Harvard University is to relocate its summer Mandarin program from Beijing to National Taiwan University (NTU) starting next year, a student publication reported on Thursday last week.
Run at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) since 2004, the Harvard Beijing Academy is to become the Harvard Taipei Academy once it moves to Taiwan, Crimson magazine reported.
Program director Jennifer Liu (劉力嘉) attributed the decision to a “perceived lack of friendliness” from the Chinese university, potentially due to shifting political winds.
Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times
Liu told the magazine that BLCU in recent years had failed to provide a single dorm for the students or separate accommodation of equal quality.
It also banned the program’s Fourth of July celebration for students and faculty in 2019 amid a souring of attitudes toward US institutions since Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) rise to power, she said.
However, Harvard Center Shanghai chair William Kirby maintained that the move was purely for logistical reasons, telling Crimson that Harvard has overall been forming closer connections with China.
“This is not a time in which this university is retreating from its engagement with China — it’s actually seeking every way possible to deepen it,” the magazine quoted Kirby as saying.
Kirby cited collaborations between Chinese academics and the Fairbank Center, the Harvard Kennedy School Asia Fellows Program and the Harvard Center Shanghai, which has been holding in-person events even while the rest of Harvard has been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NTU said that the program was scheduled to begin in the summer last year following discussions that started in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the opening to next year.
Hopefully, the free academic atmosphere at NTU would provide a solid foundation for Harvard University students to study Mandarin, while NTU students could develop a more international perspective through engagement with their US peers, NTU added.
As an official Harvard Summer School program, the eight-week course is to be taught by Harvard faculty from June to August next year.
The Harvard Taipei Academy Web site promises the same academic rigor as the Beijing program, with the opportunity for immersion in “the dynamic and diverse society and culture of Taiwan — a unique island where tradition and modernity are intertwined.”
Five hours of classes for about 60 students are to be offered daily from Monday to Thursday, with exams every Friday.
The program also promises weekend excursions and cultural extracurricular activities such as taichi and calligraphy, as well as modern accommodation just off campus.
National Taiwan Normal University Department of Chinese as a Second Language chair Tsai Ya-hsun (蔡雅勳) said that Mandarin education is excellent on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, but China has eclipsed Taiwan as a study destination since the 1980s.
However, with the worsening of relations between the US and China, and the former’s labeling of Confucius Institutes as foreign missions, Taiwan is once again becoming an attractive study location, she said, adding that she believes the free environment in Taiwan could be advantageous to language learners.
Additional reporting by Wu Po-hsuan
SOLIDARITY: A group of European lawmakers condemned China’s aggressive moves, while the foreign minister of Lithuania said Taiwan ‘cannot become a second Ukraine’ A German parliamentary delegation would visit Taiwan in the first week of October, German lawmaker Holger Becker on Monday told visiting Democratic Progressive Party legislators Fan Yun (范雲) and Lin I-chin (林宜瑾) at the Bundestag in Berlin. Asked by Fan whether he is worried about possible reprisals from Beijing, such as banning him and his family from entering China, Becker said he is more interested in visiting Taiwan, as “now is the time for democracies to stand together.” Fan and Lin also met with German officials to exchange views on digital education and governance. Investing in digital infrastructure and protecting equal rights to
As China waged extensive military exercises off Taiwan, a group of US defense experts in Washington was focused on their own simulation of an eventual — but for now entirely hypothetical — US-China war over the nation. The unofficial what-if game is being conducted on the fifth floor of an office building not far from the White House, and it posits a US military response to a Chinese invasion in 2026. Even though the participants bring a US perspective, they are finding that a US-Taiwan victory, if there is one, could come at a huge cost. “The results are showing that under
DRILLS CONTINUE: China’s creation of a restricted zone across the median line of the Taiwan Strait challenges a 70-year-old fact, a ministry of defense official said The nation’s military fully complies with international rules and guidelines when responding to Chinese military drills, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday, vowing to continue defending Taiwan in accordance with international law. China on Thursday launched four days of military drills around Taiwan proper in response to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. The drills were expected to end on Sunday, but neither Beijing nor Taipei confirmed their conclusion, although the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said it had seen some evidence suggesting at least a partial drawdown. However, China yesterday said the drills would continue, saying “the
A senior Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman has prompted a storm of ridicule online, after a late-night post in which she used restaurant listings to assert Beijing’s claim over Taiwan. “Baidu Maps show that there are 38 Shandong dumpling restaurants and 67 Shanxi noodle restaurants in Taipei,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) posted on Twitter late on Sunday. “Palates don’t cheat. #Taiwan has always been a part of China. The long lost child will eventually return home,” she added. Hua’s post came at the end of a week of tensions around the Taiwan Strait, during which Beijing raged at a