Tue, Apr 09, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Professor decries LSE’s decision on globe controversy

Staff writer, with CNA, WASHINGTON

Changing the color of Taiwan on an outdoor sculpture at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) would imply that the nation is part of China, said June Teufel Dreyer, a political science professor at the University of Miami and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Taiwan has never been part of the People’s Republic of China, Dreyer wrote on Saturday in a letter addressed to the school.

“It is a self-governing democracy, the overwhelming majority of whose citizens are opposed to being forced into an autocratic corrupt regime whose international practices have recently aroused concerns within the EU as well as ongoing concerns in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Japan,” she wrote.

The school’s decision to change the artist’s work was made because of pressure from Chinese students, either acting on instructions from Beijing or a desire to please the Chinese government, Dreyer added.

Taiwan and Taiwanese students are not being treated by the British university with the same dignity and respect as others in the community, she said.

“LSE presents itself as committed to creating an ‘inclusive’ environment ‘for all’ while ensuring that members of the community are treated with ‘equal dignity and respect at all times.’ But not those of a small, thriving democracy, or its students, apparently,” Dreyer wrote.

She urged the school to reverse its decision.

“LSE’s explanation mentions ‘respectful exchanges of opinion.’ How respectful, tolerant and open is it when one group can force its opinions on the institution? This is profoundly disappointing. I urge you to reverse the decision,” she wrote.

On March 26, the university unveiled a sculpture by Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger tilted The World Turned Upside Down. It is a large globe with nation states and borders outlined.

Taiwan is labeled “Rep. China (Taiwan)” and colored pink, while China is labeled “China (People’s Republic)” and colored yellow — which prompted protests from Chinese students.

The school on Wednesday last week held a meeting attended by Taiwanese and Chinese students, and decided to accept the Chinese students’ proposal to make Taiwan the same color as China.

However, the decision spurred protests from the Taiwanese government and students.

On Friday, the school said in an e-mailed response to Central News Agency that it had not made a final decision on the matter.

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