Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said that he would instruct the Ministry of Education to create an online platform to record and publicize details of cross-strait academic exchanges after a group of high-school students reportedly participated in celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at a summer science camp in Beijing.
The camp, organized by the Chinese Ministry of Education and the China Association for Science and Technology, was attended by select students from 40 Taiwanese high schools, including Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School and Taipei First Girls’ High School, the nation’s top boys’ and girls’ high schools respectively, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Su Chiao-hui (蘇巧慧), Su Tseng-chang’s daughter, told a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
At one event, held at Peking University, the students waved PRC national flags and sang songs praising China, she said, citing China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
The camp, which lasted seven days and is now in its seventh year, only required Taiwanese participants to pay an unusually small fee of NT$2,000, she added.
She then referred to another academic event in China targeting university students, which lasted for nine days and cost NT$12,000. That event took participants on a tour of new Chinese technology hubs, historical sites and universities, as well as panels on the humanities.
A private university advertised the event on a dedicated Web page saying that early applicants would receive discounts, while a number of civic groups also promoted it, Su Chiao-hui said, without disclosing the name of the school.
Ideal applicants would have good grades, hold positions in class or in clubs and preferably have never visited China, she said, adding that the event’s apparent aim was to have more young Taiwanese apply for Mainland Travel Permits for Taiwan Residents.
Singaporean university students reportedly had to pay more than NT$70,000 to attend the event, she said.
Over the summer, there were at least 36 groups totaling 335 university students that took part in academic exchanges in China, Su Chiao-hui said, citing statistics compiled by the private university.
In addition, a group of “angels of cross-strait exchange” comprised of Taipei elementary-school students reportedly participated in an event held by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Youth Corps, she said.
She asked Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) whether students should be allowed to continue participating in such events.
Pan said that the ministry has not set specific rules regarding the terms of academic exchanges, which should be decided by schools and their Chinese counterparts.
However, Taiwanese universities often put information about such events on their Web sites without fully understanding their details, Pan said.
The ministry over the summer ordered National Taiwan University and National Chengchi University to remove information on certain events that contravened the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), he added.
Su Chiao-hui then asked Su Tseng-chang whether he would accept a suggestion she made last week to create an online platform to publicize information on these events, saying that even though the government is unlikely to pre-empt such events, it should follow up on them to inform the public of their nature.
The premier said that the government encourages cross-strait academic exchanges, but rejects those that indoctrinate the CCP’s dogma under the guise of exchanges, especially those that use disproportionately low prices to entice young Taiwanese.
Such events should be banned, he said, adding that he would ask Pan to create the platform.
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