen (陳振貴) said yesterday.

“This year, 8 million students are to graduate from Chinese universities and colleges. With the addition of those who would graduate abroad, there would be more than 10 million fresh graduates. With a population of 1.4 billion, China’s job market is already extremely competitive. For every job opening there will be more applicants than needed,” he said.

While top Chinese universities have lowered their requirements for Taiwanese students, it was simply an attempt to promote unification and does not reflect the job market reality in China, Chen said.

Many Taiwanese parents want their children to study in China, believing that they would easily land a job there after graduation, but they are misinformed, he said.

The reality in China is that many young people are unemployed and Beijing has created special programs to send fresh graduated to rural areas to work in farming, recreational agriculture, food processing or country tourism, because its economy cannot sustain the number of people graduating from universities every year, he said.

Meanwhile, China has also been recruiting Taiwanese academics by offering three-year contracts — or in some rare cases 10-year contracts — and free plane tickets, another source said.

While some might find the offer attractive, a major problem is that Taiwanese academics working in China cannot transfer all of their earnings back home, and they often end up buying an apartment in China and living there long-term, the source added.

Cultural differences is another major problem for many Taiwanese, the source said.

The Taiwanese dean of a music department was recruited as the head of a college in China, but returned less than six months later due to cut-throat competition and office politics that are common in Chinese workplaces, the source said.

Chinese universities must also adhere to the doctrines of the Chinese Communist Party, and Taiwanese academics, who are accustomed to working in a free and democratic environment, often have a hard time adjusting to censorship and the political culture, the source said, adding that Taiwanese who choose to teach in China tend to be retirees and those who could not find a teaching position after obtaining a postdoctoral degree.

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